Ethnic Music in Northern Wisconsin and Michigan Collection, 1979-1986

Scope and Content Note

The Mills Music Library Wisconsin Music Archives holds original recordings, photographs, field notes, and musician release forms for fieldwork conducted between 1979 and 1981. Each field session was assigned a number, and a card catalog accompanying the collection correlates those numbers alphabetically by subject (ethnicity/region/instrument) and by fieldworkers or performers. The 1979 recordings are mostly on 7-inch reel-to-reel tapes (some 5-inch) while the 1981 recordings are divided among 7-inch reels and audiocassette tapes. Roughly ten reels are missing, and there are some recordings in more than one format.

The field notes folders contain photographs, mimeographed articles, record jackets, and in some cases audiotape logs. Each folder is labeled by region, ethnicity, fieldworkers, and date. Two oversize posters announcing a Washburn Homecoming concert with Finnish-American musicians on Friday, July 24, 1981 are in the collection, as well as two three-ring notebooks that house original release forms.

At the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, project documentation and related reference materials are interspersed with slides, oral histories, and other documents related to the “Ethnic Heritage Along the South Shore of Lake Superior, Ethnic Heritage Studies Program,” supervised by folklorist Greta E. Swenson and funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant in 1980-81. Other materials include student papers from a 1987 alternative lifestyles class taught by collection donor Marina Lachecki and Grant Herman. A rough inventory of the collection is available from the Wisconsin Historical Society History Center and Archives at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center.

James P. Leary's private research collection includes approximately 250 cassette sound recording duplicates mostly of field recordings, approximately 450 color slides, and over a dozen files that contain contact lists, field notes, partial transcriptions, and indexes organized by ethnic group (Bohemians/Slovaks, Croatians, Finns according to location, Hungarians, Poles, Russians, Scandinavians [Norwegians, Swedes], Swiss, and Miscellaneous), correspondence with musicians, a summary of newspaper articles on ethnic music from Ashland's The Daily Press, a bibliodiscography of books and recordings obtained for the project, drafts of publications, quarterly project reports, and production materials related to Accordions in the Cutover.