Friedman, Albert B. 1920-2006 (Albert Barron Friedman)

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Friedman, Albert B. 1920-2006 (Albert Barron Friedman)


See index for CA sketch: Born August 16, 1920, in Kansas City, MO; died of heart failure, November 11, 2006, in Los Angeles, CA. Educator and author. A retired English professor who was on the faculty at Claremont Graduate School, Friedman was an authority on folk ballads and songs from medieval Europe through early American history. He finished his B.A. at the University of Missouri in 1941 and did his graduate work at Harvard, earning an M.A. in 1942. During World War II, he served in U.S. Army Intelligence in Burma. Taken prisoner by the Japanese, he later received a Legion of Merit medal. Friedman returned to Harvard after the war to complete a Ph.D. in 1952. He then joined the Harvard faculty, teaching there until 1960. Moving to California, he spent the rest of his academic career at Claremont Graduate School, retiring as William Starke Rosecrans Professor of English in 1988. As a scholar, Friedman was fascinated by the bawdy, violent verses characteristic of what he called the preliterate Middle Ages. Focusing on the British Isles, he studied English, Scottish, and Viking songs, which also led him to research folk songs of Appalachia and sea chanties and frontier ballads of early America. As editor, he compiled many of these in Folk Ballads of the English-Speaking World (1956; revised as The Viking Book of Folk Ballads of the English-Speaking World (1982). He also was the author of other books, including The Ballad Revival: Studies in the Influence of Popular on Sophisticated Poetry (1961) and The Usable Myth (1970). After retiring, Friedman moved to the Hollywood Hills outside Los Angeles and enjoyed his hobby of painting.



Los Angeles Times, November 19, 2006, p. B17.

New York Times, November 20, 2006, p. A25.

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Friedman, Albert B. 1920-2006 (Albert Barron Friedman)

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