American Ballads and Songs

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ballads in America; and he has done much to stimulate collection and study in many parts of the country. Something in the way of preservation has also been contributed by historians, though the pieces having chief interest for historians are, from the nature of things, transient. They are likely to be of the political or chronicle type, rather than of general human interest.
On the whole, the wish to gather and preserve popular song may be viewed as accompanying or growing out of the trend toward democracy. It parallels for literary history the change taking place in the history of society in general. Since the eighteenth century the attention of political thinkers has descended through the various strata of society until the lowest strata are now in the foreground of interest. It has often been pointed out that contemporary historians endeavor to chronicle the common man as well as the hero. The lowly may now serve as central characters in fiction and drama which were once concerned solely with pa­tricians. Similarly, the interest of literary historians and of students and readers has extended downward from the masterpiece till it embraces the humble and unrecorded literature of the folk.
Texts of oral literature in America have been avail­able hitherto mostly in scattered places. Perhaps the widest ranging and completest available repository of such songs and ballads is Mrs. Campbell's and Cecil J. Sharp's English Folk Songs from the Southern Ap­palachians (1917). Tunes as well as texts are entered in this collection, and the same is true of the smaller Folk Songs of the Kentucky Mountains (1917) of Josephine McGill, and Lonesome Tunes by Loraine Wyman and Howard Brockway (1916). Western cowboy songs, both oral verse and book verse, were collected and published in two volumes by John A. Lomax, Cowboy Songs (1914) and Songs of the Cow