Arts and Entertainment

Bayard old-time music tunes available on YouTube

Bayard was regarded as one of the foremost authorities on Anglo-American folk songs

The Eberly Family Special Collections Library at Penn State’s University Libraries announces the release of the Samuel Preston Bayard folklore recordings on YouTube. Treasured by folklorists, folk musicians and American culturists, all 61 recordings from the Samuel Preston Bayard folklore recordings playlist are now digitized and available to the public for listening as a YouTube video playlist. Among the tunes are “The Dublin Jig,” “Devil's Dream,” “Jay Bird,” “Froggie Went a Courting,” and “Down in Lock Haven.” The videos are structured by performing artist and, where available, feature images of sheet music, lyrics, and song title lists taken from Bayard’s own field notes.

Bayard, famed folklorist, conducted fieldwork collecting folk songs, even before he enrolled at the Pennsylvania State College. He graduated with an bachelor of arts in music in 1934, and received a master of arts in English from Harvard two years later. In 1945, Bayard was hired to teach freshman composition at the Pennsylvania State College and his scholarly output dealing with folk music grew tremendously. He was appointed assistant professor of English composition in 1945, an associate professor in 1956 and became a full professor of English literature in 1960. Despite retiring in 1973, he continued teaching and writing articles, and in 1977, he was awarded the title of professor emeritus of English and comparative literature. Bayard was regarded by scholars and folk-music enthusiasts as one of the foremost authorities on Anglo-American folk songs. He died in 1996.

The Bayard folklore recordings digitization and video project was implemented and executed by Melissa Foge as a Special Collections Library archival internship project. She was assisted by, Timothy Babcock, coordinator of Special Collection’s Audio-Visual Collections. The rare recordings, now accessible to the public, will be of interest and valuable to musicologists, folklorists, music history researchers, and folk music enthusiasts. 

For more information or for questions about the physical access provided, contact Babcock at 814-863-2911 or

Samuel Preston Bayard, famed folklorist, conducted fieldwork collecting folk songs in  Pennsylvania, beginning in the late 1920s. Credit: Penn State University Archives / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated February 11, 2014