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Columbia College Chicago
Charles Hamm papers

Charles Hamm papers

Hamm, Charles

Papers, dated 1956 to 1994 and undated, with the bulk of the original research materials from the mid-1980s, consisting of notes, clippings, and other materials on South African popular music and South African radio, including the manuscript of an unfinished book on township jive.

5 boxes, plus 110 analog sound discs (LPs and 45s)

Donated by Charles Hamm, 1999.

The collection of sound recordings of South African music is available for listening onsite.

Biographical note:

Charles E. Hamm (born in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1925) is a musicologist, composer, author, and educator. He is the author of numerous books and articles on popular and art music, most notably the landmark books Music in the New World (New York: Norton, 1983) and Yesterdays: Popular Song in America (New York: Norton, 1979), which helped to pioneer the academic study of popular music. Professor Hamm was one of the founding organizers of The International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM). He is a former president of the American Musicological Society and has contributed major entries on John Cage, “Manuscript Sources of Renaissance Music,” and “Popular Music” to the New Grove Dictionary of Music. In 2002, he was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the Society for American Music. Currently, Hamm serves as Professor Emeritus of Music at Dartmouth College.

Scope note:

The present papers are the result of Charles Hamm's research trips to South Africa in the early 1980s. The papers center around an unfinished book on the history of jive and contain the majority of his working sources including the following: South African newspaper clippings, South African political journals and magazines, articles and offprints by other authors, a range of information on South African radio, South African popular music magazines, including full issues of Drum, a number of notes and papers concerning music publishing and popular music appreciation in South Africa, and detailed notes on several dozen pieces of music.

Of particular note are Hamm's notebooks, drafts, articles, and offprints that include the monograph Afro-American Music, South Africa, and Apartheid (Brooklyn, NY: Institute for Studies in American Music, Conservatory of Music, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, 1988) and his article “Rock n Roll in a Very Strange Society” (Popular Music 5, 1985), as well as a series of lectures delivered at Brooklyn College of Music in the fall of 1986.