Club 47: an historical ethnography of a folk-revival venue in North America, 1958-1968

Rahn, Mildred L. (1993) Club 47: an historical ethnography of a folk-revival venue in North America, 1958-1968. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF (Migrated (PDF/A Conversion) from original format: (application/pdf)) - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (37Mb)
  • [img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
    (Original Version)

Abstract

This thesis presents an historical ethnography of Club 47, a significant cultural icon of the folk music revival in the United States in the late 1950s and 1960s. Club 47 existed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1958 to 1968 and was the best-known coffeehouse in New England. -- Club 47 was instrumental in helping to create a community and a market for commercial folk music by serving as both the principal breeding ground for new talent in the area, and as the showcase for the best performers and the many genres that the folksong revival had to offer. -- While it was the music aspect of the club that was best known, performers and audiences came together at the 47 as much for its social organization as for its music. A critical factor that distinguished Club 47 from other revival venues was its membership policy, instituted upon its incorporation as a nonprofit educational organization, which led to its communal ownership and governance. Throughout its evolution, Club 47 both influenced and reflected musical and social developments locally, regionally, and nationally, including the revival's eventual integration into mainstream musical forms and the 1960s counterculture. -- As a contribution to the field of folkloristics, this thesis considers the music culture of one group of people over a 10-year period and approaches Club 47 from its grassroots as a field work-based history. I seek to contextualize and synthesize the experiences and observations of the scene's diverse participants within the scholarly purviews of folksong and folk custom, as well as within folksong-revival and New England sociocultural history. -- My findings suggest that the revival helped to usher in a new American cultural period and, through appeals to tradition, functioned as social sanction for breaking old patterns and creating newer ones. As part of a cultural transformation, Club 47 participants, like their folksong revival counterparts in other scenes, were creators and innovators of new musical texts. These texts, when approved as art forms, alluded to continuity with the past and utilized the materials of the present to preserve and transmit their creations into ever-widening circles.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/854
Item ID: 854
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 250-280
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 1993
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: United States--Massachusetts--Cambridge
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Club 47 (Cambridge, Mass.); Folk music--Massachusetts--Cambridge--History and criticism; Coffeehouses--Massachusetts--Cambridge

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics