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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"The Shape That Launched a Thousand Ships"

Moses Asch, 1956
With temperatures regularly pushing 95 degrees here in Washington, D.C., I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one dreaming of escaping the daily (humid) grind and parking myself by a breezy seashore somewhere.

I am currently in the trenches of the extremely voluminous Moses and Frances Asch Collection, which contains the records of the Folkways record label. After a year of processing correspondence from the collection, I've become very familiar with Moses Asch- the director of Folkways and hard-working man who issued over 2,000 recordings from around the world and kept them all in print, - but not so much with Moe, the man who took beach vacations with friends.

Letter from Jerome Cushman to Moses Asch, 1956,
from the Moses and Frances Asch Collection.
One of my favorite finds is this July 1956 photograph of Moe from his correspondence with friend public librarian and friend Jerry Cushman. It is a rare treat to see Asch looking like an ordinary man on a summer day. Cushman's teasing (calling Asch "The Shape That Launched a Thousand Ships") reminds me of the person behind the paper surrounding me.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I hope there's a beach waiting for you somewhere!

--Cecilia Peterson, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections

1 comment:

  1. I love the creative title derived out of the correspondence! He can launch ships alright!