Francis James Child and the Child Ballads: Part I – Essays on Mythic Fiction & Art –

“. . . In addition, Child was instrumental in establishing the American Folklore Society, serving as its first president from 1888 to 1889. But sadly, Child did not live to see that movement flower in subsequent years, and he died doubting his work had relevance to a modern age. “If he’d lived just a little longer,” says Mark F. Heiman of Loomis House, which published a handsome new edition of The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, “he would have seen the golden age of the ballad collector and folklorist. He would have seen how important his life’s work really was.”

Cecil SharpChild’s work went on to inspire a whole new generation of folklorists, men and women who weren’t quite so convinced that the oral tradition was irretrievably dead and gone. One of them was Cecil Sharp, who began collecting English folk songs and dance tunes in the early years of the twentieth century. Sharp was a trained musician, and unlike Child he was also interested in preserving the music of the ballad tradition rather than viewing ballads primarily as poetry. He noted that the Child ballads were rarely part of the repertoire of the elderly singers he listened to in the countryside; they’d been replaced by broadside ballads and other more recent songs. Sharp wondered if the older ballads might have survived among the British and Scottish settlers in America, particularly among the descendants of settlers in isolated mountain regions, where “pennysheets” of modern ballads would not have been available. Between 1914 and 1918, Sharp made two extensive trips through the Appalachian Mountains, collecting over a thousand songs with the aid of his secretary, Maud Karpeles. Sharp and Karpeles discovered that many of the Child ballads were indeed still known and performed in Appalachia, although sometimes the titles and lyrics had changed somewhat in this new setting. Sharp published these ballads in his now-classic English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, which in turn inspired new folklore studies and new collection efforts throughout the United States.”

Barbara Ruth, it was great talk with you the other evening. Francis James Child came before Cecil Sharp, and was from Boston, then a Professor of English Literature at Harvard. He was not trained as a musician, and was interested in the old songs mostly as representations of traditional poetry. Sharp was a musician, and he collected the melodies, including the variants he found. Both men were giants in the Anglo-American folk music and dance revival. Child was the pioneer. Sharp was the talented disciple, who honored and surpassed his teacher.

Source: Francis James Child and the Child Ballads: Part I – Essays on Mythic Fiction & Art

Something Old, Something New: Tradition Explained [Video] from

“You may have heard people say you need “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” for your wedding day. In fact, this little sayingditty has inspired one of the most popular traditions around. Many brides who don’t follow other wedding conventions will make an effort to add something old and something new to their bridal ensemble, along with something borrowed and something blue. But what is the something old, something new meaning? Where did this rhyme come from?

The History of Something Old, Something New

The famous wedding recipe derives from the Old English rhyme, “Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe”—which names the four good-luck objects (plus a sixpence) a bride should include somewhere in her wedding outfit or carry with her on her wedding day. According to Reader’s Digest, the rhyme came about in the Victorian era from Lancashire, a county in England. Most of the ingredients in the rhyme are meant to ward off the Evil Eye, which, according to Reader’s Digest, was “a curse passed through a malicious glare that could make a bride infertile.” “

Source: Something Old, Something New: Tradition Explained [Video]