The Charles Keil collection consists of manuscripts, research material, correspondence, journals and diaries, printed material, professional material, legal material, audio, memorabilia, electronic media, and other material.
Manuscripts by Keil in the collection include his book-length works Urban Blues (1966; revised ed., 1992); Tiv Song (1979); Polka Happiness, written with Angeliki Keil and Richard Blau (1992); My Music, written with Sue Crafts, Dan Cavicci, and the Music in Daily Life Project (1993); Music Grooves: Essays and Dialogues, written with Steve Feld (1994); and Bright Balkan Morning (2002). Essays by Keil include “The Education of Charles Malcolm Henry Keil,” collection of essays written 1960-1961; “Oneness in the Presence of Others”; “Towards a Radical Ethnomusicology” (1974); “The Psychoanalytic Theory of Culture”; “Studies in Polygyny: A Comparative Analysis of African and Mormon Marital Relations”; “Motion and Feeling Through Music”; “The Sklarification of Genocide”; “Applied Sociomusicology and Performance Studies”; and others.
Manuscripts by other authors are also present in the collection, including numerous student papers, manuscripts submitted for publication in the journal Echology (1987-1991), and others. Also included is an interview with Keil by Andy Byron.
Research material in the collection is extensive. Most of the material is arranged into subject files by Keil. Topics include music and musicology, ethnomusicology, politics, higher education, sociology, culture, the Nigerian-Biafra War and Biafran famine relief, Africa and African music, Polka, the Green Party, American popular music, the blues, Chinese music, and various other subjects. Material regarding Tiv Song includes interviews, autobiographies, translation notebooks and dictionaries (for the Yoruba, Dzar, Loho and other languages), photographs, drawings, transcribed myths and folk tales, and other items. Material regarding Polka Happiness includes interviews, printed items, notes from performances, several audio recordings, and other items. Material regarding My Music includes numerous interviews (recordings and transcriptions), notebooks, newsletters, photographs, brochures, flyers, and notes from performances.
Correspondence in the collection consists of numerous personal and professional letters, dating from ca. 1955 to 2000. Correspondents include Keil’s family, friends, employers, co-authors, students, research subjects, politicians, and various others. Several letters are in regards to the Biafra crisis; these date from 1968 to 1972. Notable correspondents include Alfonse D’Amato, pianist Herbie Nichols, Barack Obama, Gordon Parks, and Malcolm X.
Journals and diaries in the collection consist of several daily planners, desk diaries, record books, and other similar items, dating from 1960 to 1977. Also present are Keil’s diary notes from the summer of 1958 and several notebooks which include to-do lists, contacts, and reading notes.
Printed material in the collection includes several newspaper and magazine clippings, periodicals, pamphlets, booklets, programs, flyers, scholarly journals and other items. Included are published versions of Keil’s writings and reviews of Keil’s books.
Professional material in the collection includes assignments, student papers, course descriptions, class notes, course outlines, and office files. Files include items regarding Keil’s classes at the University of Buffalo, notes on Keil’s book Polka Happiness, and other topics including music, dance, various cultural music, articles, reviews, politics, records, folklore. Also present are several items regarding various professional conferences and appointment books.
Legal material in the collection includes subpoenas, court transcripts, letters, research material, notes regarding the University of Buffalo Faculty Defense Fund, formed when 45 faculty members (including Keil) were arrested for political protests in 1970. Also present are some publishing agreements and contracts.
Audio material in the collection consists of numerous long-playing records, cassettes, and reel-to-reel tapes, including several Polka recordings used as research for Polka Happiness. Also present are several cassette recordings of interviews conducted for My Music, field recordings of African music for Tiv Song, recordings of family including ‘Aunt Tula’ and Nikalis Vellos, and other items.
Memorabilia in the collection includes Keil’s amateur radio license (1955); a protest flag reading “Free Rocky and the Attica Boys”; two certificates of appreciation from WBFO Radio in Buffalo, New York, for outstanding service and contributions (1989 and 1990); bumper stickers regarding environmental and anti-war activism, and other items.
Electronic media includes floppy discs of backup files.
Other material in the collection includes photographs; financial material; notebooks; various juvenilia (1952-1958); material regarding Keil’s application for conscientious objector status; a player piano roll of “Dziandunio Polka”; a video (VHS) of Lil’ Wally’s 50-year celebration; and other items.