Minnesota Polka Project Collection, 1990

Scope and Content Note

The Minnesota Historical Society holds the original sound recordings and tape logs for the interviews conducted during this project. They are called "Oral History Interviews of the Minnesota Polka Oral History Project" (call number OH 44). The interviews document artists who have been involved with the performance of ethnic polka music in Minnesota and adjacent states, both as band leaders and performers. Many of the narrators are first- or second-generation ethnic Americans and describe the rich part music played in their home lives and social gatherings.

At the Wisconsin Historical Society Library-Archives Division, 18 folders organized alphabetically by traditional artist name (within the context of a range of mostly Wisconsin traditional artists) represent formerly open artist files kept by the Wisconsin Folk Museum. They contain copies of tape indexes, correspondence mostly with James P. Leary, newspaper clippings, song translations, and other materials related to the project. The files are part of the "Wisconsin Folk Museum Records" collection (call number M98-044). See the Access portion of this collection guide for more information.

James P. Leary has copies of the interview sound recordings and tape logs and some correspondence from the project on file at the UW-Madison Folklore Program. The tape logs and correspondence are also in electronic format.

The musical performances included on the Minnesota Polka anthology were all previously recorded and issued on LP and/or cassettes by the respective bands. The original masters were returned to either the bands or to the studio that produced the original recordings. Photographs in the anthology were either historical photos from the Minnesota Historical Society, field photographs by James P. Leary, or those provided by the musicians and subsequently returned. A listing of photo credits can be found in the back of the booklet.