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Comment: Independent bookstore since 1970. In stock, quick shipment with delivery confirmation on domestic orders. Fine. Paperback. 2005. Originally published at $27.95.
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Songquest: The Journals of Great Lakes Folklorist Ivan H. Walton (Great Lakes Books Series) Paperback – May 24, 2005

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Book Description

The field notes of a pioneering folklorist who collected the songs, stories, and cultural history of Great Lakes sailors in the 1930s.

From the Publisher

Ivan H. Walton was a pioneering folklorist who collected the songs and stories of aging sailors living along the shores of the Great Lakes in the 1930s. His collection is unique in the annals of Great Lakes folklore. It began as a search for songs but broadened into a collection of weather signs, shipboard beliefs, greenhorn tales, and stories of the intense rivalry between sailors and the steamboat men who replaced them. Edited by Joe Grimm, Songquest: The Journals of Great Lakes Folklorist Ivan H. Walton is a selection from the daily journals Walton wrote during his travels as a folklore collector.

It is clear that Walton, a professor of English at the University of Michigan, both admired the sailors of the Great Lakes for what they had done during their working years and worried about them as they entered the twilight of their lives. Walton went beyond the songs he set out to find and captured the pitch and roll of the Great Lakes alive with white-winged schooners. His writings provide a clear picture of the colorful individuals he met and interviewed—captains, cabin boys, tugmen, chandlers, boardinghouse owners, dredgers, and light keepers. Walton also documented the methods he used and recorded his personal thoughts about his nomadic life and the events going on around him during the 1930s, including the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s election, and the end of Prohibition.

Songquest is a companion volume to Windjammers: Songs of the Great Lakes Sailors (Wayne State University Press, 2002), which contains the lyrics from more than a hundred of Walton’s collected songs, as well as musical scores, sketches, and a compact disc of field recordings.

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More About the Author

Joe Grimm teaches and works with student groups as a visiting journalist at Michigan State University's School of Journalism. Since 2013, he has been working with students to create a new series of guides to cultural competence. Six had been published by May, 2014. The most popular one has been "100 Questions and Answers About Americans."

Grimm was newsroom recruiter and staff development editor at the Detroit Free Press from 1990 until August, 2008. During those years he also worked with corporate recruiting teams at Gannett and Knight Ridder. He has interviewed hundreds of people, reviewed thousands of job candidates on paper and recruited at hundreds of job fairs and college campus career days. In 1993, he established an annual jobs fair in Detroit.

In 1997, he launched the JobsPage, a journalism career site, at He spun off a journalism careers blog, "Ask the Recruiter" in 2003. It became part of Poynter Online's Career Center in 2006. He has been a regular contributor to Editor & Publisher magazine, the Newspaper Association of America's Fusion magazine and UNITY: Journalists of Color.

Grimm published two books in 2012. "Coney Detroit," co-authored with Ketherine Yung, tells the story of Detroit's signature coney island hot dogs. "The New Bullying," was written and produced by one of his journalism classes in just 101 days.

Grimm's new series of Bias Bsters guides is modeled after "100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans," which he published in 2000. He posted that guide the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and it became a timely and heavily trafficked publication.

Grimm joined the Free Press in 1983 and has been a copy editor, news editor, front-page designer, weekend editor and ombudsman. He began his newspaper career at the Oakland Press where he was a copy editor, wire editor, copy desk chief, page-one designer, regional editor and associate editor. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism and a teaching certificate from the University of Michigan.

He was an adjunct professor at Oakland University from about 1980 to 2009. There, he taught media editing, copy editing, basic reporting, editorial writing and photojournalism.

Grimm is also an armchair historian. He co-authored "Windjammers: Songs of the Great Lakes Sailors," which was the Center for Great Lakes Culture's 2003 non-fiction book of the year. A companion book, "Songquest," came out in June, 2005. His compilation "Michigan Voices: Our State's History in the Words of the People Who lived It," has been through several printings since first being published in 1987.

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