The University of Illinois Campus Folksong Club Oral History Project was developed by Tracie Wilson, 2006-2007 Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Fellow and folklorist with technical assistance by Tabatha Becker, Reference and Web Resources Graduate Assistant. Additional interviews conducted by Annie Paprocki, Anthropology and Sociology Librarian. Funded by a grant from the University Library's Research and Publications Committee, the project puts together a virtual oral history of the University of Illinois Campus Folksong Club that include online interviews with former members and participants, digitized texts/finding guide to club publications and an essay. To read memories of the Campus Folksong Club, please view our Campus Folklore Club Memories page.
During its height in the 1960s, the Campus Folksong Club (CFC) had over 500 members-making it an astonishingly large student organization and an important force in bringing culture from Illinois and beyond to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. The CFC was also unique in its commitment to a variety of traditional music ranging from gospel and blues to old-time Appalachian and Ozark music, as well as ethnic music from outside the United States. Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, Doc Watson, and the New Lost City Ramblers were among the best known musicians that the CFC brought to the Illinois campus. Read the entire article at Introduction to the University of Illinois Campus Folksong Club.
Each of the individuals interviewed has a unique and valuable perspective on the Campus Folksong Club and its role in the folksong movement of the 1960s and on the role it played in their lives. Those interviewed for the project include former students, faculty and associates, and performers with ties to the club.
The club's faculty advisor was Archie Green, former librarian at the Labor and Industrial Relations Institute, renowned labor scholar, union organizer, and folklorist. Green earned his Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania. In a brief memoir recalling his time as the club's advisor, Green mentions the joy that Illinois students expressed at having created a "'farout'" club on a 'straight' campus" (Green 1993 : 68). During his tenure at the University of Illinois, Green completed his seminal article, "Hillbilly Music: Source and Symbol" (1965), paving the way for scholarly study of country music as an important component of American culture. After leaving UI, Green went on to play a central role in successfully lobbying for the establishment of the American Folklife Center, which was created in 1976 within the Library of Congress. In the summer of 2007, at the age of 90, Archie Green was granted a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress for his role in the creation of the Center. Green passed away at the age of 91 on March 22, 2009 in his San Francisco home.
For information about his memorial on September 14, 2009, please go to http://www.ler.illinois.edu/archiegreen.html. There you can also contribute your own reflections and memories of Archie.
Interviews with Archie Green
Interview with Archie Green (Day 1)
Length: 3 hours 11 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Archie Green (Day 1)
Interview with Archie Green (Day 2): Part 1
Length: 11 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Archie Green (Day 2): Part 1
Interview with Archie Green (Day 2): Part 2
Length: 46 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Archie Green (Day 2): Part 2
Interview with Archie Green (Day 2): Part 3
Length: 1 hour 23 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Archie Green (Day 2): Part 3
Judy McCulloh completed her Ph.D in folklore at Indiana University and spent over thirty five years at the University of Illinois Press where her most recent positions included Executive Editor, Assistant Director, and Director of Development. She also edited the renowned Music in American Life series, making her an important force in expanding and transforming ethnomusicology scholarship. She is co-editor of The Stars of Country Music (1975). McCulloh is also a former president of the American Folklore Society and served on the Board of Trustees of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. In the 1960s, she played a central role in working with performers and producing the CFC's LPs.
Interview with Judith McCulloh
Length: 1 hour 7 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Judy McCulloh
Doyle Moore is Professor Emeritus of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The autoharp has been central to his scholarship and work as a performer. During the 1960s, he collaborated with UI students Jim Hockenhull and Paul Adkins as the Philo Glee and Mandolin Society, a group dedicated to old time and string band music. They performed at many Campus Folksong Club events and their music was the subject of the CFC's first LP. Doyle currently hosts a monthly cooking program on WILL Radio as the station's Chef-in-Residence.
Interview with A. Doyle Moore
Length: 1 hour 24 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with A. Doyle Moore
Jonathan Allen completed his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and is Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where his work includes research on speech recognition and cochlear technologies. During his undergraduate years at UI, he played guitar and banjo and was a member and former president of the CFC. A key event in his involvement with the club was an interview that he conducted with Doc Watson during his visit to the UIUC campus.
Interview with Jonathan Allen
Length: 47 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Jonathan Allen
Jim Hockenhull attended the University of Illinois in the 1950s, receiving his BFA in Sculpture in 1962. He played an active part in the campus folk scene, culminating in his role as fiddler in the Philo Glee & Mandolin Society along with Paul Adkins and Doyle Moore. With his wife Jo he has lived and worked in Boulder, CO; Chicago, IL; Pullman, WA; and presently in Oregon's Willamette Valley. A semi-professional musician, he plays with the band Cooper Hollow and has been the state's Senior Champion fiddler for three years.
Interview with Jim Hockenhull
Length: 59 minutes
Vic Lukas was co-founder of the UI Campus Folksong Club. He studied anthropology at graduate level at the University of Illinois and Duke University, with additional coursework at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and conducted fieldwork in Jamaica. He has worked for several years as a scientific computer programmer in North Carolina, where he continues to live, and has received many awards for work in photography and film. Music continues to be central in his life. He plays regularly with the Maudlin Brothers, a group dedicated to gospel music and songs of tragic romance and plays old-time music with the Porch Climbers. He is an active participant in fiddle conventions and music festivals and has taught courses on the history of Blues and Country music at the Augusta Heritage Center at Davis & Elkins College.
Interview with Victor Lukas
Length: 1 hour 10 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Victor Lukas
"An Encounter with Robert Johnson"
Essay by Vic Lukas
Length: 16 minutes
Transcripts of "An Encounter with Robert Johnson"
Fritz Plous has worked as a free-lance writer and a journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times and United Press International. In his sophomore year at college he discovered traditional music when he heard a freshman student, Jarvis Rich, playing a five-string banjo in the dormitory room across the hall. At Rich's suggestion he soon became a member of the CFC, where he joined the board and was named editor of the monthly newsletter, the Autoharp. He currently serves as director of communications for a Chicago firm that leases railroad rolling stock and works to promote passenger-rail transportation and urban transit options in Illinois and throughout the United States.
Interview with Frederick K. Plous
Length: 1 hour
Transcripts of Interview with Frederick (Fritz) K. Plous
Jarvis Rich works as a computer programmer in San Francisco. As an undergraduate, he played the banjo and fiddle and became involved with the CFC as a freshman after meeting Vic Lukas at a Student Activities exhibition in the Union. He served as Chairman of Folksings and Master of Ceremonies at CFC events. After a long hiatus from music, he has taken up playing again, and now plays with the Babar Jug Band in the San Francisco Bay area.
Interview with Jarvis Rich
Length: 14 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Jarvis Rich
Neil Rosenberg earned a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University and is Professor Emeritus of Folklore at Memorial University in Newfoundland. He is a renowned scholar of bluegrass and folk music and author and editor of a number of texts including Transforming Tradition and The Music of Bill Monroe (co-author). As a graduate student during the 1960s, he also served as president of the IU Campus Folksong Club and later as manager of the Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park in Bean Blossom, Indiana. As an accomplished musician, Rosenberg also played in Monroe's house band at the park. During the early to mid 1960s there was considerable collaboration between the folksong clubs at Indiana University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with members from each university traveling to the other to perform and attend events. In particular, UI CFC events such as the Flatt and Scruggs concert and the D. K. Wilgus lecture left a lasting impression on Rosenberg.
Interview with Neil V. Rosenberg
Length: 33 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Neil V. Rosenberg
Lyle Mayfield is a traditional musician and writer from Greenville, Illinois. He and his wife, Doris have played music together for over sixty years and have passed their appreciation of music on to their children and grandchildren. Lyle and Doris became involved with the Campus Folksong Club after a chance meeting with Archie Green at the print shop where Lyle worked in Urbana. The Mayfields were especially well received at the CFC folksings and developed many great friendships with club members. Their music is featured on the club's second LP Green Fields of Illinois. Lyle describes his involvement with the CFC as a turning point in their lives where they learned what a treasure they possessed in their musical heritage.
Interview with Lyle Mayfield
Length: 45 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Lyle Mayfield
Glenn Ohrlin is a cowboy singer and former rodeo circuit rider. He lives on a ranch near Mountain View, Arkansas. Ohrlin's music is the subject of the CFC's third album Hell-bound Train. During the 1960s folk revival he performed on college campuses across the United States and produced subsequent recordings on the Philo and Rounder labels. In 1985 Ohrlin was named a National Heritage Fellow and he continues to perform at the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada and at the Ozark Folk Center.
Interview with Glenn Ohrlin
Length: 23 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Glenn Ohrlin