Description of John Lomax's Work:
Recommended Writings by John Lomax:
Organizations for Which John Lomax Collected Folk Songs:
John Lomax Biography:
Lomax co-founded the Texas Folklore Society, focusing it partly on discovering the folk music of the Mexican-American and African-American populations of Texas. Later, he also archived thousands of recordings for the Archive of American Folk Song at the U.S. Library of Congress, along with his son Alan.
Archive of American Folk SongLomax's first expedition of folk song collecting began in 1933 with son Alan Lomax. The goal was to capture African-American field recordings. They started with the prisons, since so many black men were imprisoned. They started in the Texas pentitentiaries, and then moved onto Louisiana—where they discovered Huddie Ledbetter (a.k.a. Leadbelly).
The Lomaxes convinced a judge to release Leadbelly to their care, and he later became a huge contributor to the evolution of the country and folk blues tradition. Other artists he discovered through the prison system were Lightnin' Washington, Mose "Clear Rock" Platt, and James "Iron Head" Baker, as well as many others.
John Lomax died of a stroke at age 79, in 1948. His son Alan and grandson John Lomax III carry on his work as musicologists and folklorists in their own right.