The Man Who Recorded the World: On the Road with Alan Lomax

Discover rich folk traditions by transcribing the notebooks and letters of folklorist Alan Lomax, his family, fellow musicians, colleagues, and collaborators. These documents serve as the bedrock of our understanding of 20th-century American and Caribbean folk music.

Alan Lomax was the most famous American folklorist of the 20th century. From 1936 to 1966 he recorded thousands of tradition-bearers in the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe. His detailed field notebooks document encounters with artists such as Muddy Waters, and Lomax's extensive travels, as well as the toll these took on his personal life. Lomax, his family, friends, and colleagues transcribed many of the performances and interviews undertaken during his years of folklore fieldwork, including his stint as a Library of Congress employee. His collaborators include his wife, father, Pete Seeger, Zora Neale Hurston, and many others.

Portions of this collection contain Finnish, Hungarian, Polish, and French. Please insert letters with the correct accents for the relevant language. Visit History Hub to find out how.

All January 2020 we're celebrating Alan Lomax, whose 105th birthday would be on January 31st. We challenge you to review Lomax pages, to bring the "completed" count to 3,000 by the end of the month. You can track challenge progress on History Hub and learn how to review in our instructions.