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Music Library Association-Atlantic Chapter

Fall 2003

Last update: April 20, 2004

The Atlantic Chapter held its annual meeting on a blustery but colorful autumn weekend October 17-18, 2003 at The Pennsylvania State University in State College.  The opening session met in the newly renovated Foster Auditorium of the Pattee Library.

The first presentation, by Carl Rahkonen, explored the traditional music of Western Pennsylvania as found in the Samuel P. Bayard Collection at Penn State. Bayard was a distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature whose lifelong work was the collection of folk music and folk songs, especially from Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia. Between 1948 and 1963, he recorded some 68 informants on 31 reels of tape. These field recordings, together with his other research materials, are in the Special Collections Department of the Penn State Libraries. Bayard's collection also contains more than two hundred published tune books, most dating from the nineteenth century, but many from the eighteenth century.

The second presentation given by Barry Kernfeld, editor of The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2002; 1988), was entitled, "Napster in the 1930s: Bootlegging Song Sheets." His talk surveyed the forgotten story of bootleg song sheets (initially, newspaper-sized sheets of pop-song lyrics; from the mid-1930s song-lyric magazines). The bootleg sheets, which emerged in 1929, elicited an hysterical response from the music industry, 
which fought vigorously for roughly a decade, using every legal ploy available, before discovering, extremely reluctantly and somewhat inadvertently, that assimilation was a much more successful policy than prohibition.

We then had a wonderful reception in the Mann Assembly Room of the Paterno Library, with hors d'oeuvres sponsored by Nancy Eaton, Dean of the Penn State Libraries, and wine provided by Laura Probst, Head of Public Services. The Special Collections Department displayed a recently acquired collection of 18th century dance books. Some old time fiddlers from Pennsylvania, who had come to our meeting to learn more about the Bayard Collection, provided impromptu music for the reception.

Saturday morning began with a catered continental breakfast in the Mann Assembly Room. We were then favored to hear from Peter Kiefer, curator of the Penn State Fred Waring Collection, known as Fred Waring's America. He presented us with the historical background and significance of Waring's life and career. We then enjoyed a tour of Fred Waring's America, a special facility that contains Waring's entire music library of 6500 titles, including scores and instrumental/choral parts; more than 10,000 recordings on disc, wire, tape, kinescopes, and videotape; twenty thousand photographs and slides; scrap books with 7600 pages of clippings; and his business and personal correspondence. The most visible part of Fred Waring's America consists of historical memorabilia, including Tom Waring's piano, hundreds of pieces of cartoon art, the famous "cartoon tables" from the lounge room at Shawnee Inn, and of course Waring blenders.








Minutes of Business Meeting

The Chapter is involved with various kinds of outreach: funding travel grants for new members to attend our annual meeting and the National MLA meeting we are going to host in Arlington, Virginia on February 9-15, 2004. We are also making presentations on music librarianship to library schools and library associations within our chapter. We held elections this year and Steve Landstreet (Free Library of Philadelphia) was elected as Vice Chair/Chair Elect. Mary Prendergast (University of Virginia) was re-elected to another two-year term as Secretary/Treasurer. Our 2004 annual meeting will be held at West Virginia University in Morgantown. We have accepted an invitation for our 2005 Chapter meeting to be held at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. 

Respectfully submitted, 
Carl Rahkonen 
Indiana University of Pennsylvania 
Atlantic Chapter Chair


Send comments or suggestions to:  Brian Cockburn