Connie Converse: Folk Singer, Scholar

Eric Schewe at JSTOR Daily:

The coincidence of artistic and academic talent is not uncommon in brilliant people; how to reconcile and channel those talents is often a challenge. The world is getting better acquainted with such a talent, 1950s singer-songwriter Elizabeth Converse, with the release of a new book about her life this month. Converse, who performed as “Connie,” sang self-penned solo songs with her guitar around New York City at a time that such a highly personal perspective was unusual. She was just a few years too early for the folk music revival around 1960, and she never received much recognition or a recording contract. As a result, her work only survives in archival home recordings, which were revived in radio shows in this century. Much of it is both hauntingly beautiful and wickedly funny, such as “The Witch and the Wizard.” The intriguing end to her story was her disappearance at age fifty in 1974. Downplayed in most recent accounts of her life is her work writing for and editing academic publications on international politics. JSTOR has articles from two phases of her scholarly career, before and after her folk music recordings.

more here.