I am delighted to welcome the first guest contributor to the CPM Director’s Blog: Candace Bailey of North Carolina Central University. –G. Reish
At the end of September I had the opportunity to spend a week at the Center for Popular Music at MTSU. I had known about the center for some time, but I had not visited because I work on 19th-century music (antebellum period) and thought that the CPM concentrated on more recent “popular” music, such as country music or rock ’n’ roll. I confess I was absolutely blown away by the depth of the collection, the knowledge of the staff, and the various projects underway. For my own purposes, the CPM houses over 200 binder’s volumes (collections of sheet music bound together), most of which date from before 1870. Moreover, the CPM is currently involved in a digitization project of early American music manuscripts, which opened up even more avenues of investigation that I had initially considered (visit https://archive.org/details/americanmusicmanuscripts for samples of this exciting project; completed website coming soon).
As if these treasures were not enough, I was also able to draw on Lucinda Cockrell’s extensive knowledge of the area in order to broaden my research on women’s musical experiences in middle Tennessee during the antebellum period. She assisted me with gaining entrance and assistance in such venues as Oaklands Historic House Museum (http://oaklandsmuseum.org) and the Maury County Archives. Her connections to archivists in the area is considerable and proved a great help to my work. Moreover, her willingness to share items from her personal collection further augmented my trip to this area. Indeed, the entire staff proved wonderfully helpful in suggesting further resources—and, speaking as one who has worked in archives throughout the United States and Europe—this sort of assistance from multiple staff members was unique.
I left the CPM with enough ideas to occupy several years of writing. Not only did I find exactly the sorts of primary sources that I had expected to see when visiting the center, but I also located [Read more…]