The Archive was formally established in 1961 as a research unit of the Institute of Ethnomusicology. When the Institute was disestablished in 1974, the Archive became part of the Department of Music. In 1988 the Archive became part of the newly formed Department of Ethnomusicology and Systematic Musicology, which was renamed the Department of Ethnomusicology in 1996.
In 1961, Professor Mantle Hood, Director of the Institute of Ethnomusicology, asked Archivist Ann Briegleb Schuursma to establish the Ethnomusicology Archive. Schuursma served as the Archivist from 1961 until her retirement in 1984. Norah Yeh was Acting Archivist in 1984-1985. Louise Spear, who arrived in 1985, held the position of Director (1985-1997) and Archivist (1985-2003) before she permanently retired in 2003. Maureen Russell–Head of Cataloging and Archive Operations Manager–came to the Archive in 1989. From 2002-2004, John Vallier served as Acting Archivist; his position as permanent Archivist began in July 2004 and ended in July 2006. From September 2006 to December 2007, Phoebe Nelson served as Acting Archivist. In January 2008, Aaron Bittel was hired as permanent Archivist. Timothy Rice served as Director from 1997-1999, and Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje was Director from 2000-2007. Since 2007, Anthony Seeger has been the Archive Director.
Since its inception, the Archive has actively acquired, processed, preserved, and provided access to thousands of hours of commercial and non-commercial recordings while offering a wide range of reference, outreach, and educational service to diverse user groups.
History of Grants Awarded to the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive
· 1983 – Computer-Aided Archive Access: A Pilot Study Using the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. National Endowment for the Humanities; Increasing bibliographic access of the Archive’s holdings with full MARC cataloging.
· 1998 – Preserving and Accessing World Music at the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. National Endowment for the Humanities; Preserving and making more accessible nearly 1,000 field recordings.
· 2003 – First Nations Audio Preservation Project (FNAPP). National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences; Preserving and making more accessible nearly 225 Native American field recordings.
· 2003 – Developing Multimedia Resources for the 20 Series. UCLA Office of Instructional Development; Increasing access to selected Archive holdings for the Department of Ethnomusicology’s world music survey classes.
· 2003 – Archiving Filipino-American Music in LA (AFAMILA). UCLA Center for Community Partnerships; Outreach and documentation project with Kayamanan Ng Lahi to develop a collection of LA-based Philippine music.
· 2004 – Gospel Archiving in LA (GALA). UCLA Center for Community Partnerships; Outreach and documentation project with Heritage Music Foundation to develop a collection of LA-based Gospel music.
· 2004 – Ethnomusicological AV Recording & Retrieval System (EARRS). UCLA Office of Instructional Development; Digitizing and increasing access to faculty AV field recordings for undergrad instruction.
· 2006 – Wilgus Access & Preservation Project (WAPP). GRAMMY Foundation; Digitizing and increasing access to 1,400 field recordings originally held by the UCLA Archives of Folklore and Mythology, which was founded by the late folklorist D.K. Wilgus in 1965 and disbanded in 2002. This collection is now known as the D.K. Wilgus Collection.
· 2009 – Wilgus Access & Preservation Project, Phase II (WAPP II). GRAMMY Foundation; continuation of project to digitize and provide access for the remainder of the unique recordings in the D.K. Wilgus Collection.