Ed Ward was a private record and tape collector, poet, prose writer, and community historian who lived at Bledsoe in Harlan County, Kentucky.
The digitized material in this collection includes recordings of interviews with Ed Ward, his reading from his writings such as Tall Tales of the Hills, musician interviews he recorded, and selected tape copies from Ward’s record collection of commercial recordings of Kentucky old time and early country music artists.
The collection’s interviews and music performances document such historically significant Kentucky old time musicians as Blind Dick Burnett, John V. Walker, Arthur Johnson, Ernest Martin, W.L. Gregory, the Jones Creek Quartet, and others including the widow of Blind James Howard whose ballads and fiddle tunes were recorded for the Library of Congress in 1937.
The substantial portion of the collection that is not yet digitized is comprised of taped copies of several dozen 78 rpm discs that document many lesser known traditional recording artists of the 1920s and 1930s representing areas beyond Kentucky. These recordings can be accessed in the Special Collections reading room.