Harold A. Loring and 20th Century Indigenous Song Collection

In 1921, Harold A. Loring began giving lecture recitals with Brave Hawk, a member of the Sioux tribe Loring met on his ethnographic field studies. Beginning with their appearance for the Camp Fire Girls in Grand Rapids, Michigan to the Decatur Public Schools in Illinois and the Chicago Geographic Society, Loring and Brave Hawk travelled across the Midwest throughout the 1920s.

Using digitized newspapers, I collected roughly fifty pieces of data chronicling Loring’s performances from 1921-29. During this time, Loring performed almost exclusively in the midwest with only a short foray into Wyoming. Loring spoke primarily at schools and social clubs. These venues ranged from the Kansas City chapter of the National League of Women Voters, to the Huntington Boy Scouts in Indiana, to the St. Joseph High School in Michigan. Close classification of venue type reveals, Loring wasn’t performing concerts, he was giving educational lecture-recitals.

The following map displays Loring’s lectures, as derived from digitized newspapers, between 1921-29. Navy points indicate lecture-recitals given at a educational institution whereas teal points indicate a lecture-recital given at a social club. The pink dots in Denver indicate a radio broadcast, since that did not fit neatly into the other two categories.

Additionally, I’ve chosen to frame Loring’s lectures against current tribal-owned land and land stolen by the United States government. Since Loring performed mostly in white educational institutions, I wanted my map to forefront the contrast Loring’s ethnographic lectures about the music of a “dying race” with the geographic reality federal land grab policies.