Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the Dorothy Horstman Oral History Field and Radio Show Recordings

Collection ID:
Horstman, Dorothy, 1930-1999
Cline, Patsy
Horstman, Madi
Horstman, Fritzi
Mare, Frank
Lynn, Loretta
Snow, Hank
Rodgers, Jimmie
Williams, Hank (Harold), 1934- (musician)
Tubb, Ernest
Acuff, Roy
Physical Description:
11 Cubic feet
Tape recordings containing oral history and radio show recordings of country and western music, collected and produced by Dorothy Horstman.,Recordings include such musicians as Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Hank Snow, and Roy Acuff.

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
The Dorothy Horstman Oral History Field and Radio Show recording consist of 351 cassette audio tapes and 164 reel-to-reel audio tapes documenting her field research and radio shows dedicated to the creative process associated with the composers of Country and Western songs. Also included in her collection are 82 reel-to-reel audio tapes complied by Mrs. Horstman and her colleague Mr. Frank Mare. Mr. Mare is a microbiologist from New Jersey, currently residing in Covington, GA. In his free time he is an avid collector of Country and Western recording of the 1920s and 1930s, a music critic, a writer of liner notes, and an information guide to the Country and Western music genre.
The collection is organized into three series. Series 1 comprises the 351 cassette audio tape recordings of the oral history interviews that Mrs. Horstman conducted in the field. They contain the social history of the music, the creative process behind song writing for each artist or theme, and often include biographies and backgrounds of the individuals she interviewed. Series 2 contains 164 reel-to-reel audio tapes of Mrs. Horstman's WNYC radio shows. They trace the history and influence of the music, often using primary material from her interviews that no longer exist in other forms. The shows are devoted to individual artist, composers, or themes, and often include her own commentary and insight. Shows 113-127 are based on the chapters of Mrs. Horstman's book, Sing Your Heart Out Country Boy. Shows in this series without a playlist could not be listened to because of preservation reasons and therefore are unavailable for use. Series 3 comprises the 82 reel-to-reel audio tapes compiled by Frank Mare and Mrs. Horstman. They consist of tape recordings of songs that are in Mr. Mare's personal collection. They were made at the request of Mrs. Horstman as part of her research of the music and her personal

The collection is divided into 3 series.
Series 1: Oral history and field recordings, 1961-1999
Series 2: Radio show recordings, 1972-1977
Series 3: Frank Mare and miscellaneous recordings, 1959-1976

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Songwriter and Journalist Dorothy Horstman (1930-1999), began her love affair with Country and Western music early in life. She was born in Georgia, adopted and raised in Louisiana. She attended the University of Texas at Austin in the 1950s and became a registered nurse. In 1959 she married James Horstman and would later make her home in New York City, taking her love for Country and Western music with her. It is here that her interest in the creative process of song writing moved from a personal interest to one that would include a more public persona. Although never academically trained, Mrs. Horstman spent four decades between 1954-1999, conducting countless interviews with some of the most important artist and performers in Country and Western music. Following the example of Sigmund Spaeth, Dorothy left no door closed in her search for the facts and origin to a particular song. In the mid-1970s, she put her research to work in her own weekly WYNC radio show. Many will remember her signature opening of "Hello Country Fans. . ."
In 1975 Mrs. Horstman published her first book titled,
Sing Your Heart Out, Country Boy
, in it she continued to work with the concept she originated known as song annotation or the process of learning the origin and inspiration of a song and its connection to the people.
Prior to her death in September 1999, Dorothy had just completed work on her second book titled,
America's Best Loved Country Songs
. It is being posthumously published.
Dorothy Horstman once wrote that "Country music is as American as mom's apple pie. . . (covering such values as) God, country, home, mother, good and evil, right and wrong." Spanning four decades the Dorothy Horstman Oral History Field and Radio Show recording collection portrays the astonishing range of this genre. Contained within it are such country legends as Jimmie Rodgers who, is not only known as the "Father of Country Music," but who also helped move country music from its hillbilly roots of instrumentals to its modern day vocal sound and style. Ernest Tubb, who throughout his fifty year career in the business helped some of country music's greats, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Pasty Cline, Charlie Walker, and Hank Snow get their start. Roy Acuff once named the "King of Country Music" by baseball great Dizzy Dean, who along with Fred Rose formed Acuff-Rose Publications, Nashville's first country music publishing company. And the Carter Family, also known as the "first family of country music," who blended tradition songs and lyrics with their own musical and vocal techniques to help put country music on the map during the 1930s.

NMAH Staff
Immediate Source of Acquisiton
Collection donated by Madi and Fritz Horstman, 2000.
Ownership and Custodial History
Collection donated to the Archives Center by Fritz and Madi Horstman, May 31, 2000.
Processing Information
Collection processed by NMAH Staff, undated.
Processing Information
Charrisa Threat, intern and Scott Schwartz, archivist, August 31, 2000; Willeke Sandler, intern, August 2, 2001.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open for research and access to user copies of tapes, on site by appointment.
Preferred Citation
Dorothy Horstman Oral History Field and Radio Show Recordings, 1959-1999, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Copyright restrictions. Fritzi and Madi Horstman retain all rights to these recordings. Contact the Archives Center for more information.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Country musicians Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Country music Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Audiotapes -- 1950-2000 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Audiocassettes Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Radio programs, Musical Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Oral history Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews -- 1950-2000 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012