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World Around Songs/Cooperative Recreation Service

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Jon Bartlett 21 Jun 06 - 11:46 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Jun 06 - 03:31 AM
JohnInKansas 22 Jun 06 - 08:18 AM
Desert Dancer 22 Jun 06 - 04:56 PM
Peace 22 Jun 06 - 05:08 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Jun 06 - 09:10 PM
GUEST,Bronwen Rowlands 27 Jun 06 - 07:37 AM
Big Mick 27 Jun 06 - 08:47 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jun 06 - 02:08 PM
Jon Bartlett 27 Jun 06 - 03:15 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 27 Jun 06 - 03:55 PM
Deckman 27 Jun 06 - 04:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jun 06 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,Heidi 08 Jul 06 - 04:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Jul 06 - 07:12 PM
Joe Offer 08 Jul 06 - 10:22 PM
katlaughing 08 Jul 06 - 10:44 PM
GUEST,Kate (Rowlands) Hayes 26 Jul 06 - 09:41 AM
Joe Offer 26 Jul 06 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,j.russell 03 Sep 07 - 11:33 PM
GUEST 28 Jan 08 - 11:31 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Jan 08 - 09:29 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Jan 08 - 09:32 PM
GUEST 22 Sep 09 - 12:11 AM
Joe Offer 22 Sep 09 - 05:05 AM
GUEST 22 Sep 09 - 10:51 AM
Joe Offer 23 Sep 09 - 01:21 AM
GUEST 23 Sep 09 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Milwaukee 10 Oct 09 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,Lois Willand 19 Nov 09 - 07:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Nov 09 - 08:00 PM
GUEST,betsy 20 Mar 10 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,Bruce Greene 18 Aug 11 - 03:18 PM
Desert Dancer 18 Aug 11 - 04:03 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Aug 11 - 07:28 AM
GUEST 21 Mar 18 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,Brian Dolphin 21 May 19 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Rosalie Friend 19 Mar 21 - 10:41 PM
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Subject: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 11:46 PM

I've got about thirty of these little booklets, all w. & M., put out by the above named outfit from Delaware, O. I think the outfit was founded by a pair of sisters in the early '30s and ran till the 80's. Each of the songsters (that's what they are, really) is about 7" x 4", c. 96 pp., with about that many songs, and sold for a quarter. Some songs are in several books, but all the booklets I have have all have the same type of content: hymns, spirituals, play-party pieces, some chanteys: there's nothing offensive since there is clearly a church connection. Titles are almost all generic: "Work and Sing", "Nive Songs to Know and Remember", "Sing a Song", etc. I'm looking into them because I suspect they acted as folksong vectors. I'm putting something together about modern non-pop songbooks, such as stuff printed for Scouts and Guides, etc.

If anyone knows anything more (specifically: how big were the print runs, how well-known were they in their day, has anyone published anything about the sisters (last name Rohrbough)) and could let me know, I'd be really grateful (and you'll get a footnote!). I'd like to get a full press list and to acquire other titles in the series. Maybe someone out there has got some?

Jon Bartlett

Note from Joe Offer (May 2019): here is the most recent contact information:
    World Around Songs
    (A division of Compassion Books, Inc.)
    7036 Hwy 80 South
    Burnsville, NC 28714

    Phone: 828-675-5909
    Fax: 828-675-9687

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Jun 06 - 03:31 AM

Jon -

The presence of the "Co-op" in the title suggests an association with a Farm Co-op, and various of those had their "high times" beginning about in the 30s and perhaps a little before. Some continue to function today, although the "Community Spirit" seems to have flagged a bit. Now the remaining ones are mostly just "a place to get feed, fertilizer and seed," and/or sometimes a place to gas up before heading to the nearest "big town" to go shopping.

Depending on the local community, that the songs are mostly hymns doesn't necessarily mean there was a direct church connection. That's just the kind of songs most people knew - and sang when they got together, before radio, phonograph records, and rock 'n roll. Public grade school music textbooks frequently were close to 50% hymns in my area as late as the mid 1950s.

The "two sisters" may have been just local "community leaders." Often a school teacher, librarian, wife of the minister, or (rarely perhaps) the wife of the town banker etc would get "elected" to be the leader of some project, and would feel obligated to take charge.

Small communities could impose an enormous pressure on "somebody" to "organize something," and it was frequently left to the "wimmin folk" to get things organized. The title "Co-op Recreation Service" could mean just that some of the women in the Co-op formed a committee to foster "get-togethers," so the "Recreation Service" part of it could be just the name of - essentially - a women's club (more recently called an "action committe"?) loosely associated with the Co-op.

Virtually anything that happened in some of these small communities got the "Co-op" name tagged on to it, since that was a pretty significant core meeting place in which the whole community participated at least to some degree. The Co-op was usually the meeting place, if not the contributing sponsor for the Boy Scout troop, FHA club, FFA, etc. The women got the feed sacks there for their quilting bees.

Once something of this sort got "organized" and had a successful season or two, the key members often felt an obligation to persist, whether anyone else noticed or not, and often after there was nobody else left in town to notice. Some of these community responsibilities persist until the last key participant dies, sometimes even after that last survivor has moved to another town - or to a care home. (Her daughter writes the new stuff, and puts mama's name on it "out of respect.")

Of course I'm merely speculating based on my observation of a few small towns mostly in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas; but I'd expect small town folk are small town folk a lot the same throughout much of the rural and semi-rural US.

Perhaps surprisingly, many small towns do now have some sort of library, and there seems to have been funding to provide (higher speed than I can get) internet connections for just about anyplace with a few books. It is quite possible that the town where your booklets originated may have a "home page" that Google can find, and it might give an email address for the library. Based on my observations here, it's likely that a town librarian is "family" with the older generations of the town and may have extensive knowledge of the people of at least recent generations. The same would likely be true of anyone named as the contact for the town home-page on the web, although not necessarily for the webmeister(?).

Lots of these places have had "town anniversaries" that resulted in publication of commemorative books and/or at least pamphlets that may be accessible through a local person. These usually recite at least some sort of local history, and nearly always include biographical (and often genealogical) information on "significant residents." Given the earlier settlement in Ohio (compared to Kansas and Texas) the town probably had a Centenial whoop-em-up sometime between 1900 and 1950, with a booklet or book with lots of history. The "women's activities" would likely be included.

Again - - I'm only speculating, but looking for a direct contact with the town where the stuff originated may be easily productive of more information than you might expect. Of course it may also be totally unproductive; but where there's a chance ....


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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Jun 06 - 08:18 AM

A bit more research gives me the impression that the "Co-op Recreational Service" is not the name of a printer, but is the "series name" for pamphlets issued by the "Cooperative Extension Service," a Federal program nominally to foster adult education primarily through the State Universities.

Although popularly refered to as the "Farm Co-op" program this confuses the Extension service with a somewhat separate Federal program that permitted local communities to form "Cooperatives" to purchase, resell to members, and manage storage of (mainly farm) supplies and to purchase crops directly from the farm members. The organizational setup for the Co-ops is quite similar to the special banking rules that permit Credit Unions.

While the Cooperative Extension Service did (and does) frequently use the Co-ops for local contact and distribution of educational programs and materials, there were really two separate entities at work.

Cooperative Extension Service: (info please) gives:
"Cooperative Extension Service, in the United States, publicly supported, informal adult education and development organization. Established in 1914 by the Smith-Lever Act, it constitutes one of the largest adult education programs in the world and consists of three levels of organization—federal, state, and county. Its overall objective is to plan, execute, and evaluate learning experiences that will help people acquire the understanding and skills essential for solving farm, home, and community problems. This objective is met through educational programs that make use of research findings emanating primarily from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the state land-grant colleges and universities. The Extension Service also sponsors Four-H Clubs for youth throughout the country."

Initially the primary subjects of the Extension Service were limited to materials pretty specifically related to farm tasks, and publication series labelled Cooperative Dairy Services, Cooperative Poultry Services, and the like were widely distributed.

It appears that the expansion of the program to include "quality of life" education began to appear sometime ca. 1922. There appears to have been an addition to the charter for the Extension programs in funding legislation at about that time, although I haven't found a specific citation for the act(s).

MARILYN J. WARD Dissertation (.pdf 5.71MB, 283 pp.) "The Extent To Which American Children's Folk Songs Are Taught By General Music Teachers Throughout the United States," University of Florida PhD 2003 cites:

Rohrbough, L. (1940). Play party games of pioneer times: set down from original sources in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa. Delaware OH: Cooperative Recreation Service Publications.

This is the most "formally correct" citation I found, and is in the expected form to identify a publication series, rather than a specific printing/publishing house. While it's possible that the Rohrbough sisters may have engaged in printing, the evidence I've found does not indicate that their business used that name. You may have other evidence, and of course you have several of the booklets at hand.

I find numerous citations for articles authored/edited by L. Rohrbough (Lynne, with a couple of variations), and also a couple of items identifying her as a staff member at Cooperative Recreation Services, which I take to be a branch/division of the Cooperative Extension Service, probably the one operating at/through Ohio State University during at least part of her career although there is no specific indication that she worked at OSU.

1064.pdf indexes apparently multiple items of correspondence with Lynne Rohrbough, staff, Cooperative Recreation Services.

The Rohrbough name appears not to be too common, particularly in Ohio and vicinity, so it is possible that the Susie Rohrbough currently working at Ohio State could be a descendant or close relative and might have information of interest.

OHIO University Libraries (at the very bottom of the page)
"Athens, OH 45701-2978
"Phone: (740) 593-2699 Last updated: Jun-22-2006
"This page is maintained by Susie Rohrbough.
"Please use our Feedback Form for your questions, comments, and suggestions."

Also at Staff Directory as:
"Health & Consumer Sciences, Library Rep Susie (Susie) Rohrbough, 593-9686"

Of local interest, you might take a look at:

"I have a dozen or more of the little song books published by Lynn Rohrbough of the old Cooperative Recreation Service of Delaware, Ohio, through their Cooperative Song Service." By Reiver 2(?)05 Nov 03 - 07:08 PM

A search for the town of Delaware Ohio produced a result, but exploration of the "home page" makes it unclear whether its for the town or for Delaware County. I found that they (whoever) pays about $250 per year to have a "service" run their page, it has lots of canned searches that produce little information. I did learn that one newspaper claims to be the only daily in the county, and that it does not print its own papers, but has them printed at a Co-op Press shared with several other papers.

If my supposition that the booklets you have were produced by/for the Extension Service is correct, the information I found that's most likely to be useful is that the local Extension Service office is at:

Directory for Delaware County Ohio Cooperative Extension Service currently administered by Ohio State University.

"The OSU Extension Service Office for Delaware County is at:
"149 North Sandusky Street, Delaware, Ohio 43015
"Phone: (740) 833-2030
"FAX: (740) 363-9143"

A couple of other links that I found might be of interest, but I'll have to get them sorted out from amongst other interesting items I found. Browsing is never a straight line process.


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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Jun 06 - 04:56 PM

JohninK, that's a lot of great info, but unfortunately I think you're on entirely the wrong track. I'm pretty sure this was (is?) a private organization, and not related to the FDA/state/university co-op extension services. It's entire focus is recreation. It's surprising that it's under the web radar, but I think it might even still exist. (Maybe there's so much other "co-op" stuff on the web that any results are swamped.) I recall my mother talking about a friend who used to go to their annual conferences just a few years ago.

Those little booklets are great. Our local used bookstore that is one of my sources of good old music stuff recently had what seemed to be someone's estate collection of folk music stuff (I spent a bit and could easily have spent a lot more!), including a shoebox full of the little songbooks.

I'll ask Mom. :-)

~ Becky in Tucson

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: Peace
Date: 22 Jun 06 - 05:08 PM

Check this site.

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Jun 06 - 09:10 PM

Good find, Peace.

It does leave some puzzles regarding the several references to stuff by Lynn R, with reference to the "Cooperative" somewhat before the time frame given by the World Around page and the frequent variations in her name; although the citations may be inaccurate and it's nothing surprising in the context of informal collectors.

I wonder if perhaps there's a more complete history that might yet be found. It seems like the subject deserves a good book.

The question of just how many copies of these booklets were produced still is sort of vague too, although lots of historians get by with "many," I suppose.


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Subject: Cooperative Recreation Service Was My Grandparents
From: GUEST,Bronwen Rowlands
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 07:37 AM

Cooperative Recreation Service was my grandparents, Lynn and Katherine Rohrbough. They collected songs and printed them up in pocket-size books in a printshop in their remodeled barn in Delaware, Ohio. There were recording sessions in the studio in the barn, and in the living room in the house. Big dinners after with lots of playing and singing. I remember a bunch of us kids dancing after a bagpiper down the long driveway that led from the barn to the road. This was the 50's and into the early 60's.

Please see

Bronwen Rowlands
My parents are Katherine Virginia Rohrbough Rowlands and John Palmer Rowlands.

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: Big Mick
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 08:47 AM

Isn't the Mudcat something? After all these years, I am still knocked out by this stuff. I would love to have Bronwen give us any of the family stories about those trips such as the "Toronto to San Diego" one. There have to be great things that should be passed on.

All the best,


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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 02:08 PM

I first found their imprint on "Chansons de Notre Chalet," an excellent 80-page booklet of Girl Guide songs, named for the chalet in Switzerland given to the World Assn. of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts by Mrs. James Starrow of Boston, Mass.

Here is a partial list of titles, from various book sellers. The Rohrboughs made an effective cortribution to music publishing with their mostly small, softbound booklets.

If you have more titles, please add to this brief list.

Amigos Cantando- Singing Friends. Thirty-three songs from the Americas, most with both Spanish and English lyrics.

Ancient Games Kit N.

Cache of Songs for Alaska. 96 songs.

Chansons de Notre Chalet. 80pp. ed. Marion A. Roberts (not given in all editions).

Count and Capture, the World's Oldest Game, ed. Lynn Rohrbough. Rules and history of the game.

Dance Lightly, G. & P. Dunsing, 29pp., music and drawings.

Folk Dance Book. Group dances from 12 nations.

Good Fellowship Songs. 82pp.

Handy II (The Red Book). 200pp., games and boards, games in pockets, songs and games.

Handy: The Blue Book, L. Rohrbough. Games, songs, booklets.

The Handy Folk Dance Book, 141pp., directions, words, music.

Having Fun the Polish Way, ed. N. Stefanski-Budzikowski.

Keuka Sings. 82pp. (songs for Keuka College students).

Look Away, 56 Negro Folk Songs, W. F. Anderson, ed.,

Quadrilles: Thirty American Square Dances, Eleven tunes..

Sing A Tune. 80pp.

Songs of All Time. 64pp.

Songs for Experimenters; The Experiment in International Living.

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 03:15 PM

Yes, indeed, Big Mick - this is the internet at its best! Thanks to Bronwen from whom I hope we'll learn a little more about this excellent but relatively unsung publishing effort.

Let me add to the list, Q:

Adventures in Songs.
African Songs
Amigos Cantando (perhaps a different ed.)
Chansons de Notre Chalet 2nd ed ( + 16 pp update making 3rd ed.)
Golden Bridge: German Folk Recreation
Good Fellowship Songs
Great Day: Negro Spirituals
Happy Meeting: Folk Songs from Czechoslovakia
Laat Ons Almal Saam Sing: Let us sing together (S. Africa)
Manitowoc Sings
Merry Hours: favorite Hungarian Folk Songs
Nice Songs to Know and Remember
Nice People to Know and Remember
One Tune More
The Pagoda: Thirteen Chinese Songs
Play Party Games of Pioneer Times: Kit P
A Pocket Full of Songs
Rique Ran: Games and Songs of South American Children
A sampler of Japanese Songs
Sing a Song
Song-Games of Trinidad and Tobago
Songs of Many Nations 11th ed.
Songs of Many Nations 12th ed.
Songs of Many Nations (unknown ed.)
Songs of the Wigwam
Swiss Alpine Songs
Work and Sing: An International Songbook
World Around Carols

I also have:
- "Informal Notes: A Kit of World-Around Songs for Leaders of Group Singing" (Spring 1961)
- "Conference Songs", "selected by Robert W. Wadsworth for the 24th Annual NYSSMA Conferecne, Dec. 6-9". This is published by "Informal Music Service, Delaware, Ohio" and carries the World Around Songs logo.

Could "world around" be a way of avoiding the word "international", a tricky term to use in the US in the years following McCarthyism, since it smacked too much of international communism?

Jon Bartlett

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 03:55 PM

Q- I have about a hundred different CRS booklets on my shelves! We have known the Rohrboughs ever since the late 1930s when Lynn Rohnbough with his wife Katherine first visited my family in Viper, Kentucky. They returned many times, and as the little girls grew, our families' friendship increased. They got songs from several of us , and I think one of their very early publications bore the notice, Copyright 1940 by Lynn Rohrbough. Its title, Favorite Songs and Play Party Games, and down below- From The Ritchie Family, Viper, Perry County, Kentucky. Published by Cooperative Recreation Service, Delaware, Ohio. Price, 10c. In case anyone is interested, it contained:

Swapping Song               
Down Came an Angel
Gentle Fair Jenny          (Most songs gave the name of the family
The Riddle Song             member who sang the song, and for games
Pretty Saro                  gave playing directions)
Pretty Little Miss
Cedar Swamp
Goin to Boston
Two Dukes A-Roving
Old Bald Eagle
Old Betty Larkin

The Rohrboughs were lovely and wonderful people- hard to find the right adjectives- but they were just that, and more. If I wrote to them asking for prices on certain booklets for schools I was teaching, Lynn would just send 50 booklets marked, "No charge." I know they must have given away more than they sold! I remember that their "Handy Kits" were popular with dance people working with kids. One was "Handy Play Party Book," and the other, "Handy Square Dance Book." used by almost all school teachers at least in Appalachia, and I still have them in my library.

Lynn and Katherine Rohrbough are certainly worth honoring.
Get started on your book!   Jean Ritchie

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: Deckman
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 04:37 PM

WOW! Mudcat scores again! Thanks everyone. CHEERS, Bob

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 05:32 PM

I hope the papers and correspondance of the Rohrboughs' printing service and their personal papers have been preserved. Their lives and works should be the subject of a doctoral thesis.

I have the 5th edition, 1971, of "Chansons de Notre Chalet." I wonder if any more were published. The "Amigos cantando" I have is dated 1948, an old one.

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: GUEST,Heidi
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 04:58 PM

Hi! I just recently purchased 2 little books entitled "Handy" and "Handy II" that were published by Cooperative Recreation Service in Delaware, Ohio and edited by Lynn Rohrbough. Each book as individual sections of fun activites for people to do. Some examples are: Quiet Games, Mind Games, Outdoor Play, Active Games, Children's Play, Games of Skill, Singing Games, etc. There are 20 "kits" in all - 10 in each book. Joyful Singing is one kit - Play Party Games is another kit. I did notice in briefly going through one of the kits that there is instructions on how to play "follow the leader".

Anyway - just thought I'd share this great find I bought. I was hoping to get a date of when these were published and if any others are around or available.


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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 07:12 PM

The "Handy" books (kits) have been through several editions. Handy I-II were first printed in the 1920's. Mine are from the 1930's.
Enter Handy, and Rohrbough, in the search at and a range of dates and types will show up in the offerings.

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 10:22 PM

See also: Cooperative Recreation Service - World Around Songs, which is primarily an index of songbooks from Cooperative Recreation Service - World Around Songs. I wondered about the political roots of Cooperative Recreation Service. A number of songs in the early books are on the "left" end of the political spectrum - songs by Earl Robinson and the like. Anything you can tell us about that, Bronwen?
I have a copy of Our Chalet Songbook, copyright 1974 by Our Chalet Committee in Adelboden, Switzerland (Sixth Reprint, 1989). This one was printed in Great Britain and produced by Halston & Co., Ltd. - I bought it from the Girl Scout headquarters in Sacramento. It's a little book, but it doesn't follow the standard format of the Cooperative Recreation Service - the Girl Scout Pocket Songbook fits the Cooop Recreation Service format to a "T."
-Joe Offer-

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 10:44 PM

This is so kewl, just like Mick said. I love this about Mudcat. Thanks for a great thread and thanks to Bronwen for posting about her parents and grandparents...and, you, too, Jean!!

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: GUEST,Kate (Rowlands) Hayes
Date: 26 Jul 06 - 09:41 AM

Hello All! I'm Bronwen's sister, Kate! I was too little to remember most of the parties she mentioned, but it was all a big part of my life all the same. It's so amazing to find Mudkat!

A couple of things before I rush off to work (and before I come back again): The songbook "Songs of All Time," mentioned in a post above, is the one with the best collection of Appalachian songs. It's always been my favorite. Also, a Larry Niall Holcomb wrote his doctoral dissertation on the Cooperative Recreation Service. I have it at home; if anyone is interested, I can post the particulars so you can look it up.

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Co-op. Recreation Service
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jul 06 - 02:51 PM

You bet we're interested, Kate!
I'm especially interested in the sources of the songs used by the Cooperative Recreation Service. It's amazing how far some of those songs spread, probably because they were used and taught by camp counselors and music terachers all over the United States. Cottage Window is a good example. so is Above a Plain, and Stodola Pumpa. All three of these are Czech songs found in songbooks from the Cooperative Recreation service.
This page at World Around Songs gives a brief history of the Cooperative Recreation Service (and there's a gorgeous photo at the top of the page).
-Joe Offer-

I wondered if John in Kansas was going off his rocker with his lecture on coops, but maybe not. Click here for information about the cooperative movement, and you'll see that the Cooperative Recreation Service was involved in the thick of it from the very beginning. Never again will I question the wisdom of John in Kansas.

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
From: GUEST,j.russell
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 11:33 PM

I came across this page looking for info on a "Handy" kit that came from my now passed Grandmother. thanks for tjhe info on more info

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 11:31 PM

Very interesting thread.
I have, or have sold, 66 different titles.

Adding to those listed earlier here, here are 46 more titles:

101 Rounds for Singing.
A Little Carol Book / Carols from Many Countries.
A Sampler of 32 Songs.
A. C. A. Song Book
Adventures in Music.
African Song Sampler.
All Sing: Pocket Folk Song Library Unit 19.
Aloha Sampler.
Around the World In Two Hours.
Austrian Folk Songs.
Caribbean Folk Songs and Games.
Carols - Chansons - Comments , Sampler No. 5 : Twelve Carols.
Chansons De Notre Chalet.
Come Friends - Let's Be Merry: 31 songs from Middle Europe. Pocket Song Library - Unit 08.
Country Life Songs.
Dance Lightly.
East West Songs.
English Country Dances of Today.
Grandma Sings. [Danish].
Guiana Sings.
Hymns of Christian Living.
Informal Notes Fall 1960
Joyful Singing - Campfire Girls Edition.
Joyful Singing.
Joyful Songs of India.
Let Us Be Joyful: Folk Songs and Play for Juniors.
Let's All Sing.
Let's Sing.
Life on the H2O
Lift Every Voice.
Look Away: 50 Negro Folk Songs.
Music of One World: U.N. Songs for U. S. Singing.
Pocket Folk Song Library Unit 18.
Sing it Again.
Sing Together Children.
Singing Rounds 1965.
Song Sampler: Folk Songs of Asia.
Songs for Harvest and Thanksgiving Festivals.
Tavo'y Umawit: Let's Sing.
Tent and Trail Songs: A Songbook for Camping (World Around Songs series).
The Little Blue Book of Pocket Folk Songs
The Pagoda: Twenty-Five Chinese Songs, Fifth Edition.
This and That: 77 Songs of the U.S.A.
Western Play Party Games.
Youth Songs: Pocket Folk Song Library Unit 21

Some of these look like repeat titles, but that is where it gets complex. The Pagoda: Thirteen Chinese Songs, was listed earlier, but there is both that and The Pagoda: Twenty-Five Chinese Songs, Fifth Edition.

Many of the titles came out in different editions with different songs. There was a Joyful Singing, for example, probably around 1940 (I'm guessing), with 108 songs. The 6th edition, 1962 had 116 songs, most of them different from the early edition; and there was a Joyful Singing, Campfire Girls Edition (1950's?) with 105 songs.

While some of the books are repeats or reshufflings of songs found in other of the titles, others really stand alone as reference works.   Guiana Sings, 1959, by Vesta Lowe, for example: 97 folk songs, about half Guyanese, the other from many other countries, inc. translations. Miss Lowe was a rural 4-H club Youth Instructor and notable folk song collector in the 1920's and 30's. According to Dr Vibert C. Cambridge, "Vesta Lowe was a pioneer in the preservation of Guyanese folk songs ... she must be accorded the respect that has been given to the world's great song catchers like Jesse Fewkes, Bela Bartok, Edvard Grieg, Percy Grainger, and Alice Fletcher..."

Truman Price
(Columbia Basin Books, Monmouth Oregon)

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 09:29 PM

"HANDY" The Blue Book
Kit A- Guide Posts
Kit B- Leadership
Kit C-Program Plans
Kit D- Quiet Games
Kit E- Mental Games
Kit F- Outdoor Play
Kit G- Socializers
Kit H- Active Games
Kit I- Dramatic Stunts
Kit J- Children's Play

Published by Cooperative Recreation Service, no date. Spiral bound, with the above booklets.

"HANDY TWO" The Red Book
Kit M- Brain Resters
Kit N- Ancient Games. Africa, Europe and Asia
Kit O- Treasures from Abroad. Folk Dances
*Kit P- Play Party Games- Singing Games (most with musical score)
Kit Q- Fun in Small Spaces
*Kit R- Southern Singing Games (c. 40 of these, most with musical score).
Kit S- Games of Skill
Kit T- Quadrilles- Thirty American Square Dances (Eleven tunes).
Kit U- Puzzle Craft
Kit V- Joyful Singing- 100 songs for World Friendship (20 countries).

Published by Cooperative Recreation Service, no date. Spiral bound, with the above booklets.
*These are combined in the Play Party Games book itemized by Joe in the linked thread "Cooperative....World Around Songs.

Other Kits in This Series

Kit 28- Hallowe'en
Kit 35- Christmas Season
Kit 39- Banquet Fun
Kit 40- Punch and Judy
Kit 45- Shepherds' Pipes
Kit 46- Successful Stunts
Kit 47- Mountain Dances
Kit 49- Country Dances
Kit 51- Mosaic Windows
Kit 53- Ohio Squares
Kit 54- Western Play Party
Kit 55- Creative Dramatics

The number of titles of the booklets must be very large. Some of the booklets were revised and re-rerevised, leading to confusion in titling and listing.

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 09:32 PM

A helpful list, Truman.

I have "Handy" and "Handy II" if anyone is interested in particular songs or games that appear in them. I do not have Kits 28-55.

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 12:11 AM

I have a small hymnal that is Titled: "Rock River Sings." Printed on the inside of the hymnal jacket the following words are printed: "The (said hymnal) is a collection of folks songs that was chosen by a committee representing various age groups of the Rock River Conference of the Methodist Church." In fact, The jacket states that the book was an

Order from
Rock River Conference
Board of Education
740 Rush Street Room 509
Chicago Il, Illlinois
Price: 20 cents.

I am curious. I googled The Rock River Conference of The Methodist Church and, did a little research upon the Rock River Conference but, do you have any information on the date of this Hymnal and the said affiliation with the "Board Of Education?" Thank you. Kimberly...

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 05:05 AM

Hi, Kimberly-
I'm wondering why you're posting in the Cooperative Recreation Service thread, although I know that at least one Methodist Church Conference had custom pocket hymnals/folk songbooks made up by the Cooperative Recreation Service. The Methodist songbooks I've seen look just like the Coop Rec Svc pocket songbooks, with the same distinctive typeface. The books are 6-3/4 inches high and four inches wide.


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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 10:51 AM

Hi Joe and thank you for responding. I posted here because I was interested in the songs that were in the hymn book: Their history and how they became a part of the Methodist Church hymnal. Yes, my book holds the description that you describe. Is this a common book of the Methodist Church and, their teachings? Please forgive my ignorance. I am just curious. Kimberly....

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 01:21 AM

Hi, Kimberly-
Well, the Cooperative Recreation Service had hundreds, maybe thousands of songs in their catalog. Most are still available from World Around Songs, successor to Coop Rec Svc. These organizations sold (and still sell) their own songbooks, but also have offered to make custom songbooks for various groups - it's seen these songbooks for Scout groups, churches, the YWCA, and the American Camping Association. I believe there was an option to add songs not in the Cooperative Recreation Service catalog.
Methodists cover a wide spectrum. I know a Methodist church here in California that performs gay marriages, and the Folklore Society of Greater Washington has an annual "Getaway" at a Methodist camp that prohibits alcohol. When I was a kid in the 1950's, it was common for Methodist congregations to frown on drinking, dancing, and playing cards. As stated on this page (click) the town of Ocean Grove on the Jersey Shore was founded as a Methodist meeting retreat center in the 1869. The town once had very strict rules of conduct for visitors, including regulating the modesty of "bathing costumes." [Click here for more information - Ocean Grove really is interesting.] Now that they are the United Methodists, the rules are quite relaxed - perhaps scandalously so, in the mind of old-timers.
But as for the songbook, most likely the songs were chosen by church representatives from the large catalog of the Cooperative Recreation Service.


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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 08:51 AM

Laughing...Thank you Joe. All your information has been helpful and, I do love the songs in my "little book." My songs are from France, Germany, Belgium, and Hungary and, in the middle section their are games and such. I treasure this little book and, in this case, I thank the Methodist church as well as Cooperative Recreation Services for preserving such lovely songs and tradition. All the best to you Joe and, Cooperative Recreation Service. Kimberly....

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
From: GUEST,Milwaukee
Date: 10 Oct 09 - 03:06 PM

I've got a booklet titled "Handy Stunts" Kit 1 - Handy Series. Somehow I read through this whole obscure thread, but I didn't see that particular title. Anyone else have/heard of this one?

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
From: GUEST,Lois Willand
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 07:40 PM

I stumbled across this page while researching a related topic. In my music library are a number of the little songbooks from the Cooperative Recreation Service, some of which I had from my youth and others purchased when I find them at sales. Later I learned about the Cooperative Recreation Service for research I was doing on the hymn called variously "Lac qui Parle", "Dakota Hymn", or "Many and Great, O God". I obtained a thesis, "A History of the Cooperation Recreation Service" written by Larry Nial Holcomb at the University of Michigan, 1972. Lots of interesting information on CRS! The reason so many of the little songbooks looked the same was that they were printed from the same song plates, hand scripted by Jane Keen.

I believe that the rights to the music of CRS has been purchased by World Around Songs, Inc. One of their songbooks,"Bright Morning Stars", copyright 1984, lists their address as 5790 Highway 80 South, Burnsville NC 28714, (704-675-5343). "Bright Morning Stars" includes some of the old standards from CRS, plus a number of other tunes.

The Rohrbaughs performed a fine service in keeping folk music and group singing alive among youth. I deeply regret that group singing has become less popular, and that many of the songs young people now sing tend to be so trivial.

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 08:00 PM

The copyright transfer is for the rights to reproduce the songbook(s), but songs within the book which are under copyright are not released to anyone other than the rights purchaser. Others must contact the copyright holder for permission.

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
From: GUEST,betsy
Date: 20 Mar 10 - 06:47 PM

I found a Joyfu singing Songbook in Knoxville, Tn. Let me know if you have an interest. It is dated 1946.

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
From: GUEST,Bruce Greene
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 03:18 PM

Cooperative Recreation service became World Around Songs in the 1960's under the leadership of Paul and Nan Cope. It was almost kaput when I took it over a year or so ago. You can see what we have available on our website,
The CRS was an extraordinary venture, very influential in the beginning of the recreation movement. They created hundreds of these song booklets which, until recently, were everywhere.

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 04:03 PM

Thanks for the update, Bruce.

~ Becky in Tucson

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 07:28 AM

Refresh to see if the recent "clock error" gets cleared.


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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 11:39 AM

Here is a short annotation that I found in Newfoundland Songs & Ballads in Print (1979) St Johns: Memorial University.[Bibliographical & Special Series no. 6]

"Lynn Rohrbough's Informal Music Service publishes small song booklets for the use of youth agencies of all kinds in summer camps and the like. In addition to seventy-two standard publications, the service is equipped to publish special selections tailored to the needs of particular organizations."

The titles we have in a recent donation are:

Amigos Cantando
Nochebuena y Navidad
Cantos de Juventud
Canciones de Nuestra Cabaña
A Sampler of 32 Songs

Randal Baier -- Easter Michigan University

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Subject: RE: Help, please: Cooperative Recreation Service
From: GUEST,Brian Dolphin
Date: 21 May 19 - 05:17 AM

Here is a link to Larry Holcomb's dissertation that explains the whole history of the organization and has a complete index with all the songs.

I've been researching community singing movements in America and came across this thread. Also, yes, have been stumbling upon these song books in lots of people's homes and bookshelves for years. And I have a bunch of my own now too from "World Around Songs". From reading the dissertation, it seems Lynn and Katherine Rohrbough started advocating for recreation in the 20s and 30s, as "mixer" events mostly with young Christians, but eventually they sought to create much bigger bridges between different communities and cultures, to “promote a better understanding of people through their recreation” (Holcomb:149). This was pretty extraordinary considering the kinds of ideas circulating in the US during this time that claimed (and politically enacted policies asserting) the cultural superiority of Anglos; here were the Rohrboughs instead seeking to expose people to each other's folk traditions, dances, songs, puppetry, and folk plays with the hope that they might appreciate each other's character, beauty, intelligence. In 1926, their Social-Recreation Union had 10k members and that was just the beginning.

In Depression-era US, recreation was cheap and people had time and had become accustomed to spending money on entertainment; plus, these were "play party games" and not that devilish "dancing" with instruments and such ;). In other words, it was deemed wholesome by even the most suspicious Methodist ministers. They went on to do lecture-demo/"barnstorming" tours and have conferences with hundreds of recreation leaders throughout the US. In the 1960s they were printing out over 500,000 song books a year (with songs from over 56 countries). Their biggest legacy though is supplying numerous groups with their custom, cheap, copywrite-free songbooks (Scouts, YMCA, YWCA, 4-H, and the masses of public schools). Holcomb theorizes that the Cooperative Recreation Service fell out of fashion because Rohrbough refused to add new folk and popular repertoire (and so became less relevant) though Lynn said it was perhaps because of a lack of advertisement at conferences and no more of those lecture-demo tours that spread the gospel of recreation.

Again, now the company is "World Around Songs" and Old Time Musician Bruce Greene is keeping it going. Library of Congress also has the books and the recordings of a bunch of them (not all books were recorded).

An organization that was very much ahead of its time and is still extremely relevant as people need to appreciate each other and build intercultural understanding (and singing and dancing together sounds like a great way to do that :)!

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Subject: RE: World Around Songs/Cooperative Recreation Service
From: GUEST,Rosalie Friend
Date: 19 Mar 21 - 10:41 PM

My parents were involved in the cooperative movement. In the 1940's we went to "Coop Camp," Circle Pines Center, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. One of the activities at this family camp was group singing. They used the little book, "Sing It Again" from the Coop Recreation Service. Years later my parents bought a car, and when we traveled, we sang the songs in "Sing It Again" to pass the time away. When the book wore out, we sent away for a new copy.
When we moved to New York City, and bought a house in Queens, the previous owner had left behind "The Queens Song Book" from the Coop Recreation Service.
I continued to enjoy singing. When I was in college, my mother thrilled me with a gift of 10 or more books she ordered for me directly from the Coop Recreation Service.
In the 1970's I went to Pinewoods Camp in eastern Massachusetts for Folk Music Week run by the Country Song and Dance Society. In the bookstore was "Songs of All Time" from the Coop Recreation Service. Tony Salatan, the director of Folk Music Week, told me he had known Lynn and Katherine Rohrbough.

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