1949 to 1950
Jean Ritchie was born and raised in Viper, Kentucky, the youngest of fourteen children in a family rich in oral tradition. From this background Jean emerged as a singer of incomparable voice and repertoire, as well as an instrumentalist, songwriter, author, and a collector in her own right. Her autobiography Singing Family of the Cumberlands is a classic account of Appalachian life and folklore. In 1946, after graduating from the University of Kentucky, she found a job at the Henry Street Settlement School in New York City. There she met Alan Lomax, who became her advocate and lifelong friend. In 1949 and 1950, Jean Ritchie made these recordings with Lomax at his Greenwich Village apartment.