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An interactive music database allows users to listen to and learn about more than 6,000 songs from 1,000 cultures. Drawn from Alan Lomax's field recordings, the songs are organized by map and culture and digitized from hard copies at the Library of Congress.
Free Download from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Every two weeks, Alexander Street Press makes available one complete work from their popular streaming music database, Smithsonian Global Sound® for Libraries available for free download.
Primary Sources in Anthropology
Joseph A. Towles Artifact Collection
African American anthropologist Joseph Allen Towles (1937-1988) met British anthropologist Colin Macmillan Turnbull (1924-1994) in 1959. The two exchanged marriage vows in 1960 and they lived together in an interracial, homosexual relationship until Towles' death in 1988. Towles and Turnbull spent various periods of time in Africa, conducting fieldwork on the Mbuti, Mbo, and Ik peoples. Turnbull authored The Forest People, The Mountain People, The Human Cycle, and Tibet. Turnbull succeeding in publishing Towles' work posthumously: Nkumbi Initiation and Asa: Myth of Origin of the Blood Brotherhood Among the Mbo of the Ituri Forest. Both Towles and Turnbull died from complications related to AIDS.
Muriel and Marcus Zbar Collection
The Muriel and Marcus Zbar Collection was donated by Dr. Marcus J. Zbar, a 1951 graduate of Vanderbilt University. The collection consists of artifacts originating in West and Central Africa and Papua New Guinea that Dr. Zbar privately purchased from various galleries across the United States.
Ruth Fulton Benedict Papers
Ruth Benedict made significant contributions to the field in her exploration and examination of the role of individuals in relation to larger societies and cultures, and her integration of analysis of personality and individual agency in cultural description. She published her major work, "Patterns of Culture" in 1934, a comparative work that integrated her own work and others. After WW II, Benedict began studies in Europe among refugees and in the United States among refugees and also among New York neighborhoods, pioneering community action anthropology. She developed the concept of synergy and influenced her student, Abraham Maslow, in his psychological work.
The Ruth Benedict Papers (held at the Vassar College Archive, to be open access): Approximately 8,000 pages from the Benedict archive will be made open access and include notes from various field expeditions, including trips with the Pima, Serrano and Zuni throughout the 1930s.
Ethnographic Image Collections
Alan Lomax Photograph and Digital Archive
In the early 1950s, Alan Lomax began to keep photographic journals of his field trips. Beginning with a few rolls taken in England and Scotland, he amassed many hundreds of photos on each of his subsequent major recording expeditions. Photography became for Lomax a serious vocation and the camera far more than an adjunct to the recording machine. His camera focused on singers, musicians, and dancers at peak moments of their performances, and while engaged in the activities their music accompanied. With a remarkable eye for character and composition, Lomax attempted to capture quintessential body attitudes, gestures, facial expressions, and social groupings, illuminating the stories told by his sound recordings.