Last Cavalier: The Life and Times of John A. Lomax, 1867-1948 (Folklore and Society)

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9780252022166: Last Cavalier: The Life and Times of John A. Lomax, 1867-1948 (Folklore and Society)
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Recounts the life and career of the scholar and businessman best known as a collector of Southern folk songs for the Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song

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From the Publisher:

Winner of the Carr P. Collins Award, given by the Texas Institute of Letters. Recipient of a Miss Ima Hogg Historical Achievement Award from the Center for American History's Winedale Advisory Council. An American original. Here's the never-before-told story of Lomax's long, colorful, controversial career. Famous for discovering and presenting to the world the legendary songster Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, Lomax is lauded for combing the country, recording folk music for the Library of Congress. "Portrays a man . . . who contributed almost incredibly to American cultural history and lived a life enviable in its zeal for discovery." -- Booklist

From Kirkus Reviews:

Scholarly biography of a colorful folklorist who was equal parts academic, businessman, and hustler. Best known for spending much of the last 16 years of his life roaming the rural landscape for singers--from cowboys to convicts--who would record their folk songs, John Lomax (18671948) patched together a long career by working hard and exploiting his good- old-boy Texas persona and his old-boy university network with equal skill. First encouraged in his interest in folk music by his mentors at Harvard, Lomax solicited and collected songs from newspaper editors, educators, friends, and local officials while holding various positions at Texas A&M and the University of Texas. At both institutions he plunged into major squabbles, which are reported here with a completeness endearing only to academics. Twice, when the ivy tower became too hot, Lomax's friends got him into business, where he sold bonds with shrewdness and success. The Great Depression and ill health turned Lomax's interests back to music; he hit the road to deliver lectures and to record the tunes that so substantially increased the holdings of the Library of Congress's Archive of American Folk Song. Even this venture wasn't free of contention, particularly when ex-convict Huddie Ledbetter, an effective singer known as Leadbelly who found fame with Lomax's help, suspected the ``Big Boss'' was getting the better part of their business deal. Porterfield, an award-winning biographer and novelist, is clearly amused by his subject, but the resulting work is as heavy on detail as it is light on insight. It would have been better, for instance, to know why Porterfield claims, despite evidence to the contrary, that young Lomax was not ``rigidly conservative'' than what he ate at a particular diner. An unblinking portrait of Lomax's eccentricities, his outspokenness, and his prejudices--including racism--keep this from dissolving into standard academic fare. (25 illustrations, not seen) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Porterfield, Nolan
Published by University of Illinois Press (1996)
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Book Description University of Illinois Press, 1996. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Lomax was a pioneer folklorist, businessman, educator, patriarch of an extended family of artists, performers and scholars. This is the story of his long career, colorful and controversial. Seller Inventory # 019667

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