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Nolan Porterfield (Author)
Born:  February 26, 1936
Died:  May 18, 2020

About The Author

Nolan Porterfield at International Country Music Conference - May 21, 2014 Nolan Porterfield was born in Colorado, but when he was six years old, his family moved to Texas. He always considered Texas his home. He received his B. A. and M. A. degrees from Texas Tech University and his Ph.D. form the University of Iowa.

The 1950's found him working in newspaper production and advertising with the Denver City Press (TX), Daily Indpendent, The Chicago Tribune and the Lamesa Daily Reporter (TX).

He served in the U.S. Army where he was stationed at Fifth U.S. Army Headquarters. He was awarded the Army COmmendation Medal for meritorius service.

In 1964, he began a 31 year assocation with Southeast Missouri State University where he retired as Professor Emeritus of English and Writer in Residence.

In 1997, He won the Center for American History's Historical Achievement Award (1997). He was nominated for a Grammy award in 1987 for Best Album Notes — "Jimmie Rodgers On Record: America's Blue Yodeler".

Texas Tech University has a "Nolan Porterfield Oral History." He talked about his early career, the process of writing and how we went about writing the biographies of Jimmie Rodgers and John Lomax.

He was the producer and host of "Old Scratchy Records" on WKU public radio.

His obituary mentions we was a member of the Authors Guild, Assocation for Recorded Sound Collections, American Folklore Society, Texas Folklore Society and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bowling Green (KY).

Research did find a rather humorous letter to the editor of the Park City Daily News in Bowling Green, KY in 1996. Our encounters with him showed him to be a gracious person and full of stories and anecdotes. I recall one conversation at an ICMC conference asking him about a guy mentioned in his book as having some unknown Jimmie Rodgers recordings. He told me I must have had a first edition of that book as he had to take that part out because it did not pan out. But here is that letter to the editor from February 6, 1996:

Reader Spots Problem With History in Caption

Editor, Daily News:
I note with considerable interest the picture on page 1-B of your Jan. 25 edition, depicting an object described in the caption as "an 1861 Victrola phonograph."

In light of the fact that Edison didn't get around to inventing the phonograph until 1877, and the Victor Talking Machine Co. didn't exist until October 1901, this is noting short of a miracle. Surely you have called this to the attention of the national news services, the television networks, and all those whom you employ to check the accuracy of what you print...
Nolan Porterfield
Bowling Green

Managing Editor David Bauer replied...
"For some reason, the national news services and television networks weren't too interested. Those here who were responsible for changing history, however, did take note and learned more the day after the picture appeared about the history of sound recording than they probably ever expected to learn."

Nolan Porterfield and Erika Brady at International Country Music Conference - May 21, 2014

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