The Real Song Catchers: American Women Pioneers of Ethnomusicology

Selected Bibliography  

Carl Rahkonen, Indiana University of Pennsylvania © 2003



Hickerson, Joseph. “Women Collectors in the Archive of Folk Culture.”  Lecture presented July 9, 1996, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.



Alice Cunningham Fletcher


A Study of Omaha Indian Music. Cambridge: Peabody Museum, 1893. with Francis La Flesche and John Comfort Fillmore.


“The Omaha Tribe.”  Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 1905-1906. 27 (1911): 17-672. with Francis La Flesche.


Hough, Walter.  “Alice Cunningham Fletcher.”  American Anthropologist 25 (1923): 254-58.


Wilkins, Thurman.  “Fletcher, Alice Cunningham.” In Notable American Women: 1607-1950.  Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1971.


Gay, E. Jane.  Among the Nez Perces: Alice Fletcher in the Field, 1889-92.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1981.



Frances Densmore


Hoffman, Charles, ed.   Frances Densmore and American Indian Music.  New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, 1968.


Musicant, Ivan.  “Frances Densmore.”  In Dakota and Ojibwe People in Minnesota.  St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1977.


Vennum, Thomas, Jr.  Densmore, Frances Theresa.” In Notable American Women: The Modern Period.  Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1980.


Babcock, Barbara and Nancy J. Parezo.  “Frances Densmore, 1867-1957.”  In Daughters of the Desert.  Albuquerque, NM:  University of New Mexico Press, 1988.


Frisbie, Charlotte J. “Women and the Society for Ethnomusicology.”  In Comparative Musicology and Anthropology of Music.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.



Helen Heffron Roberts


“Special Bibliography: Helen Hefforn Roberts.”  Ethnomusicology 11 (No. 2, 1967):  228-33.


Frisbie, Charlotte J. “Helen Heffron Roberts (1888-1985): A Tribute.”  Ethnomusicology 33/1 (Winter 1989):  97-111.


Miller, Terry E.  “Introductory Essay on H. Roberts’s ‘Spirituals or Revival Hymns…”  Ethnomusicology 33/3 (Fall 1989):  405-408.



Natalie Curtis




Dearest Where Thy Shadow Falls (New York, 1898)

Song from Pipa Passes (New York, London 1899)

Spring = An den Fruehling (New York, London 1900)

Songs from Child's Garden of Verses (Newton Center, MA, 1902)

Ainu Dance Song (1904)

Hymn of Freedom (New York, 1918)

Negro Nativity Song "Mary's Baby" (1919)

Negro Christmas Song: "Dar's a Star in the East" (1920)

A Cowboy Song (New York, 1920)

Victory Song: (Pawnee Indian) (New York, 1920)

Dawn Song (New York, 1920)

American Indian Dance Pageant (1921)

Lenten Chant(1921)

Matachina I (1921)




Songs of Ancient America (New York: 1905)

The Indian's Book (New York, 1907, Rev. 1907, 1923, 1935, 1968)

Hampton Series Negro Folk Songs (New York, 1918-1919)

Songs and Tales from the Dark Continent (New York, 1920)


Approximately 69 Journal and 12 Newspaper articles.


Chief publisher: G. Schirmer.



Biography / Bibliography (only the most important recent works):


Shaul, D. L. "A Hopi Song-Poem in Context." In On the Translation of Native American Literatures (Washington, D.C., 1992), 228-41.


Bredenberg, A. R.  "Natalie Curtis Burlin (1875-1921): A Pioneer in the Study of American Minority Cultures." Connecticut Review xvi, 1 (1994), 1-15.


Clements, W. M.  "The 'Offshoot' and the 'Root':  Natalie Curtis and Black Expressive Culture in Africa and America."  Western Folklore liv, 4 (1995), 277-301.


Wild, R. "The Ethnomusicologist as Cultural Broker: Natalie Curtis and Indian Songs." European Review of Native American Studies ix (1995), 1-4.


Clements, W. M.  "Natalie Curtis in Hopiland." In Native American Verbal Art: Texts and Contexts (Tucson, 1996)


Rahkonen, C., Bredenberg, A., Clements, W.  "A Natalie Curtis Bibliography." Ethnomusicology xlii, 2 (1998)




Ruth Crawford Seeger


Cardullo, Karen M. “Ruth Crawford Seeger: Preserving American Folk Music.”  Heresies #10 Women and Music 3, 2 (1980): 39-45.


Cowell, Sidney Robertson.  “Ruth Crawford Seeger, 1901-1953.”  International Folk Music Journal 7  (1955):  55-56.


Gaume, Matilda. “Ruth Crawford Seeger: Her Life and Works.”  Ph.D.  Dissertation, Indiana University, 1973.


_______. “Crawford (Seeger), Ruth (Porter).” In The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.  Washington, D.C.: Grove’s Dictionaries, 1980. 


_______. “Ruth Crawford Seeger.” In Women Making Music. eds. Jane Bowers and Judith Tick.  Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986.


_______. Ruth Crawford Seeger:  Memoirs, Memories, Music.  Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1986.


_______. “Ruth Crawford: A Promising Young Composer in New York, 1929-1930.”  American Music 5 (Spring 1987): 74-84.


Jepson, Barbara.  “Ruth Crawford Seeger: A Study in Mixed Accents.”  Heresies #10 Women and Music 3, 2 (1980): 38-43.


Pescatello, Ann M.  Charles Seeger: A Life in American Music.  Pittsburgh, PA:  University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992.


Seeger, Charles. “Ruth Crawford.”  In American Composers on American Music, ed. Henry Cowell.  Stanford, CA, 1933.  Reprint, New York: F. Unger, 1962.


Tick, Judith. Ruth Crawford Seeger: A Composer’s Search for American Music.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1997.


_______.  “Ruth Crawford, Charles Seeger and ‘The Music of American Folk Songs.’”  In Understanding Charles Seeger, Pioneer in American Musicology.  eds. Bell Yung and Helen Rees.  Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.


_______. “Crawford (Seeger), Ruth (Porter).” In The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.  2nd ed.  New York: Macmillan, 2001. 



Selected Works:


American Folk Songs for Children.  New York: Doubleday, 1948.  Reprints: Oak Pubs.; Shoe String Press.


Animal Folk Songs for Children. New York: Doubleday, 1950.  Reprints: Oak Pubs.; Shoe String Press.


American Folk Songs for Christmas. New York: Doubleday, 1953.  Reprints: Oak Pubs.; Shoe String Press.


The Music of American Folk Songs.  ed. Larry Polansky.  Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2001.




Sidney Robertson Cowell


Boziwick, George.  “Henry Cowell at the New York Public Library: A Whole World of Music.”  Notes (Music Library Assoc. Journal) 57, 1 (September 2000): 46-58.


California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties.  Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell.  American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.  1997.  Web-site:


Henry Cowell’s Musical Worlds: A Centennial Festival, March 12-25, 1997.  Brooklyn, NY:  Institute for the Study of American Music.


Hitchcock, H. Wiley. “Sidney Robertson Dies at Ninety-One.” I.S.A.M. Newsletter 24, 2 (Spring 1995):8.


Kerst, Catherine Hiebert.  “Sidney Robertson Cowell and the WPA California Folk Music Project.”  Sonneck Society Bulletin 20, 3  (Fall 1994): 5-9.


_______. “New Deal Woman:  Sidney Robertson Cowell and the WPA California Folk Music Project.”  Lecture presented March 5, 1997, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.


 Sidney Cowell, 92, Ethnomusicologist and Teacher.”  [Obituary] New York Times (March 1, 1995).


Topping, Brett. “The Sidney Robertson Cowell Collection.” Folklife Center News (July 1980): 4-6.



Selected works:


Cowell, Henry and Sidney Cowell.  Charles Ives and His Music.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1955; Reprint, New York: Da Capo Press, 1983.

Lomax, Alan and Sidney Robertson Cowell. American Folk Song and Folklore: A Regional Bibliography.  New York: Progressive Education Assoc., 1942.

Cowell, Sidney Robertson. “Cataloging Folk Music: A Letter from Sidney Robertson Cowell.”  Folklife Center News (Fall 1989): 10-11.


Laura Boulton

The Music Hunter: The Autobiography of a Career.  Garden City, NY:  Doubleday, 1969.

Musical Instruments of World Cultures.  New York: Intercultural Arts Press, 1972.

Fenn, John.  “Practice, Philosophy and Proto-Public Ethnomusicology of Laura Boulton.” Lecture presented at the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music, April 26, 2000.

Frackowski, Marlena. “The Laura Boulton Collection.”  Resound: A Quarterly of the Archives of Traditional Music 8, 3 (July 1989):  1-4.

Gunderson, Frank.  “Laura Boulton as a Musical Raconteur, 1935-1941.” Resound: A Quarterly of the Archives of Traditional Music 15, 3 (October 1996):  1-9.

Laura Boulton Collection: Archive of World Music.  Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard College Library.  Web-site:

Laura Boulton Collection (Musical Instruments)  Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University, Bloomington.  Web-site:

Zaretti, Joan.  “Laura Boulton: The Voice of an Early Public Sector Ethnomusicologist and her Public.”  Lecture presented at the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music, April 26, 2000.


Please read the official disclaimer.  URL=

Page created and maintained by Carl Rahkonen.  © 2003   Last modified 12/20/13
Comments and/or suggestions may be e-mailed to: