Frank Proffitt performing






Audio recording



Item ID:


Collector or Fieldworker

Tradition Bearer

Genre or Occupation

Title of Work

  • Will the Circle Be Unbroken

Ethnicity or Nationality

General Note/Comment

  • One reel to reel recording. Proffitt was best known as the originator of the popular folk song, "Tom Dooley." Born in Bloomary, Tenn, but moved to North Carolina as a child. There, he picked up the murder ballad, Tom Dooley. Folklorists Anne and Frank Warner collected his performance of it in the 1930s. BY the 1950s, it was a hit song for performers such as the Kingston Trio. In the 1960s, Proffitt became associated with the song, and began performing at several folk festival, such as University of Chicago and the Newport Folk Festival.

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