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Research Grant Recipients (ARSC Grants Committee)

Select a year: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Grants Program is designed to encourage and support scholarship and publication by individuals in the field of sound recordings or audio preservation.

2019 Grants

Jonathan Henderson, Duke University

A grant of $1000 for travel to Paris, France to study recordings of Mande music at the National Audiovisual Institute, for his dissertation on globalization in the music industry and its influence on traditional music practices.

Sheryl Kaskowitz, Independent Scholar

A grant of $1000 for travel to the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center to consult the field recordings made by Margaret Valiant, for a book-length study. Valiant was one of the “government song women” who collected songs for the Music Unit of the Resettlement Administration during the New Deal.

Austin McCabe Juhnke, Ohio State University

A grant of $500 toward travel to Mennonite archives in Indiana and Kansas to study cultural diversity in recordings of Mennonite music performances, for a book-length study of multicultural change within the denomination.

Bill McClung, Independent Discographer

A grant of $500 for travel to Paris, Texas, to compile information on the Swing Record Manufacturing Company. Swing was one of the first record pressing companies in Texas and a primary manufacturer of “party records.” The projected outcome for the project includes publication of an article and a reissue package.

2018 Grants

Daniel Margolies, Virginia Wesleyan University

A grant of $600 for travel to archives in Texas to research the recorded and sonic legacies of bands that performed in immigrant dance halls and how they relate to the immigrant experience in Texas.

Alison Martin, Indiana University

A grant of $600 for travel to Washington DC to compile a discography of go-go music, a funk-derived genre of popular music specific to the African-American population in Washington DC. This project, which involves oral history and work with collectors, is part of her dissertation exploring the intersection of gentrification, race and music.

Brian Oberlander, Northwestern University

A grant of $900 for travel within Morocco to compile a discography of Judeo-Moroccan recordings of al-ala music, in order to document the multi-layered ethnic contributions to Andalusian classical music.

Elodie Roy, University of Glasgow, Scotland

A grant of $900 for travel to several record company archives in the UK. Roy is writing a monograph on the technical, social and cultural history of shellac in the recording industry.

2017 Grants

Terri Brinegar, University of Florida

A grant of $750 to Terri Brinegar, University of Florida, for travel to Philadelphia to interview the remaining family member of Rev. A. W. Nix, and to inspect archives at his church, for a study of his commercially-recorded sermons.

Red Kelly, Independent Discographer

A grant of $750 to independent discographer Red Kelly, for travel to interview session musicians for his ongoing web biodiscography of guitarist Reggie Young.

Jocelyn Moon, University of Washington

A grant of $750 to Jocelyn Moon, University of Washington, for travel to the International Library of African Music in Grahamstown, South Africa, where she will compile a discography of field recordings of matepe mbira music of Zimbabwe and Mozambique recorded by Hugh and Andrew Tracey, with a view to repatriation through the ILAM website and her own blog.

Steve Smolian, Independent Researcher

A grant of $750 to independent researcher Steve Smolian for travel to consult the papers of Eldridge R. Johnson at the University of Wyoming, as a part of his ongoing project on change in the recording industry.

2016 Grants

Ian Eagleson, ethnomusicologist and independent scholar

A grant of $1000 to Ian Eagleson, ethnomusicologist and independent scholar, for travel to study the recording industry in Kenya:
"With the ARSC research grant I will travel to Kenya to carry out historical research on Kenyan popular music and the recording industry during the middle to late twentieth century. During this period the efforts of local musicians and entrepreneurs and the investments of multinational labels created a burgeoning musical environment in the capital city Nairobi that attracted musicians from around the East African region, releasing thousands of recordings annually. Oral history interviews and discographic research will be carried out with musicians/producers who came to the forefront of this activity during the 1960s, including Gabriel Omolo, David Amunga, and John Nzenze. This project will supplement preparation of a book manuscript entitled Ok Oyot System: Benga and the Kenyan Recording Industry from 1950-2015, documenting guitar-based benga music and the history of Kenyan recording practices. In addition, a visit will be made to the British Library Sound Archive to examine the work of Alice Werner, who recorded Kenyan songs and language in 1912 on wax cylinders."

Filip Sir, Moravian Library in Prague, Czech Republic

A grant of $1000 to Filip Sir, librarian and sound specialist at the Moravian Library in Prague, Czech Republic, for travel to US repositories to collect information on recordings made for Czech immigrants to the United States:
"The main purpose of this research project is to examine and describe the production of sound recordings for Czech speaking immigrants in the USA during the first half of the 20th century. The financial support is intended to cover transportation and accommodation in the USA. On this trip I will carry out a survey of one of the most interesting parts of the Czech recording history - recordings of Czech speaking immigrants in their "new country" (USA). The main memory institutions I plan to visit are: University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin, and the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids. It is important to note that during the first 30 years of the 20th century, more phonograph records were published for Czech immigrants in the USA than at home in Czechoslovakia. Still, some records for this minority were published in Czechoslovakia, and it is very interesting to compare both countries based on their differing social and economic conditions, and their responses to these phonograph records. The results of this research will help me to create a publication that includes a discography of Czech records for immigrants in the USA, along with stories of the Czech countrymen in the USA who made them and pictures of record labels. A short article focusing on this research will be published in the ARSC journal."

Matt Swiatlowski, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

A grant of $1000 to Matt Swiatlowski, doctoral student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill:
"The generous support of an ARSC grant will go towards my archival study on New World Records' Recorded Anthology of American Music (RAAM) conducted in the archives of New World Records in New York. Founded in 1975 as a non-profit record label through a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, New World Records produced the 100-disc RAAM to commemorate the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration. An exhaustive survey of vernacular, popular, and serious music recordings made in the United States, RAAM includes several titles dedicated to ethnic vernacular forms. My research on RAAM is part of a larger dissertation project on the circulation of commercially-produced, prewar ethnic vernacular recording in the postwar reissue economy to be completed as part of my doctoral degree in American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill."

2015 Grants

Craig Eley, Wisconsin Public Radio

A grant of $1000 to fund archival research at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Cornell University, the archives at the American Museum of Natural History, and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution, for a book project, tentatively titled Field Noise: Sound, Nature, and Technology in the Twentieth Century:
This project is a critical cultural history of commercially released environmental sound recordings, from vaudeville-style animal imitations at the turn of the century through New Age recordings of whale songs in the 1970s. More than just historical curiosa, these records impacted a range of cultural movements and technological practices, including environmental politics, ornithological science, film and radio sound effects, and avant-garde composition.

Brian Lefresne, University of Guelph

A grant of $325 for airfare to Chicago to consult Sun Ra recordings at the Creative Audio Archive:
By the late-1960's jazz musician, philosopher, and poet Sun Ra (1914-1993) had achieved a degree of notoriety within the worlds of jazz and musical avant-gardism for his multidisciplinary concert stagings known as myth-rituals, his philosophical musings and verse that became the foundation for AfroFuturism, and for his independently owned and operated record label El Saturn Records. The Sun Ra/El Saturn Collection as part of the Creative Audio Archive in Chicago, Ill. offers a unique set of sources documenting these activities. This archive, which was assembled by Ra's longtime business manager Alton Abraham (1927-1999), consists of approximately 600 analog tapes of recorded audio of rehearsals, live concerts, public lectures, interviews, musical fragments, and sketches by Sun Ra. These tapes, in addition to containing a wealth of musical performances, provide unprecedented documentation of Ra, discussing his musical compositions and reciting his poetry in first-person and unmediated accounts, and have yet to be critically interrogated. The information uncovered will be incorporated into Lefresne's doctoral dissertation.

Byrd McDaniel, Brown University

A grant of $875 for travel to the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University to conduct research on sound recordings related to musical pantomime in the early 20th Century in the United States:
The Center's recorded music, taped lectures, oral histories, and recorded interviews provide insight into the music and perspectives involved in certain pantomime practices, in which music and choreography were developed to represent certain ideas about how music affects and enhances the body. This research will contribute to an article-length history of pantomime troupe performances and a broader dissertation project that connects historical pantomime practices to contemporary practices that configure sound recordings for new embodied contexts, such as lip-synching battles, karaoke, and air guitar competitions.

Amanda Minks, University of Oklahoma

A grant of $800 for travel to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. to conduct research for her book project, Hearing Heritage: Music, Statecraft, and International Organizations in the Americas: In the 1940s, the Library of Congress collaborated with international organizations such as the Inter-American Indian Institute and the Pan-American Union to increase collections of music recordings from Latin American countries, often in tandem with politically motivated cultural diplomacy. This built on earlier efforts to expand what counted as American music and to preserve it through collections of recordings that symbolized regional, national, or universal culture. Minks will review collections of recordings and documents in the Archive of Folk Culture and the Music Division of the Library of Congress to advance her inquiries into the use of music, technology, and sound in the networks and negotiations of national and international cultural policy.

2014 Grants

Josh Garrett-Davis, Princeton University

A grant of $900 for travel to Bloomington, Indiana and Oklahoma City to carry out research for his doctoral dissertation "Resounding: American Indians and Audio Technology, 1890-1969." He will consult various collections of ethnographic recordings in the Archive of Traditional Music at Indiana University, and travel to the Western History Collections of Oklahoma University to research a radio program from 1941, Indians for Indians, preserved on sixteen-inch transcription discs.

Jeff McMillan, American Bach Soloists, San Francisco

A grant of $600 for travel to the Metropolitan Opera archives to research performers who recorded for Edison, for McMillan's project "Discovering Edison's Grand Opera series, 1905-1907." The project will show how newfound discographical details enhance understanding of Edison's first Grand Opera series and how Edison and the recordings themselves contributed to the growth of recorded opera in America.

Daniel Margolies, Virginia Wesleyan College

A grant of $500 for travel to the Arhoolie Archives at UCLA to conduct research on Texas conjunto recordings and the record companies that made them, for a projected history and discography. Margolies will also travel to San Antonio, Texas, a center of production for conjunto recordings, to consult the files of extant record companies. The project will result in a discography as well as socio-historical analysis.

2013 Grants

Evelyn Osborne, Memorial University of Newfoundland

A grant of $1000 for travel to New York University to study the recordings of the McNulty Family and their influence on Newfoundland traditional music. The traditional music of Newfoundland and Labrador is often characterized as historically and culturally Irish. Yet it is recordings which have been the primary catalyst in this assumption.  In the mid-20th century Irish-American vaudevillians, the McNulty Family, were regularly broadcast on Newfoundland radio for thirty years by J. M. Devine and the Big 6 clothing store. My research has revealed that Devine’s stock list of McNulty recording played a significant role in the development of an Irish-Newfoundland musical identity. In 2010 and 2011, I was able to examine the newly deposited McNulty Family Papers at the Archives of Irish America (AIA) at New York University. With the aid of ARSC, I look forward to returning to the AIA to study the recorded collection and further understand the relationship between the McNultys’ recorded repertoire and the development of an Irish-Newfoundland musical aesthetic and identity.

Parker Fishel, University of Texas School of Information

A grant of $700 to support travel to Massachusetts and Connecticut to pursue his project “Georgia Griot: A Bio-Discography of Marion Brown.”  Marion Brown was an alto-saxophonist who emerged in the mid-1960s as part of the larger creative ferment of “free jazz” in New York City. From beginnings as a sideman to John Coltrane and Archie Shepp, Brown quickly emerged as a leader in his own right, recording a series of important albums in the 1970s. Grant funding from ARSC will  fund travel to investigate an under-documented period in the late 1970s and 1980s when Brown was participating in the local musical communities of Northampton, Massachusetts and Hartford, to interview Brown’s collaborators, friends, and colleagues, and perhaps to uncover new unissued recordings; follow up on leads regarding small pressing releases made for local distribution; and clarify information pertaining to Sweet Earth Records, the label Brown founded and ran out of Northampton.

Christa Anne Bentley, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

A grant of $300 to support  travel to conduct research in the archives of A&M Records at UCLA, for a dissertation on the role of the recording industry in the singer-songwriter movement, centering on women singer-songwriters and analyzing the singer-songwriter movement within gendered discourse of the music industry and the broader cultural implications of second-wave feminism.  The archives of A&M Records include  business papers, correspondence, and sound recordings valuable for understanding how the singer-songwriter movement crystallized as a style from the perspective of the music industry.

2012 Grants

Meghan Forsyth, Memorial University of Newfoundland

A grant of $1000 to assist in funding travel and lodging to Moncton, New Brunswick and the Magdalen Islands to study important sources, including recordings of musicians of older generations and historical information and to interview culture-bearers. Local recording artists and engineers, and arts administrators for her project on the impact of sound recordings on Acadian music traditions of les Iles-de-la-Madeleine.

Jane K. Mathieu, University of Texas, at Austin

A grant of $1000 to help in funding travel and lodging to New York City and Washington, D.C. for her project: "'Over There' Over Here: performing the American Home-Front during World War I", which will contribute to her dissertation in Historical Musicology on the topic of redefining Tin Pan Alley in relation to American collective identity, 1890-1920.

2011 Grants

Jocelyn Arem

A grant of $500 to assist in funding travel for the final phase of research towards a book publication, website, and addition of newly discovered audio files to the Caffé Lena Collection in the Archive of Folk Culture – Caffé Lena being the oldest continuously running folk music coffeehouse and important in the 20th-century folk revival.

David Font-Navarrete

A grant of $1000 to assist in funding travel, lodging, and food expenses for research on his project to catalogue, edit, and annotate several hours of unique recordings of Jola music made by J. David Sapir in West Africa between 1960 and 1970, with the eventual preparation of articles and a book and a plan to publish selected recordings in a multi-media release.

Susan Schmidt-Horning

A grant of $500 to assist in funding preparation of the index for her book: Chasing Sound: Technology, Culture, and the Art of Studio Recording in America, the first history of the recording industry from the perspective of the technical and creative teams, which is under contract to Johns Hopkins University Press.

2010 Grants

Ian R. MacMillen

A grant of $667 to assist in funding costs of travel to Zagreb, Croatia to conduct interviews and research for his project: An historical and ethnographic study of the transnational impact of Tambura music recordings from Croatia, 1989 - 2010: transition in Croatia's sound recording industry after communism and the 1990's Balkan conflicts.

Rachel Reynolds-Luster

A grant of $667 to assist with travel, copying, and printing costs for her project to produce a discography of Arkansas fiddle music: archival, self-produced, and commercial recordings 1920's through 2010, including individual and groups in which the fiddle is a lead instrument.

The Reverend Jerome F. Weber

A grant of $667 to help underwrite the creation of a web site that will make a relational database available in searchable form as an extension of the applicant's A Gregorian Chant Discography, published in 1990 with the help of an ARSC grant.

2009 Grants

Jocelyn Arem

A grant of $500 to assist in funding travel, written transcription, and editing in continuing research on the Recorded American Folksong Revival movement through gaining information from Professor John Nazarenko about his recordings of Caffé Lena performances.

Justin Scarimbolo

A grant of $1000 to assist in funding travel expenses for a trip to India to interview musicians and to visit sound and print archives, following up on his thesis on the subject of Hindustani music and its recorded dimension.

Sarah Ziebell

A grant of $1000 to assist in funding travel, lodging, and incidental expenses for a trip to Berea College to study materials in the John Lair Collection and related holdings of materials on rural radio and Appalachian music and performers, in order to produce an article for publication and to form a basis to seek a research fellowship.

2008 Grants

James Ruchala

A grant of $1000 to assist in funding travel and lodging expenses for research into the history and impact of County and Heritage records: the old-time music of Surry County, North Carolina, the area famous for producing the "Round Peak" style and repertory.

Laura Schnitker

A grant of $1000 to assist in funding travel and lodging expenses for research on her doctoral dissertation: to examine how freeform radio has fostered the construction of indie music communities in the United States, based on research on KPFA-FM, Berkeley, CA at the Pacifica Radio Archives.

2007 Grants

Joel Bresler

A grant of $1000, to help support his trip to Israel to study the important holdings of the Kol Yisrael (Voice of Israel) broadcast service for his project to assemble and publish a comprehensive database of Sephardic recordings, in conjunction with the Jewish Music Research Centre at Hebrew University.

Robert E. Hunter

A grant of $1000, to help support travel and documentary costs for research on recorded programs at the National Archives, College Park, MD for his doctoral dissertation in History at the University of Illinois at Chicago : "Fingers on the Button: American atomic policy in mainstream film, radio, and television, 1945 - 1960."

Kevin Mungons, Director of the American Gospel Music Archive

A grant of $500, to support travel and lodging expenses from Iowa to North Carolina to perform research for a discography of the gospel singer George Beverly Shea while Mr. Shea is still alive and active enough to assist.

Dr. Risto Pekka Pannanen, Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

A grant of $500, to help with travel and lodging (Novi Sad and Belgrade) for his research project: "Recording activity, musicians, and marketing before the First World War in Bosnia, Vojvodina, and Serbia."

2006 Grants

Shalini Ayyagari

A grant of $1000, to assist in the study of interviews and recordings of performances of Lahka Khan Manganiar as a Manganiar caset musician and a Sindhi Sarangi player: his repertoire, musical learning processes, the intricacies of the raga and song systems, and the transmission of Manganiar musical knowledge and traditions.

Don Rayno

A grant of $1000, to help in research for Volume 2 of the biography and discography: "Paul Whiteman: Pioneer in American Music", including a complete study of the recordings Whiteman made for Victor 1931 - 1942.

Jessica Wood

A grant of $1000, to assist her analysis of long-playing record albums in a study of the relationship between the harpsichord's sound & image and pop music in postwar popular culture.


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