Fonds - Kenneth S. Goldstein fonds

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Title proper

Kenneth S. Goldstein fonds

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  • Graphic material
  • Textual record
  • Sound recording

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of fonds

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Dates of creation area


  • 1976-1995, predominant 1976-1990 (Creation)
    Goldstein, Kenneth

Physical description area

Physical description

30 cm of textual records
302 sound recordings
12 photographs

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Kenneth S. Goldstein (1927-1995) was born in Brooklyn, New York to Tillie Horowitz from Rega, Latvia and Irving Martin Goldstein from London, England. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration in theoretical mathematics and statistics from the City College of New York. After Army service in the 1940s, he went to work with Fairchild Publications in New York as a market researcher and analyst. During this time he also served as folk music director for Stinson, Folkways and Riverside records, and as folk and blues director of Prestige records. He married Rochelle Judith Korn in 1949 and they had five children: Rhoda, Diane, Michael, Karl and Scott.

Goldstein's career in folk music and his influence on the discipline began in the 1950s. He conducted short-term field studies in upstate New York (1951), in North Carolina (1952-1957), and in Massachusetts (1953). He also did ethnographic folklore fieldwork in north-eastern Scotland (1959-60). As a fieldworker and a record producer, the work he did during the 1950s and early 60s alone made him a towering figure in the folk music revival. But late in the 'fifties he enrolled at Penn for an advanced degree, won a Fulbright Scholarship to Edinburgh University's School of Scottish Studies, and emerged as the first Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife at Penn (1963). He joined the faculty immediately and meanwhile helped to start the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Goldstein held eight editorships and led many organizations both academic and mainstream: editor and president of Folklore Associates, president of Pastime Books, president of the American Folklore Society and the Pennsylvania Folklore Society, council member of The Folklore Society of England are but a few examples. He also advised the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Smithsonian Institute in the United States. His fieldwork in England, Scotland, Australia and many other sites resulted in the production of some 525 long-playing records, which he produced and annotated as well as the publication of ten books and countless articles. He became head of the Department of Folklore at Memorial University in 1976, a post he held until 1978. From then until his death on 11 Nov. 1995 he was a Research Associate in the Department. In this capacity, from 1978 until 1990, he deposited a quantity of materials in MUNFLA, most notably a body of folksongs he collected, along with several local collaborators, from various parts of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of audio cassette recordings of 243 Newfoundland singers and storytellers collected during regular field trips undertaken in rural Newfoundland and Labrador from 1978-1990 (ca. 3250 songs); 1 audiocassette recording of Mack Masters' performance at the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1976; 2 audiocassette recordings of music and a mummer's play performed at the St. John's Folk Club during Christmas 1977; 1 audio reel copy of Oh, Newfoundland is a Wide Plantation: the Story of Irish Settlements in Newfoundland, an episode in a series of Newfoundland School Broadcasts produced by Patrick Treacher, written and hosted by Aidan O'Hara; 24 col. photonegatives, 35 mm; 7 photocopied pocket songsters, six of Johnny Burke and one from Cape Breton; manuscript of a lecture on treason songs; 2 audio cassettes and 2 cm of correspondence related to a request for folksongs published in the St. John's Evening Telegram in 1978.

Fonds also contains materials Goldstein created and/or used in his teaching, research and public lectures. They include 83 audiocassette copies of Oral Traditions of Britain and Ireland, a series of commercial recordings issued by the Centre for Oral Traditions in England in 1975; 6 audiocassette copies of Grass Roots: An Oral History of the American People, a series of commercial recordings issued by the Visual Education Corporation of Princeton, New Jersey in 1976; 1 audiocassette recording of a lecture on her Newfoundland song-collecting experiences given by Elizabeth Bristol Greenleaf at the University of Rhode Island in 1969; 1 poster.

Fonds is arranged into the following series: 1. Field sound recordings and commercial sound recordings 2. Printed materials, lectures and notes 3. Correspondence 4. Photographs.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Sound recordings available as audio cassette reference copies.

Restrictions on access

There are some restrictions on access, arising from agreements made between informants and collectors. Information may be obtained from archivist.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

A finding aid to the field sound recordings listing song titles and names of informants is available. Some biographical information is available through MUNFLA forms completed for each informant.

Associated materials

Wilfred Wareham fonds and Diane Goldstein fonds.

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Created - May 6, 2013

Language of description

  • English

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