Campus Folksong Club: Oral History Project

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Campus Folksong Club: Oral History Project

black and white poster of Doc Watson (folk singer) presented by Campus Folksong Club

About the University of Illinois Campus Folksong Club Oral History Project

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.

About the University of Illinois Campus Folksong Club

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.

 


 

Folksong Club: Member Profiles

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.

Faculty and Associates | Students | Performers

 

Faculty and Associates

 


 

Archie Green

Archie Green reclining in a chair

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.

Selected Publications

  • Calf's head & union tale : labor yarns at work and play (1996)
  • Harry Lundeberg's Stetson & Other Nautical Treasures. (2006)
  • "Hillbilly Music: Source and Symbol." Journal of American Folklore, 78/309, July-September 1965: 204-228.
  • Millwrights in Northern California 1901-2002. (2003)
  • Only a miner; studies in recorded coal-mining songs (1972)
  • The Big Red Songbook. (2007)
  • Tin men (2002)
  • Torching the fink books and other essays on vernacular culture (2001)
  • Wobblies, pile butts, and other heroes : laborlore explorations (1993)

Interviews with Archie Green

Interview with Archie Green (Day 1) listen to the interview with Archie Green
Length: 3 hours 11 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Archie Green (Day 1)

  • Speakers: Archie Green, Tracie Wilson(interviewer)
  • Date of Interview: January 23, 2007

Interview with Archie Green (Day 2): Part 1 listen to the interview with Archie Green
Length: 11 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Archie Green (Day 2): Part 1

Interview with Archie Green (Day 2): Part 2 listen to the interview with Archie Green
Length: 46 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Archie Green (Day 2): Part 2

Interview with Archie Green (Day 2): Part 3 listen to the interview with Archie Green
Length: 1 hour 23 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Archie Green (Day 2): Part 3

  • Speakers: Archie Green, Tracie Wilson(interviewer)
  • Date of Interview: January 24, 2007

 


 

Judith McCulloh

Judith McCulloh by a window

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.

Selected Publications

  • Folklore, folklife (1984)
  • Stars of country music : Uncle Dave Macon to Johnny Rodriguez (1975)

Interview with Judith McCulloh listen to the interview with Judy McCulloh
Length: 1 hour 7 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Judy McCulloh

  • Speakers: Judy McCulloh, Tracie Wilson(interviewer)
  • Date of Interview: May 22, 2007

 


 

A. Doyle Moore

Photograph of Doyle Moore

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.

Selected Publications

  • The Alvin Doyle Moore fine print collection (1961-)

Interview with A. Doyle Moore listen to the interview with A. Doyle Moore
Length: 1 hour 24 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with A. Doyle Moore

  • Speakers: A. Doyle Moore, Tracie Wilson(interviewer)
  • Date of Interview: June 4, 2007

 


 

Students

 


 

Jonathan Allen

Jonathan Allen in front of a chalkboard

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 listen to the interview with Jonathan Allen
Length: 47 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Jonathan Allen

  • Speakers: Jonathan Allen, Tracie Wilson(interviewer)
  • Date of Interview: July 9, 2007

 

 


 

Jim Hockenhull

Jim HockenhullJim 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

Transcripts of Interview with Jim Hockenhull

  • Speakers: Jim Hockenhull, Annie Paprocki (interviewer)
  • Date of interview: March 5, 2010

 


 

Victor Lukas

Victor Lukas in front of a bush

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.

Selected Publications

  • The Traditionally Oriented Urban Folk Musician: Revivalist Aspects of a Subculture (1967)

Interview with Victor Lukas listen to the interview with Victor Lukas
Length: 1 hour 10 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Victor Lukas

  • Speakers: Victor Lukas, Tracie Wilson(interviewer)
  • Date of Interview: June 18, 2007

"An Encounter with Robert Johnson" listen to the essay by Vic Lukas
Essay by Vic Lukas
Length: 16 minutes
Transcripts of "An Encounter with Robert Johnson"

  • Speakers: Victor Lukas
  • Date Recorded: June 18, 2007

 


 

Frederick K. Plous

Fritz Plous talking

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 listen to the interview with Fritz Plous
Length: 1 hour
Transcripts of Interview with Frederick (Fritz) K. Plous

  • Speakers: Frederick K. Plous, Tracie Wilson(interviewer)
  • Date of Interview: May 23, 2007

 


 

Jarvis Rich

Jarvis Rich reclining in a chair

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 listen to the interview with Jarvis Rich
Length: 14 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Jarvis Rich

  • Speakers: Jarvis Rich, Tracie Wilson(interviewer)
  • Date of Interview: January 24, 2007

 


 

Neil V. Rosenberg

Neil Rosenberg holding a folklore book

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.

Selected Publications

  • Bluegrass : a history (2005)
  • The music of Bill Monroe (2007)
  • Transforming tradition : folk music revivals examined (1993)

Interview with Neil V. Rosenberg listen to the interview with Neil V. Rosenberg
Length: 33 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Neil V. Rosenberg

  • Speakers: Neil V. Rosenberg, Tracie Wilson(interviewer)
  • Date of Interview: July 13, 2007

 


 

Performers

 


 

Lyle Mayfield

Lyle Mayfield and his wife, Doris Mayfield, performing

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 listen to the interview with Lyle Mayfield
Length: 45 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Lyle Mayfield

  • Speakers: Lyle Mayfield, Tracie Wilson(interviewer)
  • Date of Interview: July 18, 2007

 


 

Glenn Ohrlin

Glenn Ohrlin with rodeo images in the background

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.

Selected Publications

  • The hell-bound train; a cowboy songbook (1973)

Interview with Glenn Ohrlin listen to the interview with Glenn Ohrlin
Length: 23 minutes
Transcripts of Interview with Glenn Ohrlin

  • Speakers: Glenn Ohrlin, Tracie Wilson(interviewer)
  • Date of Interview: July 2, 2007