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UMass Dartmouth Eisteddfod records

Identifier: MC-002

Scope and Contents

The collection is divided into 4 series. Series I, festival records, includes press releases, budget estimates, and memoranda from the Eisteddfod Executive Committee (EEC), festival programs, brochures, and biographies of the many Eisteddfod performers. This series also contains the yearly publications of the Ceilidh Columns (compiled by EEC members and Eisteddfod performers), Eisteddfod editions of The Torch and The Observer (two UMD newspapers), photographs of Eisteddfod performers, music reviews from various newspapers and magazines, and student reviews. Series II are files kept by CVPA which pertain to artists and performers of the Eisteddfod Festival. Series III are audiocassette recordings of performances, and Series IV are commercial recordings featuring participating artists.


  • 1970 - 1996

Language of Materials

Material predominantly in English

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

Records indicate that the first eisteddfod was held in 1176 at Cardigan Castle in West Wales where poets and musicians competitively performed for the royalty (eisteddfod is a Welsh word meaning a gathering of bards and minstrels). In 1858, the first public, national eisteddfod was held in Wales at Llangollen. There were very few, if any, eisteddfod festivals during World War I and II; in 1947, however, in an attempt to break down cultural and political barriers, the first International Musical Festival was held. The festival took place in Llandollen where people of many cultural backgrounds (Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, and Yugoslavian to name a few) came together to enjoy one another's cultural and musical traditions, and to perform as well. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth professor and artist Howard Glasser made several trips to Scotland in the early 1960s. The rich, traditional music of the Scottish people so inspired Glasser that he began to form ceilidhs at the Carnegie-Mellon University where he had been instructing (ceilidh is a Scotts-Gaelic word for a gathering of friends). Glasser moved his ceilidhs to the University of Rhode Island in Kingston and then to the Southeastern Massachusetts University (SMU; now University of Massachusetts Dartmouth). The ceilidhs at SMU met on Friday nights attracting traditional musicians from Boston and Providence to informally perform in front of small audiences. In 1971, Glasser founded the first Eisteddfod Festival at SMU. International traditional musicians were now drawn to SMU's campus for the festive event. Though the eisteddfodae are more formal and larger scaled than the ceilidhs, the two events coexisted through the 1970s (the ceilidhs were held on a weekly or monthly basis whereas the eisteddfodae were held for three consecutive days in the early fall). The ceilidhs on campus ceased in 1980, but the annual Eisteddfod festival was held annually in October through 1996. In 1996, the UMD Eisteddfod celebrated its 25th anniversary, however, in May of 1997 campus administration decided to withdraw funding for the annual event. There was no festival held between 1997 and 2000. Funding for the UMD Eisteddfod festival was provided by the Allocations Committee, the New England Foundation for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and annual student fees. Organization of the festival is provided by the Eisteddfod Executive Committee. The committee is comprised of professors of traditional music, performers and artists of traditional music, traditional storytellers, broadcasters of folk-radio, and others who may have a great interest in the annual UMD Eisteddfod Festivals.


12 Linear Feet (18 manuscript boxes, 9 audio cassette boxes and one record carton )

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The bulk of the collection was received in November 1996 (Accession # 97-10 and 97-11). Files kept by CVPA were later acquired in November 1998 (Accession # 99-4).

Processing Information

the collection is an aggregate of items transferred from 4 sources - the Office of the Dean of Visual and Performing Arts, the Office of News and Public Information, the University Library’s Audio-Visual department, recordings from the collection of Howard T. Glasser, and selected files already deposited in the Archives and Special Collections. Processing and finding aid completed February 1997 by Julie Fernandes ’99 (later edited in November 1998 and 2010).

UMass Dartmouth Eisteddfod records
Julie Fernandes (class of 1999)
February 1997
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Edited in November 1998 and in 2010). Updated February 2016.

Repository Details

Part of the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Repository

285 Old Westport Rd.
N. Dartmouth MA 02747 USA