Collection Number: 20551

Collection Title: Ken Irwin Collection, 1946-2000s

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.


Archival processing of the Ken Irwin Collection was made possible through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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Size 13.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 3000 items)
Abstract The Ken Irwin Collection consists of audio recordings, 1974-1975, of interviews with folk, country, and bluegrass musicians. Ken Irwin, a white co-founder of the record label, Rounder Records, compiled the recordings, which feature such notable artists as Hazel Dickens, Buzz Busby, and Whitey and Hogan, among others. There are also audio interviews, 1995-1996, with Ken Irwin. Other materials document the Rounder Record business and the artists signed to the label and the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and Folk Alliance governing boards. Materials include correspondence, photographs, business records, catalogs, newspaper clippings, t-shirts, promotional posters and press packs, and other ephemera.
Creator Irwin, Ken, 1944-
Language English
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
Use of audio materials may require production of listening copies.
This collection contains additional audiovisual materials that are not processed and are currently not available to researchers. For information about access to these materials, contact Research and Instructional Services staff. Please be advised that preparing unprocessed materials for access can be a lengthy process.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Ken Irwin Collection #20551, Southern Folklife Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Ken Irwin in December 2017 (Acc. 103297) and June 2018 (Acc. 103389).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Ken Irwin co-founded the record label, Rounder Records, in 1970 along with Marian Leighton-Levt and Bill Nowlin. The label specializes in folk, bluegrass, blues, and other forms of American roots music.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The Ken Irwin Collection consists of audio recordings, 1974-1975, of interviews with folk, country, and bluegrass musicians. Ken Irwin, a white co-founder of the record label, Rounder Records, compiled the recordings, which feature such notable artists as Hazel Dickens, Buzz Busby, and Whitey and Hogan, among others. There are also audio interviews, 1995-1996, with Ken Irwin, as well as copies of an early Rounder Records catalog and order form. Audio recordings are on audiocassette.

The Addition of June 2018 chiefly documents the Rounder Record business and the artists signed to the label, especially Hazel Dickens, Alison Krauss, and George Thorogood, and the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and Folk Alliance governing boards. Materials include correspondence, photographs, business records, calendars and planners, board materials, catalogs, album project files, newspaper clippings, promotional posters and press packs, t-shirts, business cards and buttons.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Ken Irwin Collection, 1974-1996 and undated (Original Deposit).

12 items.

Acquisitions information: Accession 103297

Arrangement: Audiovisual recordings are arranged alphabetically by artist or interviewee.

Processing information: Titles and descriptions compiled from original containers.

Folder 1

Rounder Records catalog, undated #20551, Series: "1. Ken Irwin Collection, 1974-1996 and undated (Original Deposit)." Folder 1

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20551/1

The Bluegrass Gals #20551, Series: "1. Ken Irwin Collection, 1974-1996 and undated (Original Deposit)." FS-20551/1

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20551/2

Buzz Busby, 23 September 1975 #20551, Series: "1. Ken Irwin Collection, 1974-1996 and undated (Original Deposit)." FS-20551/2

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20551/3

Ralph Church, Mt. Pleasant, N.C., 29 August 1975 #20551, Series: "1. Ken Irwin Collection, 1974-1996 and undated (Original Deposit)." FS-20551/3

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20551/4

H. D. talking #20551, Series: "1. Ken Irwin Collection, 1974-1996 and undated (Original Deposit)." FS-20551/4

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20551/5

Interview with Ken Irwin, 10 November 1995 #20551, Series: "1. Ken Irwin Collection, 1974-1996 and undated (Original Deposit)." FS-20551/5

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20551/6

Interview with Ken Irwin, 9 October 1996 #20551, Series: "1. Ken Irwin Collection, 1974-1996 and undated (Original Deposit)." FS-20551/6

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20551/7

Interview with Ken Irwin, 1 November 1996 #20551, Series: "1. Ken Irwin Collection, 1974-1996 and undated (Original Deposit)." FS-20551/7

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20551/8

Kathy Kaplan, August 1974 #20551, Series: "1. Ken Irwin Collection, 1974-1996 and undated (Original Deposit)." FS-20551/8

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20551/9

John Lee interview with Jesse Thomas #20551, Series: "1. Ken Irwin Collection, 1974-1996 and undated (Original Deposit)." FS-20551/9

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20551/10

Alan O'Bryant #20551, Series: "1. Ken Irwin Collection, 1974-1996 and undated (Original Deposit)." FS-20551/10

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20551/11

Whitey and Hogan, 1 September 1975 #20551, Series: "1. Ken Irwin Collection, 1974-1996 and undated (Original Deposit)." FS-20551/11

Audiocassette

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018).

3000 items.

Acquisitions information: Accession 103389

The Addition of June 2018 chiefly documents the Rounder Record business and the artists signed to the label, especially Hazel Dickens, Alison Krauss, and George Thorogood, and the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and Folk Alliance governing boards. Materials include correspondence, photographs, business records, calendars and planners, board materials, catalogs, album project files, newspaper clippings, promotional posters and press packs, t-shirts, business cards and buttons.

Box 1

T-shirts #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." Box 1

T-shirts of George Thoroghgood and the Destroyers, Alison Krauss, Hazel and Alice, Balfa Toujours, Bela Fleck, Ronda Vincent, Rounder Records.

Box 2

Calendars, planners, 1984-1992 #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." Box 2

Box 3-4

Hazel Dickens #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." Box 3-4

Materials relating to Who's That Knocking; correspondence with Mo Asch, Ralph Rinzler; drafts of song lyrics; articles about Hazel Dickens; notebooks; set lists; press clippings. There are also articles about Allison Krause, and miscellaneous promotional materials.

Box 5

IBMA board records, committees #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." Box 5

Folk Alliance board meeting materials #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." Box 5

Rounder catalogs #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." Box 5

Box 6-7

Rounder business records #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." Box 6-7

Denon records, Artist and Repertoire Meetings, release sheets, album project files, artist press packs.

Personal research and subject files #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." Box 6-7

Includes transcript of Del McCoury interview, business plans.

Box 8

Business cards and buttons #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." Box 8

Oversize Box OB-20551/1

Newspaper clippings and magazine articles about Rounder Records #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." OB-20551/1

Oversize Paper Folder OPF-20551/1-5

Promotional posters, 1946-2000s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." OPF-20551/1-5

Chiefly promoting events and Rounder Records recording artists from the 1980s to the 2000s; also includes scattered events promotions and pro-labor union posters from 1946 to the 1970s.

Oversize Paper Folder XOPF-20551/1

Promotional posters, 1949, 1980s-1990s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." XOPF-20551/1

Chiefly promoting events and Rounder Records recording artists from the 1980s to the 1990s; also includes a 1949 poster promoting a show featuring Roy Acuff.

Image Folder PF-20551/01

Photographs: Ken Irwin, circa 1970s-2000s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/01

Color and Black-and-White Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20551/15

Photographs: Ken Irwin, circa 1970s-1980s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/15

Oversize Black-and-White Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20551/02

Photographs: Autographed photographs to Ken Irwin from various artists, 1970s-2000s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/02

Oversize Black-and-White Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20551/03

Photographs: Irwin family, 1970s-2000s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/03

Color and Black-and-White Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20551/04

Photographs: Rounder Records: Owners, studios, and offices, 1970s-2000s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/04

Color and Black-and-White Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20551/18

Photographs: Rounder Records: Owners, studios, and offices, circa 1970s-1980s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/18

35mm Color Slides

Image Folder PF-20551/19-20

Photographs: Rounder Records: John Fahey, circa 1980s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/19-20

35mm Color Mounted Slides

Image Folder PF-20551/05

Photographs: Rounder Records: Alison Krauss, 1970s-2000s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/05

Color and Black-and-White Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20551/06

Photographs: Rounder Records: Artists associated with Rounder Records, 1970s-2000s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/06

Black-and-White and Color Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20551/16

Photographs: Rounder Records: Artists associated with Rounder Records, 1970s-2000s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/16

Oversize Color Photographic Print

Image Folder PF-20551/22-23

Photographs: Rounder Records: Negatives, circa 1970s-2000s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/22-23

Color and Black-and-White Photographic Negatives

Contains multiple formats and subjects.

Image Folder PF-20551/07-09

Photographs: Hazel Dickens, circa 1970s-2000s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/07-09

Color and Black-and-White Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20551/21

Photographs: Hazel Dickens, circa 1970s-2000s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/21

35mm Color Mounted Slides

Image Folder PF-20551/10

Photographs: Country and bluegrass musicians (original materials), circa 1960s-1970s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/10

35mm Color Mounted Slides

Image Folder PF-20551/17

Photographs: Country and bluegrass musicians (original materials), circa 1960s-1970s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/17

Oversize Black-and-White Photographic Print

Image Folder PF-20551/11-14

Photographs: Promotional photographs of various artists (not associated with Rounder Records), circa 1960s-1970s #20551, Series: "2A. Rounder Records, Personal Papers, and Other Materials, 1946-2000s (bulk 1980s-2000s) (Addition of June 2018)." PF-20551/11-14

Oversize Black-and-White Photographic Print

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Processing Information

Processed by: Asia Hartman and Anne Wells, July 2018; Nancy Kaiser, October 2018

Encoded by: Anne Wells, July 2018

Archival processing of the Ken Irwin Collection was made possible through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Since August 2017, we have added ethnic identities for individuals and families represented in collections. To determine ethnic identity, we rely on self-identification; other information supplied to the repository by collection creators or sources; public records, press accounts, and secondary sources; and contextual information in the collection materials. Omissions of ethnic identities in finding aids created or updated after August 2017 are an indication of insufficient information to make an educated guess or an individual’s preference for ethnicity to be excluded from description. When we have misidentified, please let us know at wilsonlibrary@email.unc.edu.

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