The James Madison Carpenter Collection of Traditional Song and Drama

This essay describes the folklore collection of James Madison Carpenter (1888-1983), who gathered an extensive body of folk songs and mummers’ plays in the United States and particularly in England and Scotland from 1928-35. The essay illustrates the interest of some of these items, including the ballads and the previously little-studied “dreg songs” of Scottish oyster fishers. It also outlines the Carpenter Collection Project to publish the collection in a critical edition.