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The Collection | Marvin Hedrick | The Project


The Collection

Boxes from the collection

In April 2015, Gary and David Hedrick donated to the Center for Popular Music the Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection, a cache of live recordings made by their father, Marvin Hedrick. The collection comprises 187 sound recordings (including 138 open reels, 31 cassettes, and 18 CDs) and approximately 175 hours of audio. Most of the recordings were made by Marvin between 1954 and 1973 in Bean Blossom, Indiana, site of the Brown County Jamboree and, starting in 1967, Bill Monroe’s annual Bluegrass Festival. The collection also includes recordings of jam sessions, radio broadcasts, and live performances from other venues. Most of the music recorded is classic-era bluegrass, featuring such artists as Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys, Reno and Smiley, Mac Wiseman, The Country Gentlemen, The Stanley Brothers, Flatt and Scruggs, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, The Stoneman Family, Jim and Jessie, The Osborne Brothers, and others.


Photographs included on this site come from the Center for Popular Music’s Marvin Hedrick and Jim Peva Collections.



Marvin Hedrick 

Marvin HedrickA native of Brown County, Marvin Hedrick (1925–1973) grew up on a farm near Story, Indiana. As a teenager he developed an interest in radio, building a crystal radio set that ran off the battery in the family’s Model A Ford to listen to the Louisiana Hayride, the National Barn Dance, the Grand Ole Opry, and other broadcasts of what was often called “hillbilly music” in the 1930s and 40s. He first came to Bean Blossom in 1942 or 1943 to experience live country music shows, including appearances by some of the genre’s biggest stars. Hedrick also learned to play guitar as a boy, and continued to play throughout his life. Excluded from military service for medical reasons, he attended the DeForest Radio School in Chicago, later working for RCA in Bloomington, Indiana as a radio line repairman. In the 1950s he opened his own radio and television repair shop next to his house in Brown County.


Around the time that Bill Monroe purchased the Brown County Jamboree at Bean Blossom in 1952, Hedrick befriended the bluegrass pioneer, whose music he had been enamored with since the previous decade. Hedrick convinced a skeptical Monroe to let him bring tape recording equipment to the jamboree, making tapes of live shows that Marvin could enjoy later while working in the shop. By the late 1950s and early 60s, Hedrick had become a mentor to other bean Blossom recordists, including Jim Peva, Neil Rosenberg, Mike Seeger, and Ralph Rinzler. Hedrick persuaded Monroe that allowing such recordings would not undercut sales of his commercial recordings and, to the contrary, could help boost his career. In the mid 1960s Monroe hired Hedrick to install the first sound system in the “old barn” at Bean Blossom (payment involved an old Gibson F-4 mandolin on which Marvin’s sons Gary and David learned), allowing Marvin to upgrade his recording setup. Hedrick continued to be a central figure in the music-making at Bean Blossom and elsewhere in Brown County until his tragic, accidental death in 1973.


The Project

This project, funded by a generous Preservation Implementation Grant from the GRAMMY Foundation (now part of the GRAMMY Museum), involved the preservation, digitization, and cataloging of the audio tapes in the Marvin Hedrick Collection. Each tape was evaluated and appropriate steps were taken to ensure their preservation, including baking, splicing, and re-spooling. The tapes’ audio contents were digitized to uncompressed 192kHz/24-bit Wave files and tagged with essential metadata. Tape boxes, cartridges, and other physical items were scanned as 600 dpi TIFF images.

Each tape was listened to and tagged with song titles, performers, dates, and other information. Metadata was entered into CONTENTdm archival management software. A Finding Aid was also created, giving an overview of the collection and its contents.


Project Staff

Director: Gregory Reish 

Lead Researcher: John Fabke

Audio Preservationist: Martin Fisher

Librarian and Webmaster: Lindsay Million

Archivist: Rachel Morris

Cataloger: Mary-Frances Hansard



We would like to thank the following individuals and organizations who made this project possible!

David Hedrick, Gary Hedrick

The GRAMMY Foundation

Eddie Adcock, Martha Hearon Adcock, Kent Blanton, Samantha Cantrell, Mike Compton, Yvonne Elliott, Julie Gannon, Alice Gerrard, Samson Grisman, Mark Hembree, Tom Morgan, Jim Moss, Tim O’Brien, Jim Peva, Neil Rosenberg, Nate Shuppert, Jeremy Stephens, David Talbot, Chris Warner, Roland White, Mac Wiseman




Table of Contents scan from tape #155


Future Projects

Working with project staff from the Center for Popular Music, Nashville-based and Indiana-native filmmaker Nate Shuppert is currently working on a short documentary about the music at Bean Blossom and the central role Marvin Hedrick played in preserving it. The film will include newly conducted interviews with Gary Hedrick, David Hedrick, Jim Peva, Neil Rosenberg, and members of the project staff.  



For More Information

For additional reading about the history of Bean Blossom, and about Marvin Hedrick’s importance to the musical events there, see Thomas A. Adler’s Bean Blossom: The Brown County Jamboree and Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Festivals (University of Illinois Press, 2011), Jim Peva’s Bean Blossom: Its People and Its Music (Infinity Publishing, 2006), and Neil Rosenberg’s Bluegrass Generation: A Memoir (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming). 




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