This book presents old-time Michigan, its songs and their tunes, collected and edited by Emelyn E. Gardner, a folklorist of wide experience, the author of Folklore from the Schoharie Hills, with the aid of Geraldine Jencks Chickering.
Michigan's early settlers, coming from the older eastern states, both north and south, with many from England, Scotland, and the British North American possessions, brought with them their songs, which they sang happily at work and play, handing them down from generation to generation, and often adapting centuries-old ballads to their new environment. Many worked for a time in the woods and picked up the mournful, or jolly, ballads that were circulated through the camps by lumberjacks drifting in from the Maine and Canadian forests. There are old folks still alive who treasure these ancient songs, and young people who have learned them from their parents and grandparents—or even from the radio.
Ballads and Songs of Southern Michigan collects and preserves these cherished possessions of the old frontier. With scholarly accuracy their history is recounted; the names of those who sang them are reported. The tunes of many are reproduced; there are ample indices and bibliography. Wilfred B. Shaw's ink drawings add much to the charm of the book. It is a worthy addition both to the literature of folklore and balladry, and to that of pioneer American history.