Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

Stories from the Anne Grimes Collection of American Folk Music

By Anne Grimes

Stories from the Anne Grimes Collection is an excellent introduction to Grimes’s fieldwork as well as a tribute to some wonderful and diverse singers from the Buckeye State who have contributed to a facet of culture which this country prides itself on: American folk music.”

Appalachian Journal

“I love this book. It captures Anne Grimes’ spirit and presents her work in a way she would have been proud of; not surprisingly, since her children who have assembled it were engaged in her work. The body of materials presented here includes a wide variety of folksong materials from a number of different traditions, and will be of interest to scholars, collectors, performers, and students of Ohio history and culture. The photographs provide an extremely valuable complement to the descriptive text and song lyrics.”

Timothy Lloyd, Executive Director, American Folklore Society

“Anne Grimes was, quite obviously, a dynamo.… This book is a treasure.”

Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association

"Anne's work lives on. What a wonderful book this is. I'm proud to be a part of it."

Pete Seeger

Stories from the Anne Grimes Collection of American Folk Music is a treasury of American traditional music and Ohio’s folklife heritage.

Traveling along the highways and byways of Ohio in the 1950s as a folksinger and collector of traditional music, Anne Grimes encountered people from many different backgrounds who opened up their homes to her to share their most precious family heirlooms—their songs. She recorded these treasures for posterity and further preserved them through her lectures and recitals.

After years of performance and research on her material, Anne Grimes decided to write about it all. This beautiful book presents her lively portraits of the major contributors with photographs taken by her husband, James W. Grimes; lyrics and extensive notes on the songs; and a CD sampler that includes performances by her contributors, most of whom had not been previously recorded. It also contains selections from Bob Gibson, Carl Sandburg, Pete Seeger, Jenny Wells Vincent, as well as Grimes herself. The Anne Grimes Collection is preserved in the Library of Congress.

Besides songs, Anne Grimes also collected dulcimers, and portraits of these folk instruments and their players—including Anne Grimes herself—are featured throughout the book and on the CD. Photographsinclude some of the forty-two rare vintage dulcimers and other instruments collected by Anne Grimes that are now preserved at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution.

Songs and Dulcimer Playing
CD Selections from the Anne Grimes Collection:
Reuben Allen, Bertha Bacon, Sarah Basham/Bertha Basham Wright, Henry Lawrence Beecher, John Bodiker, Dolleah Church, Walter W. Dixon, Ken Ward, Blanche Wilson Fullen, Bob Gibson, Brodie F. Halley, Perry Harper, Anne Grimes, Donald Langstaff, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, W.E. Lunsford, Jane Jones McNerlin, May Kennedy McCord, Jenny Wells Vincent, Pete Seeger, Neva Randolph, Babe Reno/Arbannah Reno, Branch Rickey, Carl Sandburg, Bessie Weinrich, Faye Wemmer, Okey Wood

Anne Grimes, Ohio folksinger and scholar, died at the age of ninety-one in 2004 while working on this book. A classically trained musician who served as music and dance critic for the Columbus Citizen in Columbus, Ohio, before embarking on her career in folk music, she recorded on Folkways, performed at national folk festivals, and served as president of the Ohio Folklore Society. The book was edited by her daughters, Sara Grimes, Jennifer Grimes Kay, Mary Grimes, and Mindy Grimes.

Photo: Kimberly Barth/Elyria Chronicle Telegram
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Retail price: $34.95, S.
Release date: June 2010
200 pages · 7 × 10 in.
Rights:  World

Retail price: $59.95, S.
Release date: June 2010
200 pages · 7 × 10 in.
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for Stories from the Anne Grimes Collection of American Folk Music

“Every lover of folk music owes Anne Grimes and her daughters an incalculable debt…. Most of the text of the book consists of first-hand descriptions of many of her informants, their lives and worlds, and their music. It makes wonderful reading, and demonstrates the richness that has been added to our knowledge of folk music as collecting has moved from text to context…. dulcimer lovers, you must get this book and its accompanying record. Get it today!”

Dulcimer Player’s News

“The book and CD are a rich collection of stories by Grimes and the songs of (mostly) her Ohio neighbors, a vivid indication that ballad collecting could lead to such a rich trove in a northern state in the mid-20th Century.”

Sing Out!

“Those interested in the history of American folk music and the history of Ohio will find the volume a rich source of information.”


“The ways in which (Anne Grimes) describes her fieldwork experiences and relationships with her contributors reveal her sensitive, caring nature as well as her emotional investment in the music itself…. This book is evidence that such a personal identification can lead to a lifetime of outstanding and irreplaceable ethnographic work.”

Journal of Folklore Research

“Among the great pioneers of folklore and song collecting in the United States, it is easy to overlook more modest folks who captured the lore of their native regions, stalwarts like Ruby Pickens Tartt in Alabama, Max Hunter and Mary C. Parler in the Ozarks, Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin in California, Mary Elizabeth Barnicle in Appalachia, Alta and Austin Fife in Utah. Add to them now another whose wisdom, whose foresight, whose love of the ‘old songs’ enriches our times with this first publication of Anne Grimes’s treasures from Ohio.”

Ed Cray, author of The Erotic Muse: American Bawdy Songs

“If Ohio’s place in folksong is near to your heart, Stories from the Anne Grimes Collection of American Folk Music will bring you hours of pleasure. If you are a scholar of rare songs or a seeker of ballads, this well-documented resource can steer you to more gems in your own backyard.”

WVXU, Cincinnati NPR

“Perhaps no one has done more to protect and preserve Ohio’s rich history of folk music than former Upper Arlington resident Anne Grimes.”

Upper Arlington News

“My experience in reading and hearing these words was like stepping into a time machine and traveling back to the mid-1900s to drop in for a relaxing afternoon with friends. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

Dan Landrum, Dulcimer Players News, “Editor's Letter”

"Anne Grimes’ book opens up a remarkable new frontier in our ongoing efforts to understand and reclaim the dulcimer’s lost history. Her successful search for both old dulcimers and traditional players in Ohio, where other researchers had scarcely bothered to look, has added a surprising and highly important chapter to the dulcimer’s fascinating story."

Ralph Lee Smith, author of Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions

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