Dom Flemons American Songster Collection

Identifier: MSS.1062

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

The Dom Flemons American Songster Collection (110 linear feet) consists of audio recordings, materials related to the creation of the album Black Cowboys, reference materials, drafts and liner notes, correspondence, ephemera and tour materials, press and promotional materials, photographs, folk art and fan art, garments, artifacts, framed items, posters, books, digital files (not yet available) and musical instruments. The collection is arranged in thirteen series. It covers the years of 1950 to 2021 (inclusive), with the majority of the documents being from 2008-2022 (bulk). The materials reflect the artistic career of Dom Flemons a singer-songwriter and researcher of American folk music. While the collection focuses most intensely on the years surrounding his Black Cowboys album, it includes materials related to the Carolina Chocolate Drops. The album Black Cowboys was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album, and for a Blues Music Award for best Acoustic Album. The collection contains documents related to these awards, to the creation of the album, and to the experience of touring the country as a performing artist and the many people whom he met along the way. (EK Batiuk)


  • circa 1920 - 2022

Biographical / Historical

Dominique “Dom” Flemons (b. 1982) is a performer and researcher of American roots music. Flemons was born in Arizona and earned a degree in English at Northern Arizona University. His early performance career focused on the written word, participating in poetry slams in the early 2000s. He is now known as a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, with the moniker “the American Songster.” His work spans several genres and includes American folklore, ballads, old time string band music, neotraditional country, and blues. As a founding member of the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops (2005-2013) and throughout his solo career, Flemons has contributed to transforming how American roots music is understood. Specifically, Flemons has increased public awareness of the role of African American musicians in traditional American music genres, especially “old-time” and string band music through his research and performance. Flemons’ work addresses a gap in American music history of the twentieth century. Perhaps most significant to date is his role as a performer and inheritor of the Piedmont blues and string band music. He plays banjo, fife, guitar, harmonica, percussion, quills, and rhythm bones. Since the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Flemons has released four solo albums, and two albums in collaborations with other musicians.

With the Carolina Chocolate Drops Leaving Eden (2012) Genuine Negro Gig (2010) Dona Got A Ramblin’ Mind (2006) Heritage (2007)

Solo Albums Dance Tunes, Ballads and Blues (2007) American Songster (2009) Prospect Hill (2014) Black Cowboys (2018) Traveling Wildfire (2023)

Other Collaborations Buffalo Junction (2012) Mr. Martin


110 Linear Feet : 22 Hollingers; 11 flat oversized boxes; 7 framed items (incl. 1 painting ~ 30” x 70”); 1 TB harddrive (not processed), 56 musical instruments of varying sizes, including 7 banjo type instruments, 1 akonting, 3 accordion type instruments; ; Oversized (flat): 1-16" wide; 2-20" wide; 1-21" wide; 1-24" wide; 4-26" wide; 2-28-1/2" wide

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Offsite Storage, Special Collections & Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased through the NMAAM-Vanderbilt Collections Initiative.

Content Description

Research materials, sound recordings, musical instruments, ephemera, photographs, fan artwork, stage worn garments, correspondence, born digital files (1TB harddrive), and objects related to the performing career of Dominique “Dom” Flemons. Includes Edison phonograph & wax cylinders, 8 banjos, 1 banjolele, 1 akonting, 1 cigar box guitar, 1 digieridoo. Hand percussion including “rhythm bones.” 1 large jug and three small jugs. Instruments currently held at NMAAM: Harmont Tenor banjo with autographs, jug, Original Hound Dog guitar.

  • Two boxes of long-sleeved shirts and a single black wing-tip shoe were deaccessioned. Press and ephemera were de-duplicated and no more than two or three copies of items were kept.
In Progress
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Library
1101 19th Ave. S.
Nashville TN 37212 United States


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