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Helen Hartness Flanders

Nancy-Jean 13 Aug 99 - 04:11 PM
Rick Fielding 13 Aug 99 - 04:20 PM
Sandy Paton 13 Aug 99 - 06:00 PM
Nancy-Jean 13 Aug 99 - 06:17 PM
Susan A-R 13 Aug 99 - 10:55 PM
Wally Macnow 14 Aug 99 - 11:13 AM
John Moulden 14 Aug 99 - 01:52 PM
Nancy-Jean 14 Aug 99 - 04:54 PM
Nancy-Jean 14 Aug 99 - 05:11 PM
Nancy-Jean 14 Aug 99 - 05:24 PM
Art Thieme 15 Aug 99 - 08:23 AM
Nancy-Jean 15 Aug 99 - 09:08 AM
Nancy-Jean 16 Aug 99 - 11:27 AM
Ferrara 16 Aug 99 - 11:41 AM
Nancy-Jean 17 Aug 99 - 01:33 PM
Sandy Paton 17 Aug 99 - 03:30 PM
Rick Fielding 17 Aug 99 - 04:06 PM
Nancy-Jean 17 Aug 99 - 04:08 PM
KathWestra 17 Aug 99 - 04:17 PM
Deacon 17 Aug 99 - 04:23 PM
Big Mick 17 Aug 99 - 04:48 PM
Nancy-Jean 17 Aug 99 - 05:05 PM
Nancy-Jean 18 Aug 99 - 11:17 AM
KathWestra 18 Aug 99 - 12:24 PM
Sandy Paton 18 Aug 99 - 01:11 PM
Nancy-Jean 18 Aug 99 - 01:37 PM
Art Thieme 18 Aug 99 - 02:27 PM
Nancy-Jean 18 Aug 99 - 04:23 PM
Nancy-Jean 20 Aug 99 - 11:28 AM
MMario 20 Aug 99 - 11:41 AM
Nancy-Jean 20 Aug 99 - 10:23 PM
Frank Hamilton 21 Aug 99 - 06:55 PM
Peter T. 21 Aug 99 - 07:05 PM
karen k 22 Aug 99 - 08:56 AM
Peter T. 22 Aug 99 - 01:06 PM
Frank Hamilton 22 Aug 99 - 06:20 PM
karen k 22 Aug 99 - 06:32 PM
Philippa 22 Aug 99 - 07:08 PM
Margmac 22 Aug 99 - 10:37 PM
Frank Hamilton 23 Aug 99 - 12:21 PM
Deacon 24 Aug 99 - 01:39 PM
KathWestra 24 Aug 99 - 04:16 PM
Jen 27 Aug 99 - 09:13 AM
Jen 27 Aug 99 - 09:14 AM
Nancy-Jean 03 Sep 99 - 12:18 PM
KathWestra 03 Sep 99 - 12:57 PM
Nancy-Jean 04 Sep 99 - 08:24 AM
Frank Hamilton 04 Sep 99 - 10:35 AM
Nancy-Jean 04 Sep 99 - 05:55 PM
Frank Hamilton 05 Sep 99 - 12:28 PM
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Subject: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 04:11 PM

Helen Hartness Flanders. Does that name ring a bell? She was my grandmother and I plan to write a book about her life and her ballad collecting.

Since some of the most valuable informants who knew my grandmother are no longer "with us", I would welcome information from anyone who knew her, knows someone who knew her or even those of you who have enjoyed singing from the Helen Hartness Flanders Ballad Collection.

Just so you know...I am in touch with the Flanders Ballad Collection curator at Middlebury College, with Vermont's treasured ballad singer, Margaret MacArthur,... and with "my sisters and my cousins, whom I reckon by the dozens ..and my aunts".

Any suggestions or leads will be appreciated.

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 04:20 PM

I'll bet Sandy will have something to say. I think he's going away this weekend, so bring this back when he returns.
Rick


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 06:00 PM

Hello, Nancy-Jean:
      Glad to discover you're on the Mudcat! Great place to visit, but addictive.
      We got your personal E-pistle the other day, and will try to write a quick paragraph or two about our meeting with your grandmother and her charming husband (Senator Ralph Flanders, folks, the gentleman with such undeniable conservative credentials that he was picked by his colleagues to make the motion to censure Wisconsin's rabid red-baiting witch-hunter, Joe McCarthy!). After the one formal meeting, there were a few exchanges of letters, etc., but you already know about them.
      Will you be at the Getaway in October? Should be a fine place to meet fellow Mudcatters and to discuss Helen Flanders and her work. I'm looking forward to it. Caroline and I will be doing a bit of a program there for the mob, although it won't be quite like singing unpracticed soprano in a gospel quartet (that's an in-joke, folks). See you there?
      Sandy


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 06:17 PM

Perry, Merry, Dictum, Domini--you bet I will be there! Glad you are coming. You bring wonderful songs into my life, you and Caroline!

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Susan A-R
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 10:55 PM

So, which sisters, cousins and aunts? I believe Naomi is from that branch, and has been doing some songs from the collection. If there's any help I can provide from central VT. let me know. I also do have a cousin working with the State Historical Society here in Montpelier, and could ask her if you have any specific directions in which you would like to look.

Susan A-R


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Wally Macnow
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 11:13 AM

Nancy,

Are you in touch with Deborah Flanders? She put out a recent recording of material from your grandmother's (her grand aunt's)collection.

Wally


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: John Moulden
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 01:52 PM

Your Grandmother was a correspondent of the Northern Irish song collector, Sam Henry - she was also his US representative. There are several letters from her and copies of his replies among the private papers owned by Sam Henry's daughter. I am her agent in all concerning these. I can be contacted - jmoul81075@aol.com


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 04:54 PM

THANK YOU! This is the kind of information I was hoping for. I will email you.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 05:11 PM

Thank you, Wally. I have the CD.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 05:24 PM

Thank you. I met Naomi, Deborah's sister, briefly last fall. I am not personally acquainted with that side of the family. You're talkin' my great Uncle Ernest's children's children...

My research thrust is about the past. I am interested in Helen Hartness Flanders as a whole person, not just a ballad collector. I am interested in her connections with other collectors, traditional singers, and people in general.

Any leads on how to get information on Marguerite Onley, HHF's longtime collaborator, would be valuable.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Aug 99 - 08:23 AM

Talk about great and inspiring threads here at Mudcat---This is what the search---the treasure hunt for the gems of musical antiquity is all about. For you newcomers into this brave new folk thing that is happening now---this is what the historical process called the oral tradition is all about.

Love,

Art


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 15 Aug 99 - 09:08 AM

Thank you Art!

In this quest, every day is Christmas!

Helen Hartness Flanders had a mission to find and save the old songs. She was working against time. The old folks were dying and the populatity of radio discouraged evenings of family singing. In her 30 years of ballad collecting, lecturing and publishing, she gave future generations tangible references to the songs and told us how people passed these songs on from generation to generation.

Helen Hartness Flanders kept her relationship to me strictly as "Granny", and from that I have a history of both love and music. She left it to me (in my adult years) to discover my own music-related mission: to understand HHF as a complete person-- a "woman before her time"--write about her, and to encourage reprinting her books. _____________________________________________________ Now a question to all of you: does anyone know the current whereabouts of Tristram P. Coffin? He did the critical analyses for the scholarly 4 volume series entitled, Ancient Ballads Traditionally Sung in New England.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 16 Aug 99 - 11:27 AM

How many of you have heard any of the field recordings?

If you sing ballads from the Flanders collection, how do you know them? From the books Mrs. Flanders wrote? From your friends?


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Ferrara
Date: 16 Aug 99 - 11:41 AM

I believe "Bill Hopkins' Colt" is from one of Mrs. Flanders' books, but I learned it from Margaret MacArthur's album "Let the Wildwood Ring."

Nice to see you on the Mudcat, Nancy-Jean!! - Rita F


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 01:33 PM

What do you think people would like to know about a folk song collector?


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 03:30 PM

I'd like to know how HHF became interested in the pursuit of old songs and ballads in the first place. She could have been playing Bridge and drinking tea with the others ladies of her time and class. Instead, whe was wandering all over Vermont (and parts of New York) recording the songs of old geezers on their farms and in their woodlots. She even had sufficient funds to publish much of what she collected. Amazing woman!

Most of the songs we know from her collection have been learned from her books. This is partly because, when we were living in Vermont, Horace Beck was the keeper of the gate that guarded her collection at Middlebury. We went there once, hoping to listen to some of the material. Had a pleasant visit with Horace and his wife, and were told that access to the collection was restricted, sorry. So much for that. That was many years ago, of course, and thing may have changed in the interim. I certainly hope so. Margaret MacArthur could tell us how things stand at the present moment. Are you a lurker, Margaret?

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 04:06 PM

Maybe my thread about a maker of MacArthur harps will draw her in.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 04:08 PM

It is a wonderful story. It is a story about a woman who had a passion for life, for observing life and for sharing what she saw and heard. The books and the memorabilia all substantiate this. What happened way back when was that she belonged to a committee of writers --remember, Helen Hartness Flanders was already a published writer--and this group decided that someone should find out about what songs Vermonters sang (and passed on orally). As my mother said, "They put the finger on her to do the job." This initial assignment sparked such a passion in my grandmother that she could not stop when the committee's project ended. She loved the whole ballad collecting process: the quest for the song, the scenery she drove through to get there and the people she met.

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: KathWestra
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 04:17 PM

I can't think of any committee assignment that has sparked similar passion in me. What a nifty story, Nancy! And thanks for starting this most interesting thread. I'm loving it. Kathy

P.S. Glad to hear you and Caroline are coming to the Getaway, Sandy! It's been too long. K.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Deacon
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 04:23 PM

I am so glad that someone is studying HHF! I've admired her work for a long time and learned a lot of songs from her books.

Recently I thought about writing a dissertation on her, Ralph, and Springfield. Glad I'm doing Bellows Falls, 10 miles south--a real biography of Flanders sounds wonderful.

Anyway, for some reason, Ralph Flanders's papers made it to Syracuse University. There is little on HHF in the papers, the collection may be of use. I can help connect you with people in Special Collections....

David Deacon


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Big Mick
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 04:48 PM

A moment for some praise, Nancy-Jean. There are many reasons why this website is so popular. I would say that you and your project are destined to go down in the annals of Mudcatdom. I am fascinated by this thread and your project. I will pretty much be lurking, as I don't have much to offer. But I applaud your effort, and I celebrate having someone like you here. Thank you for your efforts and thank you for being a part of our village.

Big Mick


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 05:05 PM

Hello to David Deacon and Big Mick and Kathy W. with the silvery voice!

Lovely messages all. I am stuck in one place and all the papers are far away, so bits and snatches help. I have a catalogue on REF's collected papers at Syracuse. HHF's major Collection and papers are in Middlebury, Vermont. I am having fun tracking down correspondence elsewhere. And there are lots of elsewheres. You gotta keep the work fun!

I knew that after Phillips Barry's death, Fannie Eckstorm became somewhat of a mentor figure to Granny. I have contacted the right person and --oh boy! oh boy!--in a day or two I will get to see what those ladies said to each other.

The beauty of it is that these people were sharing their joy and their knowledge of how to go about collecting and transcribing ballads.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 11:17 AM

To those of you who are students of the other ballad collectors: who was in touch with Helen Hartness Flanders?

I know of Alan Lomax, Fannie Hardy Eckstorm, Eloise Hubbard Linscott and Sam Henry. Who else was talking with or writing to my grandmother?

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: KathWestra
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 12:24 PM

Nancy Jean -- Maybe we should have a Helen Hartness Flanders session at the Getaway in October, and invite Sandy and any other participating 'Catters to join the discussion.... Just a thought. Kath


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 01:11 PM

Sandy doesn't know all that much about it, Kath, but I'd be an eager participant, as would Caroline.

Nancy-Jean: Have you any correspondence between Marjorie Porter and your grandmother? I've been told there was a bit of conflict there.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 01:37 PM

I have not yet seen any correspondance between HHF and Margorie Porter. (Remember, I have not had a chance to spend time at Middlebury looking through the correspondence.) I do recognize the name though.

What would be interesting to know is how these collectors differed in their methods of collecting.

Phillips Barry taught my grandmother very strict rules for collecting ballads: transcribing exactly as the singer had sung--no changing of words, if the words sounded strange, and leaving the tune just as it was recorded. This was a real task. My mother did some of the transcriptions in the beginning.

No one in the Flanders collecting group was involved in performing. That was left to the singers. When my grandmother delivered a lecture, she brought along her singer-informants or their tapes, to illustrate the songs. Thus she was sharing what she had found in the first place.

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 02:27 PM

Nancy-Jean,

I've E-mailed Joe Hickerson at the L.O.C. about the current situation of Tristran Coffin, but have not heard from him. Told him about this thread too. Even though he is retired, he's always in there working on things when he's around D.C. When I hear, you will also.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 04:23 PM

Thanks, Art. I appreciate your telling ole Joe about this thread. He is actually part of my loop--I am in D.C. and go to the Folklife Center when it is open and I am not working (not often). The staff there is most helpful and interested in my project.

Actually it was Joe Hickerson who--a few years ago at the Folklore Society Getaway--looked at me with wide eyes after I mentioned that my grandmother collected ballads and said I'd better come to the LOC and look at the files. It was at that moment that Granny became more than just a granny! By the time I looked at the correspondence between her and Lomax, I knew I was on to something big!!!

Thanks for your help and your interest.

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 11:28 AM

Vermont Folksongs and Ballads The New Green Mountain Songster Ballads Migrant in New England Ancient Ballads Traditionally Sung in New England (4 vols)

How many of you want to own one or more of these books and find they are out of print?

What would it take to get them re-printed or to have a new anthology of the Flanders collected ballads?

jes wonderin'.......

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: MMario
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 11:41 AM

Are they all from the same publishing house? What are the copyright dates? And who holds the copyright?


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 10:23 PM

All different: University of Pennsylvania Press, Farrar, Straus and Young, Yale University Press and Folklore Associates, Inc.

I don't know who holds what copywrites.

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 06:55 PM

Nancy-Jean,

These are wonderful books. I'd love to know where I could obtain them.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 07:05 PM

Apart from a brief reference to a recording by Deborah Flanders, where would those of us who are not American and do not know the depth or breadth of HHF's searches go? Is there a recording of Vermont Ballads (whatever those are) or other "garland of verses" that represents her finds or interests?
yours in complete ignorance, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: karen k
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 08:56 AM

Peter,

For more info on Helen Hartness Flanders and Vermont Ballads, try the website below.

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jon_flanders/index.htm

karen k


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Peter T.
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 01:06 PM

Thanks karen. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 06:20 PM

Karen,

Tried the URL you gave us a couple of times. Didn't work. Is there something missing?

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: karen k
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 06:32 PM

Frank, The first one should work as I simply copied and pasted it. Try the one below. Hope this works for you. Copied and pasted this one too.

karen k

http://www.middlebury.edu/~lib/FBC/index.html


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Philippa
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 07:08 PM

I tried both URLs successfully; thanks


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Margmac
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 10:37 PM

Bill Hopkins colt is from HHF first book Vermont folk-songs and Ballads as collected in two segments by George Brown in August , 1930. I learned it from the book about 30 years ago and recorded it with my family on Front Hall MAKE THE WILDWOODS RING in 1982

Currently I am finishing a recording BALLADS THRICE TWISTED. Thirteen of the seventeen ballads are from the Flanders collection, now housed at Middlebury College. Of these ballads that I have been singing for many years, six I learned from print, and seven from field recordings given to me by Helen Flanders descendents, that is Nancy Jeans mother Elizabeth Flanders Ballard and her uncle James Flanders

HHF has been a major influence on my repertoire and on my life


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 23 Aug 99 - 12:21 PM

Margaret,

Please let us know when your recording,"Ballads Thrice Twisted" is available. Will it be available on CD? Also is "Make the Wildwoods Ring" available on CD?

Frank


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Deacon
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 01:39 PM

Nancy-Jean,

In terms of HHF's books that are good to sing from, I like her pamphlet, "A Garland of Green Mountain Song." It is a nice selection. I've been singing from photocopies from the Bellows Falls library for years.

David


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: KathWestra
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 04:16 PM

Margaret -- Be sure to start a new thread to let us know when "Ballads Thrice Twisted" is out (and how to get it!). I love the title. Kathy


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Jen
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 09:13 AM

Try here for Helen Hartness Flanders books


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Jen
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 09:14 AM

Wow, it actually worked. Sounds like a nice project, Nancy-Jean! I wish you luck!


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 12:18 PM

Hello Jen and everyone! I have been out of the country, but not out of touch with this project. Thank you for keeping the mudcat fires burning. I am grateful that we now have a listing of HHF's books on this site. Amazon.com is also a possibility for tracking down books. The more I read of my grandmother's letters and lectures, the more I admire her for "following her bliss" into the world of ballads. Her life's story is indeed an inspiratiion. I am honored to have been musically (as well as genetically) connected to her. She was proud of my collecting and singing French folksongs, yet never made more of it than it was. In other words, to be a true collector or to pass along traditional songs, I would have to learn my own way. My own way, it turns out, is to share my grandmother's work with others and to most appreciate those singers who perform ballads (as HHF wanted the oral tradition carried) in a simple, unadorned manner. If only we could have had videos of those ballad collecting experiences! But we don't. What we have is Margaret MacArthur! I hope everyone who is curious about the Flanders collection becomes familier with Margaret's recordings. She truly carries the torch of Helen Hartness Flanders' love of ballads.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: KathWestra
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 12:57 PM

Welcome back, Nancy! Glad to see this thread refreshed, and hope for more interesting discussions of HHF and her work. Kathy.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 04 Sep 99 - 08:24 AM

Here's a question to keep you glued to Mudcat and off the clogged Labor Day highways. For those of you who have researched the field work of other New England collectors: 1) How would you characterize the collecting methods and long term goals of Helen Hartness Flanders?; 2) How did her ballad searcj differ from that of her contemporaries?-- Eloise Hubbard Linscott, the Warners, Fannie Hardy Eckstorm, Helen Creighton, and the many others listed (in the above messages) on this thread.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 04 Sep 99 - 10:35 AM

Nancy-Jean,

This is a wonderful question. You are probably in the best position to answer it and I (for one) would love to hear your answers.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 04 Sep 99 - 05:55 PM

HHF was very picky about recording and then getting an exact transcription of what the singer sang--even collecting multiple versions of the same song, if the singer had a different memory of the song on a different day. She wanted to establish what songs were being sung and exactly how they were being sung. Her ballad collecting began as a project assigned by a committee to track down and write about traditions in Vermont--singing being a tradition. It was not part of my grandmother's goal to get up before a crowd and perform these songs, or to improve upon what she had heard. She enjoyed study and research--hence connecting a song to its Child Ballad origin or to a similar song in another country. Now who can talk about the modis operandi of other collectors?


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 12:28 PM

When we were in Budapest, we visited the Bartok museum on the "hill" (Buda-side). We saw countless transcriptions of fiddle tunes he had collected from Transylvania, carefully annotated and compiled. Many of them found their way into his works, I'm sure. There is a wonderful picture of him sitting in an ox-cart in Turkey with pencil and music paper getting a tune down. As far as I know, though, he didn't collect songs, just tunes.

Alan Lomax's collecting methods were interesting and to some controversial. Alan could be very forceful about what he wanted recorded and how. It seems, like Sharp and others, that he had a preconceived idea of what he was looking for. Sometimes, the problem is that the collector may miss something he/she is not looking for.

Frank


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