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Finding Aids to Individual Collections in the Archive of Folk Culture


AFC 2000/019

Compiled by Valda Morris-Slack
Library of Congress
American Folklife Center
December 2003

Collection Summary

Call No: AFC 2000/019
Creator: Dunaway, David King, 1948
Title: The David Dunaway/Pete Seeger Interviews Collection
Dates: 1976-1983
Contents: 4 boxes, 2 linear feet, 975 items (945 manuscripts, 30 sound recordings [audiocassettes]).
Repository: Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Summary: The David Dunaway / Pete Seeger Interviews Collection contains sound-recorded interviews conducted by David Dunaway with folk music performer Pete Seeger from 1976 to 1983. The accompanying manuscript materials include approximate transcriptions of the interviews.

Collection Concordance by Format

Quantity Physical Description Version Location Container Count
Manuscript Materials
17 Folders Originals AFC Box 1-2
Sound Recordings
30 audiocassettes Originals AFC Box 3-4
11 60-minute audiocassettes Box 3
6 90-minute audiocassettes Box 3
4 60- minute audiocassettes Box 4
9 90-minute audiocassettes Box4
30 audiocassettes Reference AFC SR01-30
15 60-minute audiocassettes

15 90-minute audiocassettes

Administrative Information

The American Folklife Center purchased the collection from David Dunaway in February 2000, after nine years of negotiation. Joseph C. Hickerson, and later David Taylor, represented the Center as Head of Acquisitions. Prior to 2000, Dunaway maintained sole possession of the recordings at his residence. These recordings and others in his collection were made available to scholarly researchers and folk musicians. Dunaway himself used the Pete Seeger recordings to write his 1981 biography of Seeger, How Can I Keep from Singing: Pete Seeger (McGraw Hill, 1981). In the early 1990s, fearing that his collection materials were deteriorating, Dunaway began to contact likely archives about purchasing the collection. As part of the acquisitions negotiations for the Center, Dunaway was responsible for transcribing the Pete Seeger interviews, which were transcribed by his students at the University of California at Berkeley and his colleague, the oral historian W. K. Baum.

Processing History:
Alex Sheriff initially processed the collection in the summer of 2002. He rehoused the manuscript materials, then arranged them in chronological order, and made reference copies of the sound recordings. In December 2002, Rosemary Graham and Valda Morris-Slack began preliminary work on the collection guide. The guide was completed by Valda Morris-Slack in December 2003.

The collection can be requested at The Folklife Reading Room.

Access to the collection is unrestricted. See reference personnel in Folklife Reading Room.

Prior to the collection's arrival at the Library, Pete Seeger requested that his materials be sealed for a number of years. The transcripts and tapes became unrestricted in 1996. Restrictions may apply concerning the use, duplication, or publication of items in this collection. Consult a reference librarian in the Folklife Reading Room for specific information.

Related Collections:
AFC 1996/076: Bill Moyers' Journal / Pete Seeger Videotape Collection. The collection contains an interview with Pete Seeger by Bill Moyers on the "Bill Moyers' Journal" TV program, 5/20/94. Other related collections with Pete Seeger can be accessed at the Folklife Reading Room, and the Performing Arts Reading Room. They include sound recordings and interviews with the Seeger family.

Preferred Citation:
Researchers wishing to use information from the collection should use the following format and cite the following information:
The David Dunaway/Pete Seeger Interviews Collection, Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

The Collector

David Dunaway was born on October 3, 1948, in New York City, New York. He is the son of Phillip and Lillian Dunaway who were both scholars of the arts. His father was a writer and his mother a teacher.

In 1971, David Dunaway worked as a radio producer at a radio station, KPFA, while attending graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. He and Susan Kernes hosted a weekly radio program that was called “Sing Out!.” In this medium Dunaway produced many programs about folk music, every Thursday afternoon, and its history. He aired segments on Pete Seeger, rare recordings of Bob Dylan, world folk music, and many other topics. Dunaway’s early experiences at KPFA provided him the basis for later successes as a prize-winning radio producer specializing in historical and literary documentaries. He has won many awards including The Berkeley Folklore Prize, University of California, 1976; The Deems Taylor Award, American Society of Composers , Authors and Publishers, 1982; The National Association of Broadcasters’, The American Legion Auxiliary and the Associated Pres; and most recently an Annual Unity Award in Media, 2002.

Influenced by his keen interest in the arts, Dunaway also wrote for the New York Times, Mother Jones, and Country Music. During this period Dunaway began to establish himself as an oral historian, interviewing various folk musicians from across the United States and researching the mid-20th-century folk song revivals. In 2001, Dunaway produced a three-part documentary series titled Across the Tracks: A Route 66 Story.

David Dunaway received his Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, Dunaway is a professor at the University of Mexico, but his work as an oral historian has offered him the opportunity to lecture at universities in over a dozen countries. Dunaway is also the author of five volumes of history and biography which include Aldous Huxley Recollected: An Oral History. Rev. ed. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 1999, How Can I Keep From Singing: Pete Seeger. New York, NY.: Da Capa Press, 1990, 1981, Huxley in Hollywood. 1st Anchor Books ed. New York: Anchor Books, 1991, Oral history: An Interdisciplinary Anthology. David K. Dunaway, Willa K. Baum, editors. 2nd ed. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press. 1996, Writing the Southwest. David King Dunaway and Sara L. Spurgeon, editors. Rev. ed. Albuquerque: University of Mexico Press, 2003.


Biography Resource Center: Dunaway, David King. 2003-03-27. <>

California Thinkers: David Dunaway. 2003-03-27. <>

Dunaway, David King. 2003-03-27. <>

Writing in the Southwest: David K. Dunaway. 2003-03-27. <>

Key Subjects

Note: Subject terms marked by an asterisk do not conform to LC Subject and Authority Headings.
For additional organizations, institutions, performing groups, or individuals mentioned in some detail in the collection, see Appendix.

Blacklisting of authors
Blacklisting of entertainers
Clearwater (Sloop)
Composers’ Collective*
Cooperative societies
Folk music
Smithsonian / Folkways Recordings
Hootenany (TV show)*
Labor unions—Songs and music
McCarthy Era*
New Deal, 1933-1939
Newport Folk Festival
Seeger, Pete, 1919- --Childhood and youth
Seeger, Pete, 1919- --Education
Seeger, Pete, 1919- --Family
Seeger, Pete, 1919- --Friends and associates
Seeger, Pete, 1919- --Interviews
Seeger, Pete, 1919- --Knowledge and learning
Seeger, Pete, 1919- --Political activity
Seeger, Pete, 1919- --Political and social views
Seeger, Pete, 1919- --Songs and music
Political ballads and songs
Protest songs
Radicalism—Songs and music
Rainbow Room*
Riots—New York (State)--Peekskill
Sing Out! [Magazine]*
Working classes—Songs and music

Scope and Content Note

The David Dunaway/Pete Seeger Interviews Collection is a multi-format collection with eight hundred pages of transcripts and thirty sound recordings of ten interviews that document Pete Seeger’s life. This collection comprises one segment of approximately sixty-five interviews David Dunaway conducted beginning in 1976 as he sought to capture the essence of the folk music movements from the 1930s to the 1960s. Dunaway was an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley in 1976 when he began the interviews of a number of prominent figures, ranging from Moses Asch to Judy Collins. The information he assembled has been used extensively by folk musicians and researchers. Dunaway’s main objective, however, was to utilize the interviews as source material for his folk music program “Sing Out!,” a National Endowment for the Arts funded radio series called Pie in the Sky, and most importantly his biography of Pete Seeger, How Can I Keep From Singing (McGraw Hill, 1984).

On July 17, 1991, Joseph C. Hickerson, head of the Archive of Folk Culture, received correspondence from David Dunaway exploring the possibility of the Archive purchasing his collection. The collection was originally intended to be received in three phases. Over the years, however, as Dunaway did further work on the interviews, the content of these phases changed. Phase 1 contained eight hundred typed pages of transcripts and approximately thirty-six hours of accompanying tapes. Phase 2 was to include background materials such as correspondence between Pete and Charles Seeger, plus rare recordings, along with additional interviews and concert recordings Dunaway had collected since writing the biography. Phase 3 concentrated on the American folk music movements in the mid-20th century and, to some extent, Pete Seeger’s influence on these movements, as documented in interviews with Peggy and Mike Seeger, Earl Robinson, Malvina Reynolds, his managers Paul Endicott and Harold Leventhal, and others. Only preliminary discussions were made concerning the possible acquiring of Phases 2 and 3. Phase 1 contains the collection as it exists today at the Library of Congress.

In February of 2000, the collection arrived at the Library of Congress. In the interviews, Peter Seeger discusses, among other things, his “innocent” beginnings, his social affiliations, his musical career, and his family. Each transcript has a full table of contents identifying the topics covered and serving as a cross reference to the sound recordings. Both the transcripts and the tapes are identified by the date of the interview and the name of the interviewee and are arranged in chronological order.

Collection Inventory and Description


Box /Folder Title and Summary of Contents

Box 1  
Folder 1
Collection Guide (10 pages)
Hard copy and disc of the collection guide.
Folder 2
Accession Log (4 pages)
Hard copy of the accession log which gives a detailed description of the collection as it was being prepared for processing.
Folder 3
Administrative Correspondence (57 pages)
History of the Collection.
Folder 4
Administrative Correspondence (continuation of folder 3) (45 pages)
History of the Collection.
Folder 5
Transcript Interview, 1976-04-15 (33 pages)
Transcript of David Dunaway interviewing Pete Seeger for sound recordings SR01-SR02.
Folder 6
Transcript Interview, 1976-07-19 (20 pages)
Transcript of David Dunaway interviewing Pete Seeger. No Sound Recording.
Folder 7
Transcript Interview, 1976-10-06 (100 pages)
Transcript of David Dunaway interviewing Pete Seeger for sound recordings SR03-SR05.
Folder 8
Transcript Interview, 1977-01-22 (9 pages)
Transcript of David Dunaway interviewing Pete Seeger for sound recording SR06.
Folder 9 Transcript Interview, 1977-03-06 (90 pages)
Transcript of David Dunaway interviewing Pete Seeger for sound recordings SR07-SR11.
Folder 10 Transcript Interview, 1977-03-09 (75 pages)
Transcript of David Dunaway interviewing Pete Seeger for sound recordings SR12-SR14.
Folder 11 Transcript Interview, 1977-03-10 (57 pages)
Transcript of David Dunaway interviewing Pete Seeger for sound recordings SR15-SR18.
Folder 12 Transcript Interview, 1977-10-09 (30 pages)
Transcript of David Dunaway interviewing Pete Seeger for sound recording SR19.
Folder 13 Transcript Interview, 1977-12-14 (60 pages)
Transcript of David Dunaway interviewing Pete Seeger for sound recordings SR20-SR21.
Folder 14 Transcript Interview, 1977-12-15 (85 pages)
Transcript of David Dunaway interviewing Pete Seeger for sound recordings SR22-SR25.
Box 2  
Folder 17 Transcript Interview, 1978-08-08 (100 pages)
Transcript of David Dunaway interviewing Pete Seeger for sound recordings SR26
Folder 16 Transcript Interview Notes, 1979-07-15 (1 page)
Transcript of David Dunaway interviewing Pete Seeger for sound recording. No sound recording was found for transcript.
Folder 17 Transcript Interview, 1983-06-27 (34 pages)
Transcript of David Dunaway interviewing Pete Seeger for sound recordings SR29


Location #
Box 3
60-minute audiocassette
60-minute audiocassette
90-minute audiocassette
90-minute audiocassette
90-minute audiocassette
SR06 1977-01-12 90-minute audiocassette
SR07 1977-03-06 60-minute audiocassette
SR08 1977-03-06 90-minute audiocassette
SR09 1977-03-06 60-minute audiocassette
SR10 1977-03-06 60-minute audiocassette
SR11 1977-03-06 60 minute audiocassette
SR12 1977-03-09 60-minute audiocassette
SR13 1977-03-09 60-minute audiocassette
SR14 1977-03-09 90-minute audiocassette
SR15 1977-03-10 60-minute audiocassette
SR16 1977-03-10 60-minute audiocassette
SR17 1977-03-10 60-minute audiocassette
Box 4    
SR18 1977-03-10 60-minute audiocassette
SR19 1977-10-09 90-minute audiocassette
SR20 1977-12-14 90-minute audiocassette
SR21 1977-12-14 90-minute audiocassette
SR22 1977-12-15 90-minute audiocassette
SR23 1977-12-15 90-minute audiocassette
SR24 1977-12-15 90-minute audiocassette
SR25 1977-12-15 90-minute audiocassette
SR26 1978-08-08 60-minute audiocassette
SR27 1978-08-08 90-minute audiocassette
SR28 1978-08-08 60-minute audiocassette
SR29 1983-06-27 60-minute audiocassette
SR30 1983-06-27 90-minute audiocassette


Note: Names marked by an asterisk do not to conform to LC Subject and Authority Headings.

Organizations/Institutions/Performing Groups:
Almanac Singers
Archive of American Folk Song
American Federation of Labor
American Labor Party
American League Against War and Fascism
Americans for Loyalist Spain*
Avon Old Farms School.
Communist Party Club*
Harvard Student Union*
Harvard University
Industrial Workers of the World
Ku Klux Klan (1915- )
Labor Arts Group*
Peoples Artists, Inc.
People's Songs (Organization)
Pierre DeGeyter Club*
Spring Hill*
United States. Congress. House. Special Committee on Un-American Activities (1938-44)
United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation
Weavers (Musical group)

Personal names:
Asch, Moses, 1905-1986
Baez, Joan,1941-
Botkin, Benjamin Albert, 1901-1975
Boyden, David Dodge, 1910-1986
Browder, Earl, 1891-1973
Carmichael, Stokely, 1941-1998
Cassetta, Mario*
Copland, Aaron, 1900-[died 1900]
Cowell, Henry, 1897-1965
Cunningham, Sis, 1909-
DeLacy, Hugh, 1910-1986
Dyer-Bennet, Richard, 1913-1991
Dylan, Bob, 1941-
Eisler, Hanns, 1898-1962 [also known as Hans Eisler]
Endicott, Paul [also known as Paul Newman]
Fast, Howard, 1914-
Friesen, Gordon, 1909-1996
Geer, Will
Guthrie, Arlo, 1947-
Gilbert, Ronnie, 1926-
Guthrie, Woody, 1912-1967
Hall, Gus, 1910-2000
Haufrecht, Herbert, 1909-
Hawes, Bess Lomax, 1921-
Hays, Lee, 1914-1981
Jackson, Aunt Molly
Kameron, Pete*
Lampell, Millard, 1919-
Leadbelly, 1885-1949 [Also known as Ledbetter, Hudie]
Leventhal, Harold, 1919-
Lomax, Alan, 1915-[died 2002]
MacLeish, Ken, 1940-1997*
Matusow, Harvey, 1926- [Also known as Matt, Harvey]
North, Dan, 1941-*
Oberwager, Jerry*
Parks, Gordon, 1912-, photographer
Priest, Verne
Reynolds, Malvina, 1900-1978
Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976
Robinson, Earl, 1910-
Schwartz, Tony
Seeger, Charles, 1886-1979
Seeger, Carl Ludwig, 1763?-1848*
Seeger, Mike, 1933-
Seeger, Peggy, 1935-
Seeger, Pete, 1919- [also known as Pete Bowers]
Seeger, Ruth Crawford, 1901-1953
Seeger, Toshi
Silber, Irwin, 1925-
Walter, Jerry, arranger


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