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Kenneth S. Goldstein Collection of Country and Western Song Folios

Accession Numbers


Physical Description

900 Country and Western song folios


 c.1928 – c.1957

Provenance and Acquisition Information

This collection was compiled by and purchased from Kenneth S. Goldstein, Professor Emeritus of Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania in November of 1995.

Agency History/Biographical Sketch

Kenneth S. Goldstein was a folklorist, professor, scholar, record producer, festival organizer, collector, publisher, author, and editor. Goldstein became interested in folk music and ballad scholarship when he was in the army in the 1940s. He worked as a market analyst and phonograph record and book producer prior to returning to the University of Pennsylvania in 1958 and establishing Folklore Associates, a new, used and rare book company specializing in folksong and folklore. While adding to his own library, as well as purchasing and selling items through Folklore Associates, he built choice collections of ballad broadsides, songsters, and other paper ephemera. In 1963, Mr. Goldstein received the first doctorate in folklore awarded by the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation was published the following year as A Guide for Fieldworkers in Folklore and became a standard text in the field. He was chairman of the department of folklore and folklife at Pennsylvania for more than 25 years. As a scholar of folk ballads, he conducted extensive field research in the United States, Britain, Ireland, Australian, and Canada. In the process, he collected more than 7,000 traditional oral folk songs and ballads. He established another company called Pastime Books later in his life and continued to buy, sell, and collect ballad broadsides, chapbooks, and songsters. Mr. Goldstein died in November 1995.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of country and western song books and/or lyrics only songsters containing text lyrics, music, articles, advertisements, and photographs of various singers.  Most of the folios contain photographs and music with text.  The majority of songs within the folios are listed as cowboy songs, mountain songs or ballads, hill billy songs, western songs, old-time songs, or folk songs.  A portion of the folios are associated with a specific radio station, such as WSM, CBS, or WLS.  Most contain titles performed by a specific singer, duet, or group (Bradley Kincaid, Gene Autry, Blue Grass Roy, Jimmy Rodgers).


The country and western song folios are housed in the Center’s Rarebook (song book) collection.  The majority are classified as secular vocal songbooks with others found in the Songster and Instrumental groups.  All items are arranged by ID number within each group.

Related Materials

Within the same accession number 95-051, were purchased 1400 songsters comprising the Kenneth S. Goldstein Collection of American Songsters. Also purchased from Kenneth Goldstein was the Kenneth S. Goldstein Collection of American Song Broadsides, accession number 94-017, which are in the Sheet Music collection.  All are searchable by accession number in the CPM In Magic database.  There are also other Country and Western song folios within the Center’s collection (not part of the Goldstein Collection).

Processed By

This inventory was written by Lucinda Cockrell, Archivist, January 7, 2002.  The collection was accessioned in 1995, but no inventory description was completed.


Country music


Goldstein, Kenneth S.

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