Linscott, Eloise Hubbard

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Biographical Notes

Eloise Hubbard Linscott (1897-1978) was born Eloise Barrett Hubbard, and raised in Taunton, Massachusetts, with her two sisters and three brothers. She studied at Radcliffe College from 1916-1920, and earned an A.B. in English literature. Among other classes, she took The History of Choral Music, with Archibald T. Davison, also the conductor of the Harvard Glee Club, and who in addition to his own noted scholarship (on various aspects of music), was the mentor of composer Randall Thompson. While Linscott made at least one attempt to further her education, her studies at Radcliffe were the extent of her higher education. After she married Charles Hardy Linscott (in 1921), they lived in Needham, Massachusetts, and spent summers in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. New England was Eloise Hubbard Linscott’s home for her entire life. The Linscotts had one son, John Hubbard Linscott, born in 1929.

In interviews, Linscott offered two recollections of how she began her fieldwork. One story was that the songs she collected, when published, would fill a void where no music book on traditional songs, such as those she knew as a girl, existed to date. The other story was that she simply wanted to preserve the legacy of a musical tradition within her own family. Friends took an interest in her work and wished to participate, and the project grew from that point. At some stage her work seemed to take on a life of its own. The culmination of ten years’ work (by her own estimate) was Folk Songs of Old New England (Macmillan, 1939). Although she continued her research and fieldwork, with the intention of publishing other books, Folk Songs of Old New England was her sole known publication. However, she was a frequent speaker at various clubs and venues, and was also interviewed for at least one known radio broadcast (in 1955; see SR418 in this collection). Due to ill health, Linscott sometimes had to limit her travels, but she maintained her interest in folksongs until her death.

Linscott used her own household funds to finance the first ten years of her research. Around 1940, she gained sponsorship from Musicraft and in 1941 from the Library of Congress, whose Archive of Folk Song (now incorporated into the American Folklife Center) loaned to Linscott a recording machine and blank discs. The Library’s proviso was that the master recordings would be given to the Library of Congress. Copies of Linscott’s fieldwork from November and December 1941 (both recordings and typed fieldnotes), were accessioned by the Library in 1942. Linscott benefited from the advice of Alan Lomax, who was a regular correspondent with her during this time, in his role as the assistant-in-charge of the Archive of Folk Song. Linscott’s enterprising and tenacious style, as well as her energy and enthusiasm, earned her the nickname “the Tornado” from Herbert D. (Bert) Farnham (one of her informants). Her fieldnotes reflect a real fondness for those people whose work she recorded, and who opened their homes and shared their stories.

Over the course of her life as a collector, she gathered approximately 2500 recordings (according to her own estimate), on cylinders, discs, and tapes. Much of the fieldwork, gathered before, during, and after World War II, reflects the urgent feeling that these traditions must be gathered and preserved for future generations.

From the guide to the Eloise Hubbard Linscott collection, 1815-2002, 1932-1955, (Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center Library of Congress

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Eloise Hubbard Linscott collection, 1815-2002, 1932-1955 Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center Library of Congress,
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Archive of American Folk Song, sponsor. corporateBody
correspondedWith Barry, Phillips, 1880-1937 person
correspondedWith Bartholomew, Marshall, 1885-1978 person
correspondedWith Bayard, Samuel Preston person
correspondedWith Benedict, Ruth, 1887-1948 person
correspondedWith Carpenter, James Madison, 1888-1983 person
correspondedWith Coolidge, Harold J. (Harold Jefferson), 1904-1985 person
associatedWith Farnham, H. Rae. Passing thoughts. person
correspondedWith Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of New Hampshire corporateBody
correspondedWith Flanders, Helen Hartness, 1890-1972 person
correspondedWith Grover, Carrie B., 1879-1959 person
correspondedWith Grover, Carrie B., 1979-1959 person
correspondedWith Knott, Sarah Gertrude, 1895-1984 person
correspondedWith Lenski, Lois, 1893-1974 person
correspondedWith Linscott, Eloise Hubbard, 1897-1978 person
correspondedWith Lomax, Alan, 1915-2002 person
correspondedWith MacLeish, Archibald, 1892-1982 person
correspondedWith Macmillan & Co. corporateBody
correspondedWith National Folk Festival Association corporateBody
associatedWith Reed, Elizabeth Foster. person
correspondedWith Sherrard, William J., 1877-1975 person
correspondedWith Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950 person
correspondedWith Van Loon, Hendrik Willem, 1882-1944 person
associatedWith Walden, Arthur Treadwell, 1871-1947 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
American poetry--20th century

Corporate Body

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Ark ID: w62s5vk7

SNAC ID: 65470262