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Photo of Max Hunter, sitting in a chair with a pipe
Max Hunter, circa 1950

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Max Hunter Collection
A Local Legacy

Without people like Max Hunter, important pieces of our nation's history would be lost. He alone preserved more than 20 years of music and folk stories from people in the Ozarks. Can you guess how he did it?

Hunter was a traveling salesman from Springfield, Missouri, who went into the hills and backwoods of the Ozark Mountains. He took a reel-to-reel tape recorder with him to record folk songs and stories of the people in this remote area. Thanks to him, 1,600 Ozark Mountain folk songs, recorded between 1956 and 1972, are available for listening at the Springfield-Greene County Library in Springfield, Missouri.

It was a good thing that Hunter recorded these folk tales and songs when he did, because once radio and TV became popular, people in the Ozarks stopped sitting on their porches entertaining themselves with stories and music. Many patterns of Ozark life would have been lost.

Can you imagine what listening to these songs will tell you about life in the Ozarks that you won't find in a history book?

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