Arts & Entertainment

Prominent folklorist Bess Lomax Hawes dies at 88


Listen to story

03:17
Download this story 1.0MB

Musician and folklorist Bess Lomax Hawes died last week. She was 88 years old. (Audio: KPCC's Alex Cohen talks with Sabina Magliocco, the anthropology department chairwoman at Cal State Northridge, about Hawes' work.)

Bess Lomax Hawes came from a great family of folklorists. She was the daughter of legendary musicologist John Lomax and the sister of musicologist Alan Lomax. Hawes spent a lifetime documenting American folklore in recordings and films. In the 1967 film Pizza Pizza Daddy-O, Hawes captured a group of African-American girls playing singing and clapping games on a Pacoima playground.

Hawes also had a musical side. She sang with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger and co-wrote the Kingston Trio hit "M.T.A." She also taught music at UCLA, the Idyllwild summer festival and at San Fernando Valley State College, now known as Cal State University Northridge.