May 20, 2022

A New Digital Collection: Digging into the Archives, University of Virginia Library Brings Old Folksong Recordings to Light

From UVA Today:

Using the latest recording technology available to him in the 1930s – aluminum discs – University of Virginia English instructor Arthur Kyle Davis Jr. recorded hundreds of traditional folksongs and ballads from Virginia residents, mostly in the Appalachian region.

His work for the Virginia Folklore Society created one of the earliest collections of its kind in North America, including some of the earliest recordings of African American musicians in the state.

Now, the University Library has made 173 of those discs – containing nearly 700 songs – available online, digitizing the recordings with support from a grant from the “Recordings at Risk” program, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.