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Gordon Ekvall Tracie Music Library

Located at the Nordic Heritage Museum
3014 Northwest 67th Street
Seattle, Washington 98117

(Yahoo Map)

Gordon Ekvall Tracie,

photo J. David Lamb

Gordon Ekvall Tracie Music Library
Gordon Ekvall Tracie devoted over four decades to the study and promotion of Nordic traditional music and dance. At his death in 1988, Gordon bequeathed his extensive music, dance, and text collections to Skandia Music Foundation, with the request that the collections be kept together and made available to the public. Through the cooperative efforts of the Foundation and Nordic Heritage Museum, the Gordon Ekvall Tracie Music Library (the Tracie Music Library) was opened in March 1995 as a research archive of traditional Nordic music and dance.

The core of the Tracie Music Library collection is the material collected by Gordon Tracie from the 1940s through the late 1980s -  audio and video recordings as well as written documentation of Scandinavian folk and traditional music, dance, costumes, customs, folklore and folk art.  (Note:  In this context, Scandinavia includes Denmark, the Faeroes, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.)

The collection includes over 500 original reel-to-reel field recordings made by Tracie during his numerous research trips to the Scandinavian countries, as well as over 300 reels documenting conversations, dance programs, presentations and radio programs. While many of Tracie's important field recordings have been catalogued in detail, the cataloguing of the extensive materials in the Tracie Music Library is ongoing.

In addition to these important field recordings, the Tracie Music Library houses several thousand commercial and non-commercial recordings on a wide array of media, as well as photos, negatives, slides, posters, music and dance notations, and hundreds of texts and written works. Like much of the commercially recorded music in the Tracie Music Library, many of the books, monographs, periodicals, sheet music, and dance notes are now out of print and have become valuable to researchers.

Among the treasures are writings by Gordon Tracie himself, including outlines, notes, comments and manuscripts related to his extensive production of dance descriptions and articles on dance and music.  Among other notable material is his 1961 booklet, The Folk Music of Sweden, commissioned by the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation.  As part of Gordon Tracie’s legacy, the Tracie Music Library includes special collections of documents and artifacts from and about pivotal Northwest groups and personalities:  Skandia Folkdance Society founded by Tracie in 1949; Nordiska Folkdancers which evolved from the original 1949 performing "Scandia Folkdancers”; the Skandia Music Foundation founded by Tracie in 1970 as a repository and guardian for his material legacy; and key Scandinavian folk music and dance personalities of the Pacific Northwest.  Today Skandia Music Foundation continues to participate in funding the maintenance and operation of the Tracie Music Library through an endowment to Nordic Heritage Museum.

With Gordon Tracie's legacy as a valuable and extensive base, the Tracie Music Library has continued to acquire materials by donation, purchase, and commission. One of the Tracie Music Library's particular missions is the continuing documentation of Nordic folk music and dance in the Pacific Northwest.

Because the Tracie Music Library is a research archive, materials may not be checked out but may be used in the library with archivist assistance.  Some audiocassettes of these materials are available for listening.  With very few exceptions, copies of library materials may be made by library staff for users' personal study or non-commercial use. 

Please contact Kathi Ploeger, Archivist, Gordon Ekvall Tracie Music Library to make an appointment for a visit or for other library-service requests.

kathip at nordicmuseum dot org

(206) 789-5707 extension 13

Or write:
Gordon Ekvall Tracie Music Library
Nordic Heritage Museum
3014 NW 67th St
Seattle, WA 98117

updated 01/18/13