Labor Folklorist Archie Green Dead at 91

Folklorist Archie Green, who specialized in the songs, language and customs of America’s working class, died Sunday (March 22) at his home in San Francisco at the age of 91. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on June 29, 1917, of Ukrainian Jewish parents, he and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1922. As a youth he was drawn both to the vigor and color of the laboring world and the intellectual rigor and excitement of academic life. Thus, he was equally ardent in his careers as a shipwright, teacher and folklorist. After earning a master’s degree in library science and a doctor’s degree in folklore, Green, in 1972, published his first and still most famous book, Only a Miner: Studies in Recorded Coal-Mining Songs. Green was also instrumental in the establishment of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. He was a principal editor of the 2007 volume The Big Red Songbook: 250-Plus IWW Songs!, a compilation of the best music from the various editions of the International Workers of the World’s Little Red Songbook.