Grace Longino Recordings

As part of their Southern States Recording Trip in 1939, John A. Lomax and his wife Ruby Terrill Lomax attempted to expand their catalog of folk music by incorporating a wider variety of genres, and the contributions of Huntsville resident Grace Crawford Longino reflect that effort. The Lomaxes also acknowledged Mrs. Longino and her husband for their assistance in scheduling appointments and locating musicians in the Walker County area.

The wife of William Longino, a professor at Sam Houston State Teachers College, Grace was an accomplished local figure in her own right. For her recording session with the Lomaxes, she recalled songs that she had sung with her parents, brothers, and sisters as a child living in North and East Texas. Her family had "delighted in gathering at night and on Sunday afternoon to sing." They sang while doing chores as a family and Grace also had a brother who worked as a cowboy and shared songs he learned on the job.

When the Lomaxes visited the Longino home at 1721 Avenue I (no longer present), Grace was two weeks shy of her 38th birthday. The Lomaxes' field notes indicate that she shared seven songs but only six appear to have been catalogued with "The Filly" missing from the collection. She sang sentimental songs and a children's song, among others. Most of these tunes lasted only a minute or two, with "Green Grass Growing all Around" the longest at three and a half minutes. They varied significantly from the style and content of those shared by the convicted felons at the nearby Huntsville and Goree prisons whom the Lomaxes recorded on the same visit.

After her husband died in 1947 while traveling in Mexico with his students, Grace took the position of grounds superintendent at the urging of college president Harmon Lowman. A master gardner and former head of the Huntsville Garden Club, Grace was designated "Campus Beautician" and established a small greenhouse and nursery to grow plants for her landscaping improvements.

In the early 1950s, she became director of the Sam Houston Memorial Park and Museum, which had fallen into disrepair since its opening for the Texas Centennial in 1936. She enlisted the help of an inmate labor detail from the nearby prison to carry out the work and she also successfully pursued state funding for preservation and museum expansion. Later she began the tradition of hosting a birthday party honoring Sam Houston's wife Margaret, whom she portrayed in period costume, to raise awareness of Margaret's contributions to Texas history. Grace served as museum director until the early 1970s and died in 2002.

Images

Audio

Be Sure You Are Right
Grace Longino sang "Be Sure You Are Right," one of several songs she learned as a child, for John A. Lomax's recording session at the Longino home in Huntsville. ~ Source: American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
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Green Grass Growing All Around
As part of his Southern States Recording Trip in 1939, John A. Lomax recorded Grace Longino, wife of a Sam Houston State professor, singing "Green Grass Growing All Around" at their home. ~ Source: American Folklife Center, Library of...
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I Like to Live in the Country
Grace Longino sang "I Like to Live in the Country" and several other songs when John A. Lomax visited her Huntsville home in 1939. She told him that she and her family often sang songs together when she was growing up. ~ Source: American...
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Little Bunch of Roses
Grace Longino sang "Little Bunch of Roses" for John A. Lomax's recording session at her Huntsville home in 1939. ~ Source: American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
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No, Sir, No
John A. Lomax recorded Grace Longino singing the ballad "No, Sir, No" at her Huntsville home in 1939. ~ Source: American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
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Roly Boly
Grace Longino sang "Roly Boly," a song she described said was a "baby's game," when John A. Lomax visited her home in 1939 to record songs she had learned as a child. ~ Source: American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
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