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Indiana Collections at the Archives of Traditional Music

A guide to items recorded in or about Indiana music and culture held by the Archives of Traditional Music.

Hoosier Music and Culture: Exploring the Collections of the Archives of Traditional Music

In December of 2020, ATM Director Alan Burdette and ATM Librarian Allison McClanahan gave a virtual presentation discussing Indiana collections and materials in the Archives of Traditional Music's holdings. Many of the collections and resources mentioned in this guide are featured in the presentation, as well as audio examples of collections found on the highlights page. You can find the recording of the presentation at https://go.iu.edu/3uVW

History of Collecting Indiana Materials at the ATM

The Archives of Traditional Music began acquiring Indiana recordings from its inception, including very early lacquer disc copies of Alan Lomax’s Indiana recordings from the Library of Congress.

The Folklore Institute had a small collection of field recordings made by graduate students in the department starting in the late 1950s and into the mid-1960s. These collections were then deposited in the ATM, and related paper materials became the Folklore Collection in the IU Archives.

With the Folk Revival in full swing in the early 1960s, young musicians interested in old-time music were inspired to interview and record fiddlersblues musiciansballad-singers, and bluegrass performers from various parts of the state.

In the 1970s, the flowering of Bloomington’s old-time music scene as well as a US bicentennial-era interest in American immigrant history framed Paul Tyler’s work documenting musicians all over the state of Indiana. 

The Archives of Traditional Music continues to collect sound recordings of Indiana music and culture as part of the ATM's mission statement

Archives Statistics

Some ATM Indiana collections statistics: 

  • As of 2018, ATM holds 622 catalogued Indiana field collections.​
  • This represents 2,594 individual physical recordings​.
  • Collections recorded in Indiana equal 21.5% of total number of field collections and 7.6% of the overall number of field recordings​.
  • Indiana collections make up a third of the total number of North American collections at ATM.

Below are some visualization maps for Indiana collections held at Archives of Traditional Music. 

Map of Indiana. State is outlined in red, and blue geo-tags are scattered across the map fairly evenly.

Indiana Collections Geospatial Dispersement Map.

While collections held at the Archives of Traditional Music have been recorded across the state of Indiana, there are regions and locations in Indiana which have a greater number of collections recorded there, including Gary/Calumet Region, Indianapolis, and Bloomington.

Map of Indiana. State is outlined in gray, and small to medium sized black dots indicating density of collections recorded in Indiana held at ATM scatter across state. Large circles indicating more collections from the area are on map around Gary, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and Bloomington.

Indiana Collections Density Map.

Regions across Indiana are represented in the map below. Northeastern Indiana (Purple), “The Region"/Chicago Metro/Rust Belt​ (Blue), Central Indiana Plains​ (Green), Indianapolis Metro Area​ (Yellow), Wabash Valley​ (Orange), and Southern Indiana/Upland South (Red). All of these regions, along with their distinct cultures, are represented in Archives of Traditional Music collections.

 Map of Indiana, with different Indiana regions outlined in black and colored in various colors explained in text above image.

Indiana Regionality Map.