Highlights from the Ethnomusicology Archive: the UCLA Ethnomusicology Photo Collection

As probably everyone knows, UCLA Ethnomusicology was established in 1960.  But what some of you might not know is that Mantle Hood, Founder and Director of the Institute of Ethnomusicology, actively promoted Ethnomusicology at UCLA.  Simply searching ProQuest's Historical Newspapers database yields dozens of articles, for example, "Institute started for foreign music study." (1961, Aug 06). Los Angeles Times

Mantle Hood Playing Kendang

What does this have to do with the Ethnomusicology Archive?  The Archive houses UCLA Ethnomusicology's audiovisual and photograph collection.  This collection includes recordings and photographs documenting guest artists, lectures, and performance ensembles associated with Ethnomusicology at UCLA.  Yes, that's over fifty years' worth of recordings and photographs.  The photograph collection is especially rich for Ethnomusicology's early years because it seems Mantle always had a photographer present.  

The wonderful thing about this collection is that we have amazing images from UCLA Ethnomusicology's first decade.  The difficult thing about this collection is that many of the photos are not captioned.  As any librarian or archivist will tell you, accessing a collection is all about the quality of the metadata.  Luckily, however, some of UCLA's first Ethnomusicology graduates have assisted us in identifying the people in the photos.  Professor Robert Garfias has been especially helpful. 

I thought I would share some of the photographs. 

Yoko Tahara teaching Bob Brown.  Until Robert Garfias helped us, this photo was labelled as "Koto Study Group."


Again, thanks to Robert Garfias, this changed from "Mantle Hood and Javanese Gamelan Ensemble" to, "First fellow is Alex, but I have forgotten his last name.  Shirley Hood, Gould Stevens, Bob Brown, me, Dave Morton, in the back Jimmy Jones, Mantle Hood, and Max Harrell."  And the best part of Garfias' description? "As Chokorda (Tjokorda) Mas used to call us, the Golden Gamelan Babies."


"Rebab lesson with Mantle Hood" transformed by Garfias into "From the left, Hardja Susilo, Max Harrell, Viswanathan, Mantle, Hormoz Farhat, Willem Adraansz and Donald Sur. Must have been 1959 while I was in Japan and Viswanathan was at UCLA."


We knew the boy on the left was Marlowe Hood, but thanks to Garfias, we now know the boy on the right is Robbie Robinson, Gertrude Rivers Robinson's son.


This might be my favorite of all Professor Garfias' captions.  We knew it was Mantle, but the instrumentation was throwing us off a bit.  Now we know why.  Per Garfias, "This one is a complete fake.  Mantle, Edna Strom (ethnomusicology secretary), me, Max Harrell, Lois Anderson, Dave Morton.  Mantle wanted this for a publicity picture but none of us, except Dave, really played any of those instruments. Well, except maybe Max; he played everything."

And I will add that it is one of the Archive's goals to make the entire photo collection available via UCLA's Digital Library and that we hope to be able to identify more and more people in the photos by crowdsourcing.

All photos © The Regents of the University of California, All Right Reserved, various dates

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