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Behind every collector's obsession is a story. Hear the world's most passionate enthusiasts share surprising tales about their personal collections — and their unbreakable connections with them.

Mar 7, 2022

In the 1920s and 30s, Harvard scholar James Madison Carpenter traveled in the northeastern U.S. and along the British coast to collect sea shanties, the maritime work songs that rose to prominence among sailors in the early 19th century. His notes and recordings of sailors preserved many shanties that would have otherwise been lost to history. To help tell Carpenter's story, musician and scholar Bob Walser shares insights into the Carpenter collection and the lasting popularity of sea shanties.

The James Madison Carpenter Collection Project at the University of Aberdeen:

The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library's digital archive of Carpenter's collection:

Bob Walser's website:

Opening theme: "Keepers" by Still Flyin'

Closing theme: "Slow Draw/Feeling In My Heart" by Eric Frisch

Additional music by Cameron Deyell