Helen Stratman Thomas Collection

Helene Stratman-Thomas Collection

“Kan du Glemme Gamle Norge” by Psalmodikon Quartet

Link to Helene Stratman-Thomas Collection page

Mills Music Library, Wisconsin Archives
University of Wisconsin-Madison
728 State Street
Madison, WI 53706

In the summers of 1940, 1941, and 1946, Helene Stratman-Thomas (1896-1973), a faculty member in the University of Wisconsin’s School of Music, traveled Wisconsin recording folk songs and tunes for the Archive of American Folksong (now the Archive of Folk Culture) at the Library of Congress.  Assisted by student audio engineers who operated a bulky disc-cutting machine, she visited 41 Wisconsin counties where more than 150 individual and group performers–representing over 30 European, Native, and African American traditions in nearly as many languages–regaled her with more than 700 songs and tunes.  Among them were 51 Norwegian performances, including vocals and  instrumentals–played on hardanger fiddle, psalmodikon, the psalmodikon-derived Viking cello, and piano accordion–by Alice Everson of Blair, Mrs. Vaughn Garfoot of Verona, Brithe Lothe of Milltown, the Psalmodikon Quartet of McFarland, Dagny Veum Quisling of Madison, Iva and Otto Rindlisbacher of Rice Lake, and Has Waag of Stevens Point.  The Mills Music Library holds the recordings, correspondence, field notes, and related papers of Stratman-Thomas.  Its searchable Helene Stratman-Thomas Collection website includes sound files of all her field recordings, complemented by photographs of some performers.