Ethnic Music of Northern Wisconsin and Michigan

URLs to browse or search the collections

The Ethnic Music of Northern Wisconsin and Michigan Collection documents traditional music of European immigrant communities in the northern tier of counties in Wisconsin and the western counties of the upper peninsula of Michigan along Lake Superior’s south shore. The collection reflects the mix of musical traditions among the region’s Cornish, Bohemian, Croatian, Finnish, French-Canadian, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Irish, Slovenian, Slovak, Swedish, Swiss, and Ukrainian immigrant singers, instrumentalists, dance hall veterans, and home performers.

Thanks to support from Northland College and the Folk Arts Program of the National Endowment for the Arts, the bulk of the materials were created or collected between 1979 and 1981, with additional work extending through 1986. This digital collection of curated selections includes 139 field recordings with accompanying notes and tape indices, 200 photographs, and 85 commercial 78-rpm sound recordings.

The collection also includes the audio and booklet from the 1986 LP Accordions in the Cutover: Field Recordings of Ethnic Music from Lake Superior’s South Shore, which was produced from the project’s fieldwork.

In some cases, permission to publish audio was not obtained from the informant(s) or performer(s).

Special thanks to The National Endowment for the Humanities for providing essential support for this online collection.


Original collection materials reside in the Mills Music Library. Materials in the collection are non-circulating but may be consulted in the library. Patrons wishing to consult materials may contact the reference librarian on duty.

Materials in the collection are subject to the guidelines for use and reproduction of materials in the special collections of the General Library System of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.