Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Kenneth S. Goldstein

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Nationality  USA
Died  1995
Spouse(s)  Rochelle Judith Korn
Born  1927Brooklyn, NY
Occupation  Folklorist, Professor, Author, Publisher, Music Producer, Archivist
Board member of  Chair, Dept of Folklore and Folklife, University of Pennsylvania
Children  Rhoda, Diane, Michael, Scott, Jah Levi
Awards  Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching
Books  Folk Literature Series: A Folklore, Recitations & Monologues, Folk Legend and Personal Experience Narrative
Institution  University of Pennsylvania
People also search for  Roger D. Abrahams, Catherine Smaggs

Kenneth s goldstein folk alliance international lifetime achievement award 2006

Kenneth S. Goldstein, PhD (1927–1995) was a prominent American folklorist, educator, record producer, and a prime mover in the 1960s American Folk Music Revival.



Goldstein was the chair of the Department of Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania for nearly 20 years.

Goldstein produced and edited music for Stinson Records, Folkways Records, Bluesville Records, Prestige Records and Riverside Records in the 1950s and 1960s and was deeply involved with many productions for the Smithsonian Institution.

After co-founding the Philadelphia Folk Festival (the longest-running outdoor music festival in the US) in the early 1960s, he served as the festival's program director for 15 years.

He discovered and produced a plethora of great musicians and songwriters and worked closely with many top producers and record labels. He worked at the Library of Congress with Alan Lomax and with Moses Asch on Folkways Records.

He produced and recorded over 800 recordings for 11 record companies, including recordings by Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd, Jean Ritchie, Reverend Gary Davis, Sara Cleveland, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. Some of these were definitive moments in the histories of their respective genres. The Clancy Brothers' albums started a revolution in Irish music, introducing the guitar and the "ballad-group" sound into mainstream Irish folk music.

The albums he recorded for Reverend Gary Davis, Lightnin' Hopkins, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Lead Belly, and other blues pioneers had a similarly profound effect on American blues and rock and roll. His recordings of MacColl and Lloyd were among the first English and Scottish albums ever recorded in the US and they opened up a vast new market that transformed the folk scene.

Within the American and Canadian revivals, Goldstein gave many people their first opportunities to record. Goldstein also collected literature about folklore and rare recordings of folk music. In addition, he collected street literature: the broadsides, chapbooks and songsters on which folksongs, rhymes, artwork, and other treasures of poor people's culture were published for centuries in Britain, Ireland, Canada and the US. Several libraries in the US and Canada have given space to house parts of his collections for the use of future scholars.

In 1967 Goldstein received the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching and became chair of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Folklore and Folklife.

During the 1970's Goldstein was a special assistant to the Smithsonian Institution and served on the Advisory and Review Panel for the Folk Arts Program of the National Endowment for the Arts. During the 1980's and 1990s he served on the Pennsylvania governor's Heritage Affairs Commission and in 1988 he was an adviser to the Australian National Folk Trust. In 1985 he also became chair of the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate Program in Social Gerontology.

The American Folklore Society has created a scholarship fund in his honor, The Kenneth Goldstein Award for Lifetime Academic Leadership:

Publishing and Recordings

Goldstein’s his first book: A Guide for Fieldworkers in Folklore (1964), has been widely translated and has remained the standard text on its subject for decades.

In 1960, Goldstein started a publishing company to make out-of-print classics of folklore scholarship available to new generations of scholars. Goldstein authored and edited seven books and published thirty academic articles on different kinds of folklore, including such diverse material as folk art, riddles, children's games, and bawdy monologues.

He was executive editor and president of Folklore Associates from 1960 to 1969 and later worked for Breakwater Books, Folklorica, Inc. and Pastime Books, where he became editor and president in 1982.

Goldstein’s collection of books and records is now housed at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture in Oxford, Mississippi and his collection of American broadsides and country-western folios is housed at the Middle Tennessee State University Center for Popular Music in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

A book about Goldstein's contributions to the field of folklore was written by 20 experts in the field, titled Fields of Folklore: Essays in Honor of Kenneth Goldstein, edited by Roger Abrahams, Trickster Press, 1995.


Goldstein earned bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration from the City College of New York. He earned the first PhD in folklore awarded by the University of Philadelphia in 1963 and went on to teach and serve as chair of the Department of Folklore and Folklife there for nearly 20 years. He also served in the Army in the 1940s.


Goldstein was born to Tillie Horowitz from Rega, Latvia and Irving Martin Goldstein from London, England. He married Rochelle Judith Korn in 1949. She was a partner in his work and together they had five children: Rhoda, Diane Goldstein (a prominent folk music academic in her own right), Michael, Scott, and Jah Levi (musician, producer and musicologist).


Kenneth S. Goldstein Wikipedia