Kenneth Goldstein fonds

Fonds description written by Anita Best under the co-sponsorship of the Canadian Council of Archives and the Association of Newfoundland & Labrador Archives.


Kenneth S. Goldstein fonds



30 cm textual records
302 sound recordings
12 photographs


1976-1995, predominant 1976-1990


Kenneth S. Goldstein (1927-1995) was born in Brooklyn, New York to Tillie Horowitz from Rega, Latvia and Irving Martin Goldstein from London, England. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration in theoretical mathematics and statistics from the City College of New York. After Army service in the 1940s, he went to work with Fairchild Publications in New York as a market researcher and analyst. During this time he also served as folk music director for Stinson, Folkways and Riverside records, and as folk and blues director of Prestige records. He married Rochelle Judith Korn in 1949 and they had five children: Rhoda, Diane, Michael, Karl and Scott.

Goldstein's career in folk music and his influence on the discipline began in the 1950s. He conducted short-term field studies in upstate New York (1951), in North Carolina (1952-1957), and in Massachusetts (1953). He also did ethnographic folklore fieldwork in north-eastern Scotland (1959-60). As a fieldworker and a record producer, the work he did during the 1950s and early 60s alone made him a towering figure in the folk music revival. But late in the 'fifties he enrolled at Penn for an advanced degree, won a Fulbright Scholarship to Edinburgh University's School of Scottish Studies, and emerged as the first Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife at Penn (1963). He joined the faculty immediately --and meanwhile helped to start the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Goldstein held eight editorships and led many organizations both academic and mainstream: editor and president of Folklore Associates, president of Pastime Books, president of the American Folklore Society and the Pennsylvania Folklore Society, council member of The Folklore Society of England are but a few examples. He also advised the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Smithsonian Institute in the United States. His fieldwork in England, Scotland, Australia and many other sites resulted in the production of some 525 long-playing records, which he produced and annotated as well as the publication of ten books and countless articles. He became head of the Department of Folklore at Memorial University in 1976, a post he held until 1978. From then until his death on November 11, 1995 he was a Research Associate in the Department. In this capacity, from 1978 until 1990, he deposited a quantity of materials in MUNFLA, most notably a body of folksongs he collected, along with several local collaborators, from various parts of Newfoundland and Labrador.


Fonds consists of audio cassette recordings of 243 Newfoundland singers and storytellers collected during regular field trips undertaken in rural Newfoundland and Labrador from 1978-1990 (ca. 3250 songs); 1 audiocassette recording of Mack Masters’ performance at the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1976; 2 audiocassette recordings of music and a mummer’s play performed at the St. John’s Folk Club during Christmas 1977; 1 audio reel copy of Oh, Newfoundland is a Wide Plantation: the Story of Irish Settlements in Newfoundland, an episode in a series of Newfoundland School Broadcasts produced by Patrick Treacher, written and hosted by Aidan O’Hara; 24 col. photonegatives, 35 mm; 7 photocopied pocket songsters, six of Johnny Burke and one from Cape Breton; manuscript of a lecture on treason songs; 2 audio cassettes and 2 cm of correspondence related to a request for folksongs published in the St. John’s Evening Telegram in 1978.

Fonds also contains materials Goldstein created and/or used in his teaching, research and public lectures. They include 83 audiocassette copies of Oral Traditions of Britain and Ireland, a series of commercial recordings issued by the Centre for Oral Traditions in England in 1975; 6 audiocassette copies of Grass Roots: An Oral History of the American People, a series of commercial recordings issued by the Visual Education Corporation of Princeton, New Jersey in 1976; 1 audiocassette recording of a lecture on her Newfoundland song-collecting experiences given by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf at the University of Rhode Island in 1969; 1 poster.

Fonds is arranged into the following series: 1. Field sound recordings and commercial sound recordings 2. Printed materials, lectures and notes 3. Correspondence 4. Photographs.


Material in MUNFLA is available primarily for research and has copyright protection. It may not be published in any form without first obtaining permission from the copyright holders.


A finding aid to the field sound recordings listing song titles and names of informants is available. Some biographical information is available through MUNFLA forms completed for each informant.


Sound recordings available as audio cassette reference copies




Wilfred Wareham fonds and Diane Goldstein fonds


Title based on contents of fonds.


Department of Folklore

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000