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

Longino Home

Longino Home

Sam Houston State Professor William Longino and his wife Grace lived at 1721 Avenue I. John A. Lomax visited the Longino home (no longer standing) in 1939 and recorded Grace Longino singing songs she remembered from her childhood. | Source: Huntsville Arts Commission. View File Details Page

Grace Longino

Grace Longino

Grace Crawford Longino, seen in this 1962 photograph, is best remembered in Huntsville for her beautification and historic preservation efforts. In May 1939, just a couple weeks before her 38th birthday, John A. Lomax recorded her singing tunes she had sung with her family when she was growing up. | Source: Huntsville Arts Commission. View File Details Page

Grace Crawford Longino

Grace Crawford Longino

About 35 years before this photograph of Grace Crawford Longino was taken, John A. Lomax recorded her singing songs she had learned as a child. | Source: Elizabeth Treiber View File Details Page

William Longino

William Longino

William Longino, seen in the 1941 Alcalde yearbook, was a language professor at Sam Houston State Teachers College. When John A. Lomax visited Huntsville in 1939, Professor Longino assisted him with recording inmates at the Huntsville prison and also hosted him in his home where Lomax recorded his wife Grace Longino singing. | Source: Sam Houston State University Archives View File Details Page

Catalog Record for "I Like to Live in the Country"

Catalog Record for "I Like to Live in the Country"

The exact date for this catalog record for Grace Longino's recording of "I Like to Live in the Country" has been marked out. According to the Lomaxes'records, the recording took place on May 13, 1939. | Source: American Folklife Center, Library of Congress View File Details Page

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 View File Details Page

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 Congress View File Details Page

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 Folklife Center, Library of Congress View File Details Page

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 View File Details Page

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 View File Details Page

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 View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Amy Bertsch, “Grace Longino Recordings,” East Texas History, accessed June 25, 2017, http://easttexashistory.org/items/show/13.
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