Lawrence Gellert, born September 14, 1898 in Budapest, Hungary, died 1979 (Gellert disappeared in 1979, his death date is unknown), was a music collector who in the 1920s and 1930s documented black protest traditions in the South of the United States. He may have been one of the earliest collectors to make field recordings of this music.
He came to America when he was seven, and grew up in New York City. For health reasons, in the early 1920s he moved to Tryon, N.C.. From 1933 to 1937, Gellert traveled through North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, collecting folksongs of black Americans.
Gellert, along with his brother Hugo, was a frequent contributor to the magazine Masses (later New Masses) from 1930 to 1947, writing mainly about traditional black American music.
Part of his recordings has been released on vinyl albums in 1973, 1982 (on Rounder Records) and 1984 (on Heritage Records), then in the 1990s reissued on CD by Document Records. Folklorist and ethnomusicologist Dr.Bruce Conforth of the University of Michigan produced these two recordings and is completing a book on Gellert for the University of Illinois Press.
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