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

Collection Summary

Title: Ethnic Music in Northern Wisconsin and Michigan Collection
Dates: 1979-1986

  • Northland College (Ashland, Wis.)
Unique Identifier: CSUMC0011-CG

Contents: Mills Music Library Wisconsin Music Archives: 290 folders, 2 binders, 1 two-drawer card catalog, 2 posters, 90 reel-to-reel tape recordings, 96 audiocassettes, approximately 30 color photographs; Wisconsin Historical Society History Center and Archives at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center: 1.5 c.f. of folders, approximately 15 pieces ephemera, 39 publications, approximately 373 audiocassettes, 143 commercial vinyl recordings, 444 color slides; James P. Leary: 17 folders, approximately 250 audiocassette duplicates, approximately 450 color slide duplicates

Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures
432 East Campus Mall, Room 332
Madison, Wisconsin 53706
Web site:

Archival Locations:
UW-Madison Libraries, Mills Music (Map)
Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center / Ashland Area Research Ctr. (Map)

The Ethnic Music in Northern Wisconsin and Michigan project began as a reconnaissance survey of traditional music spanning the northern tier of counties in Wisconsin and the western upper peninsula of Michigan along Lake Superior's south shore. Numerous community members, folklorists, ethnomusicologists, regional research specialists, and Northland College students contributed to the survey during 1979-1981, which resulted in 200 potential contacts and recorded interviews with over 100 musicians. Field and commercial recordings, field notes, color slides, and secondary resource materials obtained during the project represent the region's mix of European ethnic musical traditions including Cornish, Bohemian, Croatian, Finnish, French-Canadian, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Scotch-Irish, Slovenian, Slovak, Swedish, Swiss, and Ukrainian immigrant sacred and secular music, singers, instrumentalists, dance hall veterans, and private soloists. Project outreach included public presentations, media appearances, workshops on ethnographic documentation, and collaboration with community groups and organizers of local festivals, in addition to publications that drew from the documentation. The 1986 release of the commercial recording Accordions in the Cutover completed the project.

Language: The records are mostly in English with some in Croatian, Czech, Finnish, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Slovak, and Swedish.

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