Thomas W. Talley

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Born: 1870

Died: 1952


Thomas Washington Talley was a professor of chemistry at Fisk University. He was also a pioneering ethnographer. In 1922 he published Negro Folk Rhymes, a collection of black traditional songs from rural Tennessee. The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture notes that "this successful publication was the first serious collection of folksongs from Tennessee, the first compilation of black secular folksong, and the first to be assembled by a black scholar." In addition, Talley was a gifted musician. He sang bass and toured with the New Fisk Jubilee Singers. He was director of Fisk's Mozart Society and for a time conducted the Fisk Choir.

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