helen hartness flanders


Helen Hartness Flanders

Song Catcher

1890 - 1972

Traditional folk ballads were not written down but were verbally passed down from generation to generation. Many of these melodies had their roots in medieval England and Europe but over the years, the stories they told were adapted for real people in a different time and place. In a time when these ballads were in danger of being lost forever, Helen Hartness Flanders knew she had a huge task ahead of her.

From 1930 to 1960 Mrs. Flanders traveled throughout the backroads of Vermont and New England to capture the sounds, songs and voices or our ancestors. Over those years she recorded, transcribed and collected the more than 9,000 songs that are the foundation of the Helen Hartness Flanders Ballad Collection at Middlebury College. Find out more about this remarkable woman by visiting the links on the left.