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IRENE Seeing Sound Blog

"The Tune She Most Clung To . . ."

The Middlebury College Flanders Ballad Collection
IRENE 3D Imaging project continues . . .


One of the performers featured on the wax cylinders being imaged with the IRENE 3D camera:

Ellen M. Sullivan, Springfield, VT
Singing 'The Wild Cowboy'

Mrs. Ellen M. Sullivan was a special friend of Flanders. In a 1957 lecture, Flanders recalled her early meetings with Sullivan:

“In around 1932 in my home town of Springfield, Vermont, I discovered Mrs. Sullivan, a bedridden woman whose Irish memories were pure poetry when recounted in prose, even more so when in the form of old ballads. She could slightly keep a tune and the tune she most clung to was used for many different ballads. Her digressions were as important as background to her singing. Mrs. Sullivan sang or recited over fifty-five songs and told several stories between 1932 and 1940.”

(From An Index to Field Recordings in the Flanders Ballad Collection at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont, 1983. Middlebury College Special Collections.)