Eugene Earle Donates 60,000 Records to Southern Folklife Collection

Eugene Earle, a retired electrical engineer who was part of the team that first recorded Doc Watson, has doubled the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a donation of 60,000 78-rpm records. The focus of the collection is works by artists from the ’20s and ’30s who were from or who sang about Appalachia. The collection will find a home alongside items from the late Australian collector John Edwards, which were purchased by UNC in 1983 from a foundation managed in part by Earle. The avid collector, who spent his childhood in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, purchased his first records for 25 cents apiece from a Sears catalog at 9 years old after hearing Gene Autry sing. Earle now lives in California.

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