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John Avery Lomax, 1867-1948
Some Ballads of North Carolina. From The North Carolina Booklet, Vol. 11, no. 1: 26-42.
Raleigh: North Carolina Society of the Daughters of the Revolution, 1911.


John Avery Lomax, an influential folklorist and musicologist, devoted his career to discovering and publishing American folk music and folk stories. Lomax gathered over 10,000 recordings of Southern music for the Library of Congress. He and his son, Alan, are credited with discovering the African American artist Huddie Ledbetter, or "Leadbelly," while on tour recording songs in Southern prisons. Alan continued his father's work and also became a preeminent collector.

"Some Ballads of North Carolina" was published by the North Carolina branch of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Lomax, who at the time of publication was a professor at the University of Texas, contributed this 16-page article about ballads he had collected from research in North Carolina. The article introduces the concept of American folk ballads and gives some well-known examples. Lomax offers a brief introduction in which he outlines his approach in the work and acknowledges other scholars in the field. He notes that North Carolina is particularly rich in folk material, citing the many diverse influences of the songs described here.

Work Consulted: Bowman, John S., ed., Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995; Garraty, John A and Carnes, Mark C., eds., American National Biography, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Monique Prince

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