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Leach edited standard editions of the romances Amis and Amiloun (1937) and Paris and Vienne (1957) as well as The Ballad Book (1955), The Critics and the Ballad (1961) with Tristram Potter Coffin and Folk Ballads and Songs of the Labrador Coast (1965). Just before he died, he completed the revised ballad bibliography for Wells's "Manual of the writings in Middle English, 1050-1400". Leach was dedicated to folklore and its development as an academic discipline, and expended much energy on behalf of the American Folklore Society and its operations. From 1943 to 1960 Leach was Secretary-Treasurer of the Society and from 1960 to 1962, its President. During this time he almost single-handedly nurtured that organisation from near collapse to vigour, encouraging local societies as a foundation for the national one, inaugurating the Bibliographical and Special Series to generate revenue and giving his time whenever needed.
As early as 1949, and throughout his career, Leach collected folksongs, ballads, and instrumental folk music in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Jamaica, and the Southern Mountains of the United States. In fact, he made several trips to Newfoundland during which he collected more than 600 songs and other folklore. Leach's first wife was Alice May Doan (Maria Leach), with whom he had a son, Donald; his second was Nancy Rafetto, with whom he had also a son, Douglas.
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