From Chapter 10

I Saw America Changed Through Music: Harry Smith and the Anthology of American Folk Music

In 1952, a twenty-nine-year-old record collector named Harry Everett Smith squirreled himself away in a two-room office at 111 West Forty-Seventh Street, chewing on peyote buttons and compiling a six-LP compendium for Folkways Records. The Anthology of American Folk Music, which was released by Folkways in…

Read More at Pitchfork

From Chapter 9

“Now There’s a Man on His Way Down: James McKune, the Jazz Record Center, and the Rise of 78 Collecting”

There’s a pervasive, romantic notion of the Outsider as Omniscient Loner: preoccupied, brooding, mumbly. He is human—for example, he might read a paperback book that he tugged from the back pocket of his jeans, or gaze intently into a woman’s eyes for a beat too long—but he doesn’t celebrate holidays or use the toilet. He is usually leaning against a wall. This is one way of thinking about it.

Read More at Brooklyn Magazine


Geeshie Wiley

“Last Kind Word Blues”

Blind Uncle Gaspard

“Sur le Borde de l’Eau”

Willie Brown

“Future Blues”

Skip James

“Devil Got My Woman”



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About Amanda

Amanda Petrusich is the author of “Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records” (Scribner; 2014), “It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music” (Faber and Faber; 2008), and “Pink Moon,” an installment in Continuum/Bloomsbury’s acclaimed 33 1/3 series. She is a contributing writer for Pitchfork and a contributing editor at The Oxford American, and her music and culture writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Spin, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. She has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University and presently teaches writing and criticism at NYU’s Gallatin School. She lives in Brooklyn.

Selected Other Work

Dragged Through the Forest: The Long Gone Sound of Amede Ardoin

The Oxford American

Snacks on Snacks on Snacks: Alan Lomax’s ‘Ballads, Blues, and Bluegrass’

The Oxford American

All This Light: 48 Hours in Miami with the Ever-Mercurial Chan Marshall


Here Together Are Our Hearts: The Love Songs of Sharon Van Etten


Flowing Hair, Tight Pants? Women Can Rock That

The New York Times

How To Hunt Bigfoot

The New York Times

The Legacy of A Camera-Toting Huckster

The New York Times

In the Shadow of What If

The New York Times

A Boat of Biblical Proportions

The Atlantic

Dispatches From the Front Lines of Florida’s Wild Python Hunt


Is It Time for Us to Take Astrology Seriously?



Rob Sheffield

“This is American history as the tale of an American obsession – the record collectors, be they scholars, scroungers, hoarders, or heroes. In this brilliant book, Petrusich hits the road with these junk-shop blues Ahabs around the country – she makes you feel the frenzy of the chase, on a crazed, loving quest to rescue lost music from oblivion.”

– Rob Sheffield, author of Love Is a Mix Tape and Turn Around Bright Eyes

John Jeremiah Sullivan

“One of the best things I’ve read about that inexplicably, but endlessly, fascinating group of people, the so-called Serious Collectors of 78s. Petrusich burrows into not just their personalities but the hunger that unites and drives their obsessions. She writes elegantly, and makes you think, and most important manages to hang onto her skepticism in the midst of her own collecting quest.”

– John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of Pulphead and Blood Horses

William Ferris

“Do Not Sell at Any Price tracks generations of obsessive collectors who dedicated their lives to the holy grail of blues and country music–78rpm records. Inspired by collectors like R. Crumb and Harry Smith, Amanda Petrusich wants each record ‘to keep playing forever, from somewhere deep inside my skull.’ Her book is essential reading for all who love American music.”

– William Ferris, author of Blues from the Delta and The Storied South

Lenny Kaye

“Amanda Petrusich’s fascinating and insightful journey into the arcane netherworld of 78 records and its bring-‘em-back-alive collectors brims with the joy and passion of discovery, along with a heartfelt affection for those who keep alight the flame of our musical heritage.”

– Lenny Kaye, guitarist, Nuggets anthologist, author You Call It Madness

Will Hermes

“Petrusich enters the dusty realms of 78 rpm record junkies, and like Rolling Stones chronicler Stanley Booth, catches her subjects’ disease. But she’s mostly interested in the emotional heart of things, and the old music’s strange power. An entertaining road tale and moving self-interrogation that dives deep for answers, sometimes literally.”

– Will Hermes, author of Love Goes to Buildings on Fire

Ann Powers

“This is an adventure story: Amanda in the Land of Magical Shellac. Petrusich, a warm and witty writer and longtime music journalist, encounters the eccentric, soulful characters who’ve devoted their lives to the arcane practice of hunting old records, shares stories of great lost musicians, and ponders the philosophical issues that make collecting more than just a fancy version of hoarding. Readers will be delighted to become her confidantes on this life-changing journey.”

– Ann Powers, author of Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America

Ken Jennings

“I don’t know hillbilly from Blind Willie, but I loved Amanda Petrusich’s archaeology of an almost-lost world of American music. Do Not Sell at Any Price is like a well-loved 78: it pops, it crackles, it seduces utterly.”

– Ken Jennings, author of Maphead


Simon & Schuster




Barnes & Noble








Indie Bound



For Press Requests & Bookings

Kyle Radler

E-mail: kyle.radler@simonandschuster(-dot-)com

For General Questions

Amanda Petrusich

E-mail: petrusich@gmail(-dot-)com