The heart of the George Boswell collection consists of transcriptions of 1200 folk songs and ballads collected throughout Middle Tennessee between 1948 and 1952. A Nashville native, Boswell earned a B.A. and M.A. from Vanderbilt University. While attending George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Boswell began collecting folk songs in conjunction with his doctoral research. His efforts produced some 800 songs from country and city folk alike, to amass what is regarded as a major anthology of Tennessee folk songs. In 1997 noted music scholar, Dr. Charles K. Wolfe edited and annotated Boswell's fieldwork. The resulting volume, Folk Songs of MiddleTennessee: The George Boswell Collection, brings together for the first time those tunes most representative of the folk traditions of the region.
After completing his Ph.D. in 1951, George Boswell taught English at Austin Peay State University (Clarksville, Tennessee), Morehead State University (Kentucky) and the University of Mississippi in Oxford. In 1989 Professor Boswell retired from teaching. He died on March 22, 1995 in Oxford, Mississippi.
Boswell also wrote prolifically and served for many years as the president of the Tennessee Folklore Society. Personal papers, commercial sheet music, choral arrangements, and student research papers round out this collection and are housed at Vanderbilt's Special Collections and University Archives.
View a selection of songs from the Boswell Papers
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