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Pete Seeger in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

Explore this Libguide and learn more about Pete Seeger's life and works in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library.

Robert Sherman papers

Pete Seeger Correspondence in the Robert Sherman papers

Son of pianist Nadia Reisenberg, and nephew of thereminist Clara Rockmore, Robert Sherman (b. 1932) is a renowned radio broadcaster, author, and educator whose noteworthy career spans from the 1950s to today. At radio station WQXR in New York, Sherman worked as the Music Director and Program Manager, and he is best known for hosting numerous programs, including "Woody's Children" and the nationally broadcast "The Listening Room." As an author, Sherman became a regular columnist for The New York Times starting in 1964 and also published several books on music. He began lecturing at New York University in 1969, the start of his active career as an educator. Sherman is still active today as a broadcaster, narrator, lecturer and author.

The Robert Sherman papers consist of scripts, recordings, writings, correspondence, event programs, clippings, photographs, and awards related to Sherman's work as a broadcaster, author, and educator. Among the most significant holdings include recordings of his programs "Woody's Children," "The Listening Room," and "Young Artists Showcase," and correspondence with numerous renowned artists such as Clara Rockmore, Nadia Boulanger, Pete Seeger, Aaron Copland, Henry Cowell, and Leopold Stokowski.

Collection number: MC06-01-SHERMAN
Bulk dates: 1960-2008
Inclusive dates: 1932-2013
Finding Aid

To access this collection, please contact Special Collections in Performing Arts.

Correspondence between Pete Seeger and Robert Sherman, Special Collections in Performing Arts, Sherman papers
In this undated note to Sherman, Pete Seeger references upcoming folk festivals and mentions a project close to his heart: during the late 1960s, Pete began his advocacy for cleaner water on the Hudson River and its surrounding wetlands and waterways. Seeger and his wife Toshi raised money to build a 106-foot sloop that became a symbol for antipollution efforts and education, and the Clearwater was launched in June 1969 with a crew of musicians. The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. organization is still in existence today, and sponsors an annual music and environmental festival, the Great Hudson River Revival. (Series 7.6, Box 41, Folder 1, Item 27.0)


Front side of note from Seeger to Sherman - Dear Bob - I'm awfully sorry I haven't time to come to NYC for an interview this week. Toshi and I are up to our ears in preparation for two festivals and a new sloop (see enclosed) - The "Revival" is going to have four stages going simultaneously, like Mariposa - so when you find something you really like you can get close and soak it up - intead of each performer only getting a whiff at the mike, each will have time to get into things. My main (con't.)


Back of note from Seeger to Sherman - text con't.: "worry now is that since many of the performers (especialy the Greeks, Romanians, Italians, etc.) are relatively unknown outside their home communities, people who would have liked to have come, won't know about it till it's all over. Could some of our folklorists call you? They have great tapes - all the best, Pete P.S. Hope you and your family can come."


In another undated note to Sherman, Pete offers to pass along more tapes of talented songwriters. (Series 7.6, Box 43, Folder 1, Item 2.0)

Note from Seeger to Sherman - Text: "Dear Bob - This is a talented songwriter - want me to send you other take that are sent me? Love to all, Pete"


Pete's characteristic signature was unmistakable. (Notes to Sherman, belated thanks, June 14, 1966, Series 7.6, Box 43, Folder 1, Item 3.0; confirming that he'll be there 6:15 PM February 4th, December 23, 1988, Series 7.6, Box 43, Folder 1, Item 4.0)

Two notes from Seeger to Sherman - Note 1 Text: "Belated thanks! Pete Seeger"; Note 2 Text: "Dear Bob, Just to confirm, I'll be there 6:15 p.m. on February 4th. All the best, Pete"


On January 18, 1972, Pete sent a note to Sherman to inquire about the latter's "Nativity" cantata; this correspondence was written on a postcard featuring information about the Seeger's conservation efforts through the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater organization. (Series 7.6, Box 43, Folder 1, Item 5.0)

Note from Seeger to Sherman - Text: "Dear Bob - I'm sorry I didn't get to listen to your "Nativity" cantata. How did it go? Pete"