Online Recordings

American Folk Song Collection
Holy Names University’s American Folk Song Collection website features field recordings and transcription from the Library of Congress, a database for searching for songs, song analyses, game directions and background information and downloadable PDF files.

American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Home to more than 13,000 field recordings and other folk material of all kinds, this is our national archive of traditional music. Some of the collections available online include:

Alan Lomax Collection
A presentation of selected photographs, sound recordings, manuscripts, and biographical material.

Folk-Songs of America: The Robert Winslow Gordon Collection, 1922-1932
Samples of wax cylinder recordings of folksongs collected by the first head of the Archive of Folk Culture, Robert Winslow Gordon.

California Gold: Northern California Folk Music From the Thirties
Recordings, photographs, and drawings collected during a New Deal project aimed at documenting the European, Slavic, Middle Eastern, and Spanish-language folk music of Northern California in the 1930’s.

Captain Pearl R. Nye: Life on the Ohio and Erie Canal
This collection includes 75 songs, sung by Nye, along with transcribed lyrics, photographs, and personal letters Nye sent to the Library from 1937 to 1944.

Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections, 1937-1942
Recordings of African-American, Arabic, Bahamian, British-American, Cuban, Greek, Italian, Minorcan, Seminole, and Slavic cultures in Florida, recorded by Herbert Halpert, Zora Neale Hurston and others.

Hispano Music and Culture of the Northern Rio Grande: The Juan B. Rael Collection
Selections of sound recordings and manuscript material collected by Juan Bautista Rael in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado including alabados (hymns), folk drama, wedding songs, and dance tunes.

“Now What a Time”: Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943
Approximately one hundred sound recordings and related written documents collected by John Wesley Work III, Willis Laurence James, and Lewis Jones during trips to Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama.

Omaha Indian Music
Recordings of traditional Omaha music from 1983-1985 and wax cylinder recordings from 1895-1897.

Southern Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip
Nearly 700 sound recordings and fieldnotes documenting folk singers and folksongs across a broad spectrum of traditional musical styles. The site includes a sizable collection of children’s songs.

Smithsonian Global Sound
This site includes thousands of audio recordings and hundreds of video features from the U.S. national museum’s Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections (which includes Smithsonian Folkways). It includes traditional and contemporary music from around the world, and documentary recordings of individuals, communities, and current events, plus a searchable database of the entire Folkways sound archives, with excerpts and downloads of songs available for purchase.

The Max Hunter Folk Song Collection
An archive of almost 1600 Ozark Mountain folk songs, from 1956 -1976, including transcriptions.

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Includes hundreds of recordings of Ozark folksingers made between 1952 and 1963, including Almeda Riddle, Neal Morris, Oscar and Ollie Gilbert, and Jimmy Driftwood.

The Wisconsin Folk Song Collection 1937-1946
This collection contains Wisconsin field recordings, notes, and photographs made by UW-Madison faculty member Helene Stratman-Thomas and song collector Sidney Robertson Cowell.

Online Books

The Internet Archive
This archive offers access to historical collections that exist in digital format.
Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore
Campbell, Olive Dame and Cecil J. Sharp

English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians
Coffin, Tristram P.

The British Traditional Ballad In America
Sandburg, Carl, The American Songbag

Traditional Music Library
A wealth of resources for musicians including web reprints of numerous classic folk song collections such as:
Brewster, Paul, Ballads and Songs of Indiana
Child, Francis James, The English and Scottish Ballads
Gomme, Alice Bertha, Traditional Children’s Games of England, Scotland and Ireland
Krehbiel, Henry Edward, Afro-American Folk Songs
Lomax, John A. and Alan, American Ballads and Folk Songs
Lomax, Alan, Our Singing Country
Mellinger, Edward Henry, Folk Songs from the Southern Highlands
Scarborough, Dorothy, On the Trail of Negro Folksongs
Sharp, Cecil. English Folksongs from the Southern Appalachians
Wolford, Leah Jackson, The Play Party in Indiana
Work, John W., Folksongs of the American Negro

Other Folk Music Sites

The Digital Tradition Folk Song Database
A collection of lyrics for more than 8000 folk songs. Both keyword searching and title browsing is possible.

Folk Music Index of Recorded Sources
A comprehensive index of recordings of folk music, searchable by title and performer.

The Traditional Ballad Index
An annotated bibliography of the folk songs of the English-speaking world.