Skip to main content
Horace Sprott, featured on several of Ramsey's Folkways recordings.

Horace Sprott, featured on several of Ramsey's Folkways recordings.

Frederic Ramsey Audio Recordings Collection

Frederic Ramsey Jr. (1915-1995), son of painter Charles Frederic Ramsey, was a jazz scholar and author who worked with a number of musicians in the South and the New York/New Jersey area, notably Lead Belly. After receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1953, Ramsey undertook a tour of the South in order to explore and document the African-American music environment. His goal was to record the speech and music of persons at least sixty years of age or older in an attempt to trace the evolution of the musical genre that would become jazz. Ramsey produced a number of recordings for the Folkways label in the 1950s-1960s. Acquired by the RRFAC in 1990, his field tapes contain recordings made primarily during Ramsey’s tours of the American South between 1951-1967. Ramsey's personal papers are now part of the collections at the Jazz Institute at Rutgers University.

A finding aid is currently being prepared and will be posted as soon as it is available. A draft is available upon request.

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Cultural Vitality Program, educational outreach, and more.