Languages and Folklore of the Upper Midwest: The CSUMC Monograph Series
Joseph Salmons and James P. Leary, Series Editors, University of Wisconsin Press
The CSUMC Series on Languages and Folklore of the Upper Midwest includes monographs and documentary compact discs that focus on the lives, languages, and cultural traditions/folklore of the Upper Midwest’s diverse peoples, both historical and contemporary. Recognizing the interdisciplinary nature of our series, the editors seek and welcome manuscripts by scholars from various disciplines with innovative perspectives and topics, as well as a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches.
Books can be ordered through University of Wisconsin Press.
Remlinger, K. A. Yooper Talk: Dialect As Identity in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. University of Wisconsin Press, 2019.
Yooper Talk is a fresh and significant contribution to understanding regional language and culture in North America. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan—known as “the UP”—is historically, geographically, and culturally distinct. Struggles over land, labor, and language during the last 150 years have shaped the variety of English spoken by resident Yoopers, as well as how they are viewed by outsiders.
Drawing on sixteen years of fieldwork, including interviews with seventy-five lifelong residents of the UP, Kathryn Remlinger examines how the idea of a unique Yooper dialect emerged. Considering UP English in relation to other regional dialects and their speakers, she looks at local identity, literacy practices, media representations, language attitudes, notions of authenticity, economic factors, tourism, and contact with immigrant and Native American languages. The book also explores how a dialect becomes a recognizable and valuable commodity: Yooper talk (or “Yoopanese”) is emblazoned on t-shirts, flags, postcards, coffee mugs, and bumper stickers.
Yooper Talk explains linguistic concepts with entertaining examples for general readers and also contributes to interdisciplinary discussions of dialect and identity in sociolinguistics, anthropology, dialectology, and folklore.
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America’s Upper Midwest is a distinctive region where many indigenous and immigrant peoples have maintained, merged, and modified their folk song traditions for more than two centuries. In the 1930s and 1940s, Sidney Robertson, Alan Lomax, and Helene Stratman-Thomas—with support from the Library of Congress and armed with bulky microphones, blank disks, spare needles, and cumbersome disk-cutting machines—recorded roughly 2,000 songs and tunes throughout Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Spanning dance tunes, ballads, lyric songs, hymns, laments, versified taunts, political anthems, street cries, and recitations, these field recordings—made by people born before or shortly after 1900—were captured at a transformative moment when America was in the throes of the Great Depression, World War II was erupting, and market-driven mass entertainment media were expanding rapidly. Yet, except for a handful of Anglo-American performances, these remarkable field recordings in more than twenty-five languages have remained largely unknown, along with the lives of their mostly immigrant, indigenous, rural, and working-class performers.
Order this book from UW Press. You may also explore the featured Digital Collections database.
Rickaby (Editor), F., J. Leary (Co-editor), and G. Dykstra (Co-editor). Pinery Boys: Songs and Songcatching in the Lumberjack Era. University of Wisconsin Press, 2017.
As the heyday of the lumber camps faded, a young scholar named Franz Rickaby set out to find songs from shanty boys, river drivers, and sawmill hands in the Upper Midwest. Traveling mostly on foot with a fiddle slung over his shoulder, Rickaby fell into easy conversation with the men, collecting not just the words of songs, but the tunes, making careful notes about his informants and their performances. Shortly before his groundbreaking and much-praised Ballads and Songs of the Shanty Boy was published in 1926, Rickaby died, leaving later folklorists, cultural historians, and folksong enthusiasts with little knowledge of his life and other unpublished research.
Pinery Boys now incorporates, commemorates, contextualizes, and complements Rickaby’s early work. It includes an introduction and annotations throughout by eminent folklore scholar James P. Leary and an engaging, impressively researched biography by Rickaby’s granddaughter Gretchen Dykstra. Central to this edition are Rickaby’s own introduction and the original fifty-one songs that he published—including “Jack Haggerty’s Flat River Girl,” “The Little Brown Bulls,” “Ole from Norway,” “The Red Iron Ore,” and “Morrissey and the Russian Sailor”—plus fourteen additional songs selected to represent the varied collecting Rickaby did beyond the lumber camps.
Supplemented by historical photographs, Pinery Boys fully reveals Franz Rickaby as a visionary artist and scholar and provides glimpses into the past lives of woods poets and singers.
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March, R. The Tamburitza Tradition: From the Balkans to the American Midwest. University of Wisconsin Press, 2013.
The Tamburitza Tradition is a lively and well-illustrated comprehensive introduction to a Balkan folk music that now also thrives in communities throughout Europe, the Americas, and Australia. Folklorist Richard March documents the centuries-old origins and development of the tradition,which features acoustic stringed instruments ranging in size from tamburas as small as a ukulele to ones as large as a bass viol.
Special to the CSUMC website: Notes from the author and a gallery of supplemental images.
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Salmons (Co-editor), J., E. Raimy (Co-editor), and T. Purnell (Co-editor). Wisconsin Talk: Linguistic Diversity in the Badger State. University of Wisconsin Press, 2013.
Wisconsin Talk brings together perspectives from linguistics, history, cultural studies, and geography to illuminate why language matters in our everyday lives, with a focus on Wisconsin, one of the most linguistically rich places in North America.
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“For Finnish-American musicians, or Finnish Americans interested in their own cultural heritage, this work is of generational importance. For English-language scholars interested in Finnish, Finnish-American, or Upper Midwestern musical traditions, this work is of similarly outstanding value.”
Songs of the Finnish Migration presents music, lyrics, and chords for more than eighty Finnish-language immigrant songs, alongside singable English translations and detailed notes on Finnish migration history and music making in the New World. At times boisterous and confident, wry and irreverent, or impassioned and sorrowful, Finnish immigrant songs provide a vivid and imaginative portrayal of the momentous process of migration that forever changed Finnish and Finnish American society.
The current volume expands upon Simo Westerholm’s 1983 groundbreaking collection Reisaavaisen laulu Amerikkaan: Siirtolaislauluja, which drew from archival sources, manuscripts, sound recordings, and a wide array of published songbooks to recover the musical culture of the more than 300,000 Finnish immigrants who traveled to North America to try their luck in the New World.
Shaw, A. M. Ole Hendricks and His Tunebook: Folk Music and Community on the Frontier. University of Wisconsin Press.
“The story of Ole Hendricks provides a valuable and grounded glimpse of music and social life in rural America in the nineteenth century, bringing into focus the long-overlooked importance of commonplace books—that is, handwritten music notebooks—in the performance and preservation of traditional music.”
Ole Hendricks was an immigrant both representative and exceptional—a true artistic talent who nevertheless lived a familiar immigrant experience. By day, he was a farmer. But at night, his fiddle lit up dance halls, bringing together all manner of neighbors in rural Minnesota. Each tune in his repertoire of waltzes, reels, polkas, quadrilles, and more were copied neatly into his commonplace book.
Such tunebooks, popular during the nineteenth century, rarely survive and are often overlooked by folk scholars in favor of commercially produced recordings, published sheet music, or oral tradition. Based on extensive historical and genealogical research, Amy Shaw presents a grounded picture of a musician, his family, and his community in the Upper Midwest, revealing much about music and dance in the area. This notable contribution to regional music and folklore includes more than one hundred of Ole’s dance tunes, transcribed into modern musical notation for the first time. Ole Hendricks and His Tunebook will be valuable to readers and scholars interested in ethnomusicology and the Norwegian American immigrant experience.
is a musician, archivist, and the head of archives and special collections at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota.