Ed Kahn Collection, 1930-1999


Ed Kahn Collection, 1930-1999

Scholar and folklorist, Ed Kahn (1938-2004) spent much of his life devoted to the study of American folk songs and early country music, conducting extensive field research and writing at length about both Merle Travis and the Carter Family. Kahn was was involved in the creation of the John Edwards Memorial Foundation (JEMF), along with Archie Green, D. K. Wilgus, Fred Hoeptner, and Eugene Earle. He was initially appointed Executive Secretary of the JEMF and was instrumental in starting the newsletter. JEMF Quarterly The collection consists of papers, photographs, and audiovisual materials relating to Kahn's research documenting American folk songs, Mexican border radio, and early country music and recording history. The bulk of the materials focus on Merle Travis and the Carter Family. Carter Family research materials include personal and professional correspondence; research files related to Kahn's dissertation on the Carter Family; transcripts from interviews with members of the Carter Family and people associated with them; letters to and from members of the Carter Family and their friends, family, and business associates; and handwritten songs found in a cabin where Sara Carter stayed after divorcing A. P. Carter. Merle Travis research materials include personal and professional correspondence; research files relating to Kahn's planned biography of Travis, including interview transcripts, discographies, sheet music, and song titles; chapter layouts and drafts for the biography; and articles and liner notes on Travis and American folk songs. Photographs chiefly represent the Carter Family, including publicity shots of the Carter children; the Carter Family performing with other artists, such as Mainer's Mountaineers, James Carson, Jimmie Rodgers, and Chet Atkins; individual images of Sara Carter, Maybelle Carter, and A. P. Carter; snapshots of the Carter Family at various points during their career; and images of friends and family. Other photographs include a publicity shot of Merle Travis and an image of Ray DeAutremont, who was involved in a 1923 train robbery. Audiovisual materials include Kahn's collection of commercially recorded transcription discs, non-commercial field recordings on open reel tape, and commercial and non-commercial audiocassettes and videocassettes. Transcription discs include recordings of Mexican border radio programs featuring the Carter Family, Patsy Montana, Cowboy Slim, the Pickard Family, and others. Open reel tapes chiefly include field recordings of early country and folk musicians, including Charlie Bowman, Mose Rager, Doc Hopkins, Ernest V. Stoneman, Clayton McMichen, the Blue Sky Boys, the Stanley Brothers, and others. Audiocassettes and videotapes chiefly record the Carter Family and Merle Travis.

900; 11.0


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Scholar and folklorist, Ed Kahn was born in Indianapolis, Ind., on 5 July 1938. He attended Oberlin College and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Folklore and Mythology from the University of California Los Angeles. He went on to receive a Ph.D. from UCLA in 1970. While Kahn was pursuing his doctorate, he also taught courses in folklore and folksong in UCLA's evening school program. An edited version of his dissertation, The Carter Family: A Reflection of Changes in Society, foc...

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