Maurice Matteson papers, 1901-1972.


Maurice Matteson papers, 1901-1972.

Correspondence re Matteson's collection and documentation of American ballads and folk songs, including the music of African Americans in S.C.; Matteson's membership in the Southeastern Folklore Society; and performances of Matteson, the Carolina Folk Singers, and the USC Glee Club. Places represented include Columbia and Beaufort, S.C.; Frostburg, Maryland; and elsewhere. Matteson's interest in folk music coincided with his arrival in South Carolina: "my real vocation, has been collecting American folk songs and ballads.... This has brought me in contact with the mountaineer of the Appalachians, the farmer of the Midwest, the logger out in Oregon, and the richest source of beautiful folk music - the American Negro." When Matteson went collecting, he scheduled lecture-concerts, accompanying himself by folk instruments from his collection, including a dulcimer and zither. He used the term "ballad bagging" to describe the process of documenting and collecting folk music, a process of "capturing a ballad in vocal form and writing it down, a process that goes on even while the doctor is lecturing and singing, since someone in his audience always has a song to add to the collection" (Baltimore Sun, 18 May 1952). Matteson is credited with documenting and preserving numerous songs; collection includes several volumes of unpublished songs and ballads. Correspondents include Julia Peterkin, Henry Bellamann and Katherine Bellamann, John Powell, R.W. Gibbes and Ethel Gibbes, Mrs. Edward MacDowell (Marion MacDowell, founder of the artists' colony in Peterborough, N.H.), James McBride Dabbs, Reed Smith, Archibald MacLeish, Charles Wakefield Cadman, and others. Published sheet music (1946, 28 Apr. 1958, and undated), consisting of sheet music, 1946, for "A Silver Pool," music by M.J. Matteson, words by Nell Mellichamp; program, 28 Apr. 1958, from performance of Beaufort Choral Society's production of The Gipsy Baron, directed by M.J. Matteson, and undated broadside advertisement for folk music lecture and recital, titled, "Ballad Bagging," presented by Augusta Lofton Matteson [legal size]. Photograph album, 1917-1964, with images of Mrs. Augusta Lofton Matteson, pupils of M.J. Matteson at USC, musician friends (many photographed holding musical instruments); and a group shot of the Southeastern Folklore Society in 1936; scrapbook, 1925-1964 (photocopy), consisting of newspaper clippings re Matteson's career as a music professor at USC and elsewhere, his work as a collector of folk music tunes, and as president of the Southeastern Folklore Society; scrapbook, 1933-1936, consisting of newspaper clippings and programs from performances of the Carolina Folk Singers and the USC Glee Club directed by Matteson. Six bound volumes, 1901-1972, of essays, speeches, and other works including: "Boone Trail Folk Songs and Ballads"; "Eleven Carolina Folk and Mountain Songs"; "Ballad Bagging in the Carolinas"; "American Folk Songs for Fun"; "Carolina Folk Songs and Mountain Tunes"; and 15 miscellaneous sheets [see legal size box].

1 photograph album.

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