Guide to the Frank and Anne Warner Papers, 1899-2000 and undated, bulk 1933-1985
Anne and Frank Warner were folklorists and folk song musicians. The Anne and Frank Warner Collection, with materials from as early as 1899 to as late as 2000, documents the Warners' active life of collecting, recording, and producing music and publications associated with traditional American folk song culture, primarily from along the eastern seaboard areas, in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, and as far as New Hampshire to the north.
- Collection Number
- Frank and Anne Warner papers
- 1899-2000 and undated bulk 1933-1985
- Warner, Frank
- 12 Linear Feet, 4934 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
The Anne and Frank Warner Collection, with materials dating from 1899 to 2000, is a record of the Warners' active life of collecting, recording, and producing music and publications associated with traditional American folk song culture and African-American music traditions, primarily from along the eastern seaboard areas, in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, and as far as New Hampshire to the north. The bulk of the materials date from the 1930s through the 1980s, and are organized into six series: Correspondence; Subject Files; Folk Materials; Writings; Audiovisual Materials; and Prints and Negatives. Through handwritten correspondence with a wide variety of folk singers and musicians, subject files, printed materials, film, video, photographs, and the Warners' own studio albums of folk songs, these materials document early methods for recording and collecting songs - the 20th century development of American ethnomusicology. Moreover, as an invaluable resource for studies in traditional American folk life, the collection also includes field audio recordings and photographs of folk singers, songwriters, and musicians in their element, at home with their families, singing and playing their instruments. Notable individuals referred to in the Warner Collection include: William Rose Benet, Carl Carmer, Bill Doerflinger, Lena Bourne Fish, ( “Yankee” ) John Galusha, David Grimes (of the Philco Corporation), Wayland Hand, Rena and Nathan Hicks, Buna Vista and Roby Monroe Hicks, Ray Hicks, Peter and Beryl Kennedy, Alan Lomax, Bessie and Frank Proffitt, Carolyn Rabson, Carl Sandburg, Pete Seeger, Charles K. ( “Tink” ) Tillett and family, and Charles L. Todd. The Warners were actively involved with a number of organizations, among them: the American Folklore Society, the Country Dance and Song Society of America, Duke University, the Library of Congress, the Newport Folk Foundation, the New York State Historical Association, and the YMCA. The Warners published a number of essays concerning traditional American folk culture and music in Think Weekly, the Appalachian Journal, Country Dance and Song, the Long Island Forum, A Celebration of American Family Folklore, and Come for to Sing. In addition to these, Ann Warner's book, Traditional American Folk Songs in the Frank and Anne Warner Collection, 1984, remains the authoritative compendium of the Warners' research in and collection of traditional American folk music.
The Warners' personal and professional relationships with various people and organizations can be traced through materials in the Correspondence Series, 1934-1985. Significant exchanges with the American Folklore Society, the Library of Congress, with William Rose Benet, Carl Carmer, Wayland Hand, Alan Lomax, Carl Sandburg, and Pete Seeger are extensively documented in the files. More correspondence can be found elsewhere in the collection - organized topically in the Subject Series, and according to correspondents' names in the Folk Materials Series.
The Subject Files Series, 1899-1984, houses documentary materials that give a wider context to the Warners' life and work. This series includes information about the Warners' genealogies, Frank Warner's work with youth and his career in the YMCA, material germane to the lawsuit that developed over the song “Tom Dooley,” information on and clips about various performances and recordings, and other materials.
The Folk Materials Series, 1938-1982, contains correspondence between the Warners and many of the traditional American folk singers and musicians that they visited; for some of the individuals there is more information than correspondence alone. This series is organized by state, city or region, and then individual or family, for example: North Carolina, Appalachia, Rena and Nathan Hicks. The states represented are: North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Warners' correspondence with both Rena and Nathan Hicks and Bessie and Frank Proffitt comprise the most extensive files. The series materials provide essential documentation for understanding the communities and the world views of the musicians.
The Writings Series, 1938-1985, contains a variety of materials, including documents that the Warners published in journals dedicated to folk life; grant applications; materials germane to the production and publication of Anne Warner's book, Traditional American Folk Songs; words to recorded and unrecorded folk songs in the collection, including some songs by Frank Warner; and Anne Warner's hand-written field research journals and notebooks.
An extensive collection of songs, interviews, and other recordings on audio tape reels, cassette tapes, phonograph albums, and compact discs are housed in the Audiovisual Materials Series, 1940-2000. Several motion picture films and video tape recordings also document the Warners' work and performances. Many of the items in the Audiovisual Materials Series are documented in written form in the Writings Series, including the sound recordings of folk songs and interviews collected in the Library of Congress master tapes, and which are not included in Anne Warner's book, Traditional American Folk Songs.
The Prints and Negatives Series, 1933-1969, extends the Warner collection's scope to include photographic images as well. There are 239 black and white prints, which are arranged alpha-numerically into lots from Lot 1 through Lot 9E. Within the lots, the prints are identified by number. In the pictures, the Warners have captured images of many traditional American folk musicians and singers. The Warners themselves appear frequently throughout the collection. The photographic documentation of the Warners' travels contains pictures of folk singers and their homes and families, including: Nathan, Roby Monroe, Buna Vista, Ray and Linzy Hicks; Lena Bourne Fish; Bessie and Frank Proffitt; the Tillett family; Louis Solomon; and Carl Sandburg.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Original negatives are closed to use.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. There may be a 48-hour delay in obtaining these materials.
Some of the materials in this collection are not immediately accessible, because they require further processing before use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Frank and Anne Warner Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Contains correspondence with many people and institutions over the course of the Warner's involvement with American folk music. Organized alphabetically according to the last name of the correspondent. There is also a miscellaneous file for extra correspondence attached to the end of the list that is not appropriated under a name category.
Contains documentary materials that give wider context to the Warners' life and work, and includes: Warner family genealogies; materials on Frank Warner's work with the YMCA; legal papers concerning the lawsuit over the song “Tom Dooley” ; documents about performances and recordings; information about Frank Warner's banjo; materials concerning the New York Folklore Society and the Newport Folk Foundation; and items pertaining to the Warners' research trips to Britain.
Files contain information on traditional American “folk” singers and musicians from North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia. Materials include correspondence in which the Warners engaged with many of the musicians that they visited; for some of the individuals, there is more information than correspondence alone. Organized hierarchically by state, then city or region, then individual or family.
Comprises a variety of materials connected with the Warners' efforts to document American folk traditions. Includes journal articles and essays, grant applications; materials related to the production of Anne Warner's book, Traditional American Folk Songs, 1984; folk song lyrics, published and unpublished; and Anne Warner's hand-written field research journals and notebooks. Some of the material in the Audio-visual Materials Series can be found in this series in written form, including transcribed sound recordings of “folk” songs and some interviews collected in the Library of Congress master tapes, which are not included in Anne Warner's book. Organized according to the subject matter of each particular writing.
Houses an extensive collection of songs, interviews, presentations, and other recordings on reel-to-reel tapes, cassette tapes, phonograph albums, compact discs (CDs), video cassettes, and film reels of various sizes. The series is organized into sound recordings and video recordings, and, within this, items are roughly specified according to the medium by which information is conveyed: reel-to-reel tapes, cassette tapes, discs (record albums), compact discs (CDs).
Some of the material is documented in written form in the Writings Series, including transcribed sound recordings of folk songs and some interviews.
[Originals closed to use. Some use copies available in the collection. Otherwise, Technical Services staff need to produce use copies before contents can be accessed. Please contact Research Services staff before coming to use the collection.]
Footage of Greensboro and Durham, NC, coastal region, and New York City.
Produced and directed by John Twaddle. Performers include: E. G. Huntington, Sam Eskin, Frank Warner, Phillip Merrill, Anne Warner, Jeff Warner, and Gerret Warner, and others. Shot at Old Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Connecticut. Part of the 15-episode Lyrics and Legends series produced by WHYY-TV for National Educational Television in 1963.
This episode of Seeger's Rainbow Quest can be viewed on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc7r6ZTR9E0 (March 2018).
Footage of logging with Frank Warner singing "Blue Mountain Lake" on the soundtrack. Used in an exhibit at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, New York, in 1974.
Frank Warner speaks to young people at his home near Old Brookville, Nassau County, New York, about his experiences collecting folksongs. With Anne, Jeff and Gerret Warner, Long Island, New York. Note that the 16mm film copy is A and B roll rather than a composite, and the soundtrack appears incomplete. The Umatic video cassette and the digital file scanned from it contain the entire program.
Contains 239 black and white 4x5 prints, which are arranged alpha-numerically into lots from Lot 1 through Lot 9E. Within the lots, the prints are identified by number, for example, Lot 2A: 1, Lot 2A: 2. Through the photographs, the Warners captured images of many traditional American folk musicians and singers and often their families and homes as well. The Warners themselves appear frequently throughout the collection. There are several photographs in which Frank Warner is pictured playing and singing along with various musicians, among them: Nathan, Roby Monroe, Buna Vista, Ray, and Linzy Hicks and their families; Frank Proffitt; “Yankee” John Galusha; Lena Bourne Fish; the Tillett family; Louis Solomon and others from the Mohawk tribe at the St. Regis reservation (N.Y.); and Carl Sandburg. There are also interesting images that capture the Warners engaged in recording these sessions. The photographic documentation of the Warners' travels contains images from as far North as Vermont, as far East as the Outer Banks, N.C., and as far West as the western edge of North Carolina.
Print 2A: 1
Print 2A: 4
Print 2B: 1
Print 2B: 2
Print 2B: 3
Print 2B: 4
Print 2B: 5
Print 2B: 10
Print 2B: 11
Print 2B: 14
Print 3A: 2
Print 3A: 7
Print 3B: 4
Print 3B: 5
Print 4A: 1
Print 4A: 2
Print 4A: 3
Print 4A: 5
Print 4A: 6
Print 4A: 12
Print 4A: 15
Print 4B: 9
Print 4B: 11
Print 4B: 15
Print 4B: 16
Print 4B: 17
Print 4B: 21
Print 4C: 1
Print 4C: 6
Print 4D: 1
Print 4D: 2
Print 4D: 7
Print 4D: 8
Print 4D: 9
Print 4D: 10
Print 5A: 1
Print 5A: 2
Print 5A: 4
Print 5B: 1
Print 5B: 2
Print 5B: 4
Print 5B: 7
Print 5B: 8
Print 5B: 13
Print 5B: 17
Print 5C: 1
Print 5C: 3
Print 5C: 4
Print 5C: 7
Print 5C: 8
Print 6B: 1
Print 6B: 2
Print 6C: 1
Print 6C: 2
Print 6D: 1
Print 7A: 1
Print 7A: 2
Print 7A: 3
Print 7A: 4
Print 7A: 5
Print 7A: 6
Print 7A: 7
Print 7A: 8
Print 7A: 9
Print 7A: 10
Print 7B: 5
Print 7B: 7
Print 7B: 8
Print 7B: 12
Print 7B: 15
Print 7B: 17
Print 7B: 19
Print 7B: 21
Print 8A: 2
Print 8A: 4
Print 8A: 5
Print 8B: 1
Print 8B: 4
Print 8B: 5
Print 8B: 6
Print 8B: 13
Print 8B: 14
Print 8C: 4
Print 9B: 5
Print 9B: 7
Print 9B: 8
Print 9C: 1
Print 9C: 3
Print 9C: 4
Print 9D: 1
Print 9D: 2
Print 9D: 6
Print 9E: 2
Frank Warner born, Selma, Ala.
Warner family moved to Durham, N.C., as Frank Warner's father, George Frank Warner, became General Secretary of Durham YMCA.
Frank Warner attended Duke University. At Duke Warner works with professor and folk song collector Frank C. Brown.
Frank Warner moved to New York City to direct programs for the Grand Central YMCA
Met Sue Thomas in Nag's Head, N.C.: the two traded songs informally, a precursor to the Warners' later song collecting
Frank Warner and Anne Locher married
Song collecting trip to Boone, N.C. and to Beech Mountain, N.C.; here the Warners met the Hicks family and Frank Proffitt, who taught them the song, "Tom Dooley"
The Warners met
John Galusha in Minerva, N.Y., and Rebecca King Jones, Crab Tree Creek, N.C.
The Warners acquired a Wilcox Gay Recordio (a pre-tape recording device), which they used when they returned to Beech Mountain, N.C., to record songs at a
at Rena and Nathan Hicks's house. In July, the Warners met Lena Bourne Fish in Jaffrey, N.H. Other acquaintances the Warners made this year include: John and Alwilda Culpeper, Outer Banks, N.C.; C.K. (
) Tillett and his family, Wanchese, N.C.; Steve Meekins, Kitty Hawk, N.C.; and Joseph Henry (
) Johnson, Suffolk, Va.
The Warners traveled to see Frank Proffitt and family. Also met Curt Mann at Mann's Harbor, N.C. Struck up a friendship with Alan Lomax, head of Folk Archives in the Library of Congress.
Death of Nathan Hicks.
Joint meeting of the New York State Historical Association and the New York Folklore Society: Frank Warner presented ballads along with Alan Lomax and Huddie Ledbetter ( Leadbelly). Frank Warner's first album, Hudson Valley Songs, also issued this year on the Disc label. Pete Seeger played banjo on the album. The Warners visited
John Galusha again in Minerva, N.Y.
Dr. Louis C. Jones, Director of the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, N.Y., established the
“Seminars on American Culture”
: Frank Warner appointed as faculty and performed songs at the seminars
Death of Leadbelly. Warners met
Tom P. Smith in Greenwich Village, New York City
The Warners again visited
John Galusha in Minerva, N.Y.; later, Galusha died at 91. Carl Sandburg made the first of many visits with the Warners
Warners met Captain Billy Payne in Nebraska, N.C. The Warners again visited the Hickses on Beech Mountain, N.C.
Frank Warner Sings Folk Songs and Ballads, issued on Elektra Records
Frank Warner's album, Songs of America's Wars, issued on Elektra Records
The Warners began an association with the Pinewoods Camp, near Cape Cod, devoted to traditional American folk music. Also, Sam Fuller directed the Radio Keith Orpheum (RKO) Radio Pictures film, Run of the Arrow; Frank Warner had a small part in the movie
Frank Warner's album, America's Singing Heritage, issued on Elektra
Frank Proffitt joined the Warners at the Pinewoods Camp and again the following year. Proffitt and Frank Warner performed at the first University of Chicago Folk Festival
Frank Proffitt performed at the Newport Folk Festival. Warners again visited the Proffitts at their home in Pick Britches Valley, N.C.
The Warners visited the Proffitts at their home in Pick Britches Valley, N.C. Later this year, Frank Proffitt died in his sleep
|1978 Feb. 27||
Death of Frank Warner
Publication of Anne Warner's book, Traditional American Folk Songs
|1991 Apr. 26||
Death of Anne Warner
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- American Folklore Society
- Benet, William Rose, 1886-1950
- Carmer, Carl Lamson, 1893-1976
- Country Dance and Song Society of America
- Doerflinger, Bill
- Duke University
- Fish, Lena Bourne
- Hicks, Ray, 1922-
- Hicks family
- Hand, Wayland Debs, 1907-
- Kennedy, Peter, 1922-2006
- Lomax, Alan, 1915-2002
- Library of Congress
- Newport Folk Foundation
- New York State Historical Association
- Proffitt, Frank
- Rabson, Carolyn
- Seeger, Pete, 1919-
- Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967
- Warner, Anne
- African Americans -- United States -- Music
- Folk music -- Southern States
- Folk music -- United States
- Appalachia -- Music
- New England -- Music
- North Carolina -- History
- North Carolina -- Music
- Southern States -- Music
The Frank and Anne Warner Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift from 1985-2000.
Processed by Karen Glynn and Schuy Weishaar, March 2004
Encoded by Chris Black and Paula Jeannet
Completed June 2004
Updated to include accession 2018-0056 by Alice Poffinberger, June 2018
Accessions November 22 1985, November 22 1985, June 10 1985, 90-046, 2000-0168, and 2018-0056 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.