After attending his first folk festival in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1936, he began to search for people who could teach him folk songs. He spent time listening to recordings from the Library of Congress that his stepmother Ruth Crawford was transcribing, and he learned from live encounters with Aunt Molly Jackson, Lead Belly, Thomas Hart Benton, and Bascom Lamar Lunsford. Following in his father’s footsteps, he had started Harvard University in 1936, but dropped out after two years, intending to become a journalist. Unable to find a job in journalism, he soon began to pursue music, working for Alan Lomax at the Archive of American Folksong at the Library of Congress.
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