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Gordon Ekvall Tracie Music Library


Gordon Ekvall Tracie

Gordon Ekvall Tracie devoted more than four decades to the study and promotion of Nordic traditional music and dance. At his death in 1988, Gordon bequeathed his extensive music, dance, and text collections to Skandia Music Foundation, with the request that the collections be kept together and made available to the public. Through the cooperative efforts of the foundation and the Nordic Heritage Museum, the Gordon Ekvall Tracie Music Library (the Tracie Music Library) was opened in March 1995 as a research archive of traditional Nordic music and dance. 


Materials Available in the Tracie Music Library

The core of the Tracie Music Library collection is the material collected by Gordon Tracie from the 1940s through the late 1980s — audio and video recordings as well as written documentation of Scandinavian folk and traditional music, dance, costumes, customs, folklore, and folk art. (Note: In this context, Scandinavia includes Denmark, the Faroes, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.) 

The collection includes more than 500 original reel-to-reel field recordings made by Tracie during his numerous research trips to the Scandinavian countries, as well as more than 300 reels documenting conversations, dance programs, presentations, and radio programs. While many of Tracie's important field recordings have been cataloged in detail, the cataloging of the extensive materials in the Tracie Music Library is ongoing. 

In addition, the Music Library currently holds 1,000 33-rpm long-play records, 800 45s, and 1,200 78s, as well as 1,700 audiocassettes, digital audio tapes, and audio compact discs. There are film and video recordings, photos, exhibit boards, posters, sheet music and dance notations, and periodical collections, as well as nearly 2,000 texts and written works. Many of the Library's materials are now out of print and have become all the more valuable to researchers. The Gordon Ekvall Tracie Music Library numbers close to 8,400 items. 

Among the treasures are writings by Gordon Tracie himself, including outlines, notes, comments, and manuscripts related to his extensive production of dance descriptions and articles on dance and music. Among other notable materials is his 1961 booklet, The Folk Music of Sweden, commissioned by the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation. 

As part of Gordon Tracie’s legacy, the Tracie Music Library includes special collections of documents and artifacts from and about pivotal Northwest groups and personalities: Skandia Folkdance Society founded by Tracie in 1949; Nordiska Folkdancers, which evolved from the original 1949 performing "Scandia Folkdancers”; the Skandia Music Foundation founded by Tracie in 1970 as a repository and guardian for his material legacy; and key Scandinavian folk music and dance personalities of the Pacific Northwest. Today Skandia Music Foundation continues to participate in funding the maintenance and operation of the Tracie Music Library through an endowment to the Nordic Heritage Museum.

With Gordon Tracie's legacy as a valuable and extensive base, the Tracie Music Library has continued to acquire materials by donation, purchase, and commission. One of the Tracie Music Library's particular missions is the continuing documentation of Nordic folk music and dance in the Pacific Northwest. 

Because the Tracie Music Library is a research archive, materials may not be checked out but may be used in the library with archivist assistance. Some materials are available for listening. With some exceptions, copies of library materials may be made by library staff for users' personal study or non-commercial use. 

The Gordon Ekvall Tracie Music Library is closed to public inquiries until the Museum reopens in May 2018. Please check back then.

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