Donor Spotlight: Patricia Cannon Childs

The continued success of the Hindman Settlement School is dependent on the generous support of donors with a heart for the region and a vested interest in our mission of serving the changing needs of Appalachia. But not all support comes in the financial form. One such donor, Patricia Cannon Childs from Nashville, TN gifted us with a surprising and immensely valuable resource we are honored to home here on our historic campus.

Patricia Cannon Childs reached out to us in the Fall of 2020 with a unique offer. Her late husband, Dr. Earl V Spielman, was a classically trained violinist and dedicated fiddler, who tramped remote mountain areas in Appalachia with his backpack in order to collect local fiddle tunes before they were lost to the mists of antiquity.  His love of music informed his work as a music lawyer in his company, Copyright Infringement Consultants where he provided legal representation to musicians. His work as a music lawyer and “forensic musicologist” as he called himself required a large amount of research resources.  Patricia shared that “Earl and I enjoyed travelling the world in order to acquire unusual volumes and folios to build his remarkable collection of songbooks and music research books. This collection gradually expanded into an invaluable research library for his company.” 

Patricia, a musically talented and warm soul in her own right, reached out to us in the Fall of 2020 in hopes that the Hindman Settlement School could put some of these music resources to use. Sarah Kate Morgan, Traditional Arts Education Director, took several trips to Nashville and sorted through hundreds of books. In all, more that 250 music and songbooks were gifted to the Settlement. Titles range from “The Fiddlers Almanac”, “Folk Songs of the World”, “Country Music USA”, “Bluegrass Breakdown” and hundreds more. This extensive collection includes including of copy of  Earl’s very own doctoral thesis, titled Traditional North American fiddling: a methodology for the historical and comparative analytical style study of instrumental musical traditions” 

These music books will form the Spielman Music Lending Library, tucked into a cozy reading nook in the Great Hall here on our campus. These books are intended to be a resource and a retreat for musicians and music lovers when they visit our campus!