"Sad And Dismal Is The Story": Great Lakes Shipwrecks And The Folk Music Tradition

Author(s): Misty M. Jackson; Kenneth J. Vrana

Year: 2017


Music has often taken maritime disasters for its theme, and Great Lakes wrecks claim no shortage of songs. Some were written at the time of the disaster, and others appeared years later, reviving the memory of the event.  In an effort to understand the relationship between shipwrecks, folk traditions, memory, and preservation of the wrecks themselves, this paper will focus on four famous Great Lakes shipwrecks: the Lady Elgin, the Eastland, the Rouse Simmons (a.k.a. the Christmas Ship), and the Edmund Fitzgerald. In order to explore the relationship between music, memory and preservation and make preliminary assessments as to whether the exposure of music and folk traditions serve to aid or deter preservation and understanding, this paper will focus its examination on the "folk" music but will also survey other source data such as archival documents, photographs, books, exhibits, documentaries and interviews with fishermen, folk musicians and others.


Cite this Record

"Sad And Dismal Is The Story": Great Lakes Shipwrecks And The Folk Music Tradition. Misty M. Jackson, Kenneth J. Vrana. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435697)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 510