Joe Hickerson

Joe Hickerson

November 14, 1969

Joe Hickerson, an American performer, librarian, archivist, researcher, writer, sound editor, and radio host, was born October 20, 1935, in Highland Park, Ill. He grew up in New Haven, Conn., and attended Oberlin College from 1953 to 1957. Hickerson was the first president of Folk Song Clubs at both Oberlin and Indiana University, where he studied after graduating from college. He completed a doctorate in folklore and ethnomusicology — relatively new academic disciplines at the time — at Indiana University (1957-63) while also acting as folk archivist for the university. At the time of this performance, Hickerson was the Librarian at the Archive of Folk Song, part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. He held this post from 1963 until being named Director (1974-1998). Throughout his career as archivist and performer, he has been active in a wide range of folklore and folk music organizations including the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, which he helped found; the Society for Ethnomusicology; the American Folklore Society; and Sing Out! As a performer, Hickerson released three solo albums and appeared on dozens of group recordings. He collaborated with Pete Seeger, and worked with Folkways Records, part of Smithsonian Folkways.

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