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Anna Kearney Guigne. Maud Karpeles (1885-1976): A Retrospective of Her Newfoundland Fieldwork 1929, 1930.

Anna Kearney Guigne. Maud Karpeles (1885-1976): A Retrospective of Her Newfoundland Fieldwork 1929, 1930. (St. John's, NL: 2012, Research Centre for Music Media and Place, Memorial University in association with the International Council for Traditional Music. Pp. 18.

Maud Karpeles (1885-1976): A Retrospective of Her Newfoundland Fieldwork 1929, 1930 documents Maud Karpeles' Newfoundland folksong collection trips in 1929 and 1930. Karpeles was mentored by Cecil Sharp and notably wrote his biography. She was well respected in her own right, receiving the Order of the British Empire, as well as an honorary doctorate from Memorial University. This book accompanied an exhibit by the same title that coincided with a conference held by the International Council for Traditional Music in St. John's, Newfoundland in 2011. The book draws extensively on archival holdings, including field journals from the Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive.

The text is written by Anna Kearney Guigne, who has extensive knowledge of the history of folksong collection in Newfoundland (see Guigne 2008), and this is clear throughout this well-researched and accessible publication. My only reservation about the book is an aesthetic one. In an attempt to give an archival feel to the publication, there are layered texts and a number of contrasting colours and images. This detracts from the text at times, but no doubt tied into a very effective display; unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to see the exhibit that this small book was originally designed to accompany.

This book could be used in a variety of ways; in preparation for comprehensive exams, as a primer or entry point into the history of ballad scholarship in Newfoundland, or even in secondary school to help facilitate discussion of local history and culture. This book also contributes to the growing body of work which documents women's contributions to the collection and study of folklore in Atlantic Canada, making it appropriate for use in undergraduate Newfoundland Folklore classes or Atlantic Canadian Folklore courses, or as a prompt for discussion in a Gender and Women's Studies Course.

This book is a great example of the potential for folklore outreach activities and a good representative of the "knowledge mobilization" strategies that folklorists can make use of given the often ephemeral nature of our research. The archival pictures highlighted within the book are fascinating in and of themselves. Consequently, the book could also be used as a primer for advanced projects in archival courses, digital humanities, museum studies, or public folklore to illustrate potential ways to increase access to archival research.

Jodi McDavid

Cape Breton University


Guigne, Anna Kearney. 2008. Folksongs and Folk Revival: The Cultural Politics of Kenneth Peacock's Songs of the Newfoundland Outports. St. John's, NL: ISER Books.

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Author:McDavid, Jodi
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2014
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