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Michael and Carrie Nobel Kline Field Recordings Preserved by Berea College and CLIR

by Angel Rivera on 2021-02-01T08:00:00-05:00 in Folklore / Folktales / Storytelling, Oral Histories and Interviews, Special Collections & Archives, Berea Sound Archives, History, Hutchins Library | Comments

From Tim Binkley, Head of Special Collections and Archives:


Michael and Carrie Nobel Kline Field Recordings Preserved by Berea College and CLIR

In 2019-2020, Berea College Special Collections and Archives conducted a Recordings at Risk digitization project to preserve and provide online access to more than 700 audio and video recordings created by folklorists Michael and Carrie Nobel Kline. The focus of the project was to save field recordings made between 1994 and 2006 documenting families and communities in an area that stretches from Parkersburg, West Virginia to the coal region of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The resulting digital archive ( comprises a diverse selection of oral history interviews, personal reminiscences, historical presentations, music performances, and radio programs. These recordings document life experiences in neighborhoods, religious congregations, businesses, factories, mines, farms, ethnic social clubs, singing societies, and music ensembles. Some recordings reflect on Native American life, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slavery, the Underground Railroad, later African American experiences, natural disasters, and fading technologies and crafts. Ethnic groups represented include those that are rarely associated with the Appalachian region, despite their long presence here: Jews and immigrants from Asia, Latin America, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe.

All materials in the digital archive are part of a larger collection of folklife and music resources donated to Berea College Special Collections and Archives by the Klines for scholarly study. The preservation process included migrating data off magnetic tape and other recording media and storing digital master and access files on secure servers. Audio Archivist Harry Rice managed the grant project in consultation with Special Collections and Archives staff. To enhance discovery of the data, Hutchins Library director Calvin Gross and colleagues Ann Cinnamond and Jessica Hayden assisted by creating individual item records in the Berea College Library catalog and in OCLC

Recordings at Risk is a national regranting program administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) to support the preservation of rare and unique audio, audiovisual, and other time-based media of high scholarly value through digital reformatting. The program is made possible by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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