Alan Lomax an ethnomusicologist, much like Bela Bartok, was responsible for the recording and preserving of American folk music in the 20th century, much of which has ceased to exist in a living form. Without the foresight and diligent cataloging performed by Lomax and his colleagues, the Americana not practiced in modernity would have been lost to history.
Alan Lomax was born to a pioneering folklorist, John Lomax, and employed by the Library of Congress from 1937-42 collecting folk music. Unfortunately, due to the dogs of war being unleashed, in 1942 the budget for collecting folk music was cut by Congress. Coincidentally, the FBI also began investigating Lomax off and on from 1942 until 1979 for some flimsy communist allegations. We can tell that Lomax was one of the good guys by a description given of him in an investigation:
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An FBI report dated July 23, 1943, describes Lomax as possessing “an erratic, artistic temperament” and a “bohemian attitude.” It says: “He has a tendency to neglect his work over a period of time and then just before a deadline he produces excellent results.” The file quotes one informant who said that “Lomax was a very peculiar individual, that he seemed to be very absent-minded and that he paid practically no attention to his personal appearance.” This same source adds that he suspected Lomax’s peculiarity and poor grooming habits came from associating with the “hillbillies who provided him with folk tunes”.