Archives Collection



KENNETH S. GOLDSTEIN COLLECTION OF AMERICAN SONG BROADSIDES                                                                                  


The Kenneth S. Goldstein Collection of American Song Broadsides has been digitized and cataloged through the generous donation of a National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation and Access grant (2003-2005) and may be accessed through the Center for Popular Music Kenneth S. Goldstein Song Broadsides Website



Physical Description:

3119 single sheet broadsides

 2 playbills



Early 1800s to circa 1940.



Due to the fragile nature of these materials, in most cases photocopies will be provided to researchers in lieu of the originals. There are bound compilations of photocopies available at the reference desk. Any use or reproduction by researchers must contain a credit line to the Kenneth S. Goldstein Collection of American Song Broadsides at The Center for Popular Music at MTSU.



This collection was compiled and purchased from Kenneth S. Goldstein, Professor Emeritus of Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania in May of 1994. The items were originally received by the Center mounted in 58 standard albums, four oversize albums and 1 folio containing 10 very large pieces. 3015 single sheet broadsides were originally received.


Agency History/biographical sketch:

Kenneth S. Goldstein was a folklorist, professor, scholar, record producer, festival organizer, collector, publisher, author, and editor.  Goldstein became interested in folk music and ballad scholarship when he was in the army in the 1940s. He worked as a market analyst and phonograph record and book producer prior to returning to University in 1958 and establishing Folklore Associates, a new, used and rare book company specializing in folksong and folklore.  While adding to his own library, as well as purchasing and selling items through Folklore Associates, he built choice collections of ballad broadsides, songsters, and other paper ephemera.  In 1963, Mr. Goldstein received the first doctorate in folklore awarded by the University of Pennsylvania.  His dissertation was published the following year as A Guide for Fieldworkers in Folklore and became a standard text in the field.  He was chairman of the department of folklore and folklife at Pennsylvania for more than 25 years.  As a scholar of folk ballads, he conducted extensive field research in the United States, Britain, Ireland, Australian, and Canada.  In the process, he collected more than 7,000 traditional oral folk songs and ballads.  He established another company called Pastime Books later in his life and continued to buy, sell, and collect ballad broadsides, chapbooks, and songsters.  Mr. Goldstein died in November 1995.



Scope and content:

The broadsides are mostly simple songsheets of lyrics only, printed on one side and usually on poor grade paper.  The majority are black and white, 10% of the total collection have colored inks and decorative elements.  Approximately 4% of the broadsides are large format pieces that contain multiple songs.  The items are organized by publishers when possible, and by place of publication or topic.  The subjects represented in or documented by the broadsides are extremely varied, but include political events, battles, natural disasters, ethnic groups, tragedies, romance, and popular trends. A variety of titles from the Civil War are included, most of Northern origin.  This broadside collection documents early popular song of the common man in America during the 19th and early 20th century.  One of the primary means of disseminating popular music, the broadsides represent an early form of commercial distribution of songs and contain social, cultural, and political information, providing a contemporary portrayal of popular culture.


Included with the broadsides were two playbills concerning Irish Songs and Dances and Spaulding’s Bell Ringers.



The albums that hold the broadsides are shelved with other sheet music collections under the heading American Song Broadsides, with the exception of 10 very large pieces that are housed in the Oversize file cabinet.  The playbills are housed with the performance documents collections; the handwritten letters and various manuscript and miscellaneous items found among the broadsides are located in the manuscript collections.


Related Materials:

Two playbills were included with the broadsides and are cataloged as 232-PERFORM (Irish Songs and Dances) and 352-PERFORM (Spaulding’s Bell Ringers).  Also purchased from Kenneth Goldstein were 1,400 songsters and 900 Country and Western song folios, accession number 95-051.  All are searchable by accession number in the CPM In Magic database.  There are other broadsides within the Center’s collection (not part of the Goldstein Collection) searchable under the Sheet Music category.



An additional 104 broadsides were acquired from Mr. Goldstein in June 1995, accession number 94-081. These broadsides were integrated into the larger collection, bringing the total to 3119 broadsides.



Note:  This inventory was amended and rewritten by Lucinda Cockrell, Archivist, January 7, 2002.  The original inventory written by Mayo Taylor in June 1994 was intended to be temporary.