“Caravan: folk music magazine,” 1957-1960
“Caravan” was the second “folkmusic fanzine” created by the novelist Lee (Hoffman) Shaw in the Greenwich Village section of New York City in 1957. Like her original effort called “Chooog 2-5”, “Caravan” was originally produced on typewriter and mimeograph (on the cheapest paper imaginable), then distributed “FREE FOR THE ASKING” at Izzy Young’s Folklore Center on MacDougal Street and during Sunday afternoon picking parties in Washington Square. It quickly became the paper of record for the burgeoning folk music revival.
Lee Hoffman edited many journals of science fiction, including the respected periodical “Quandry”. Out of her love for traditional music and the people who performed it, she developed “Caravan” and helped it grow with increasing sophistication and production quality. Soon it became such a hit, attracting advertisers, subscribers and contributors in such numbers that it interfered with her own writing.
One of her volunteer staff was the five-string-banjo virtuoso Billy Faier, a political activist who had appeared on Broadway in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”. After a dozen issues Hoffman decided, “I didn't want to put out a scholarly publication or a professional one…so I sold it to him”. Faier produced only another double-handful of issues as his career and ability to travel the coffee house circuit were jeopardized. Hoffman, meanwhile, went on to produce more than twenty novels in the science fiction and Western genres. “The Valdez Horses” (Doubleday, 1967) won the Spur Award of the Western Writers of America and was adapted as a John Sturges film starring Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland in 1973.
Issues of “Caravan” offer biography, music history, impassioned debates, record and concert reviews, and gossip about the folk scene in the U.S. and England, plus first and often only publication of now-standard tunes with complete lyrics and musical notation. Contributors include Oscar Brand, Dave Van Ronk, Pete Seeger, Harlan Ellison, Izzy Young, Lee Haring, Happy Traum, and so many others.
Scope and Content
The first twelve issues of “Caravan” came to the Crossroads of Music Archive as a gift from Billy Faier before his death in Alpine, Texas in 2016. As soon as we published the electronic finding aid to his papers we started receiving requests from far-flung patrons for access to the publications, which were nowhere on-line. Gary Ross Hoffman, Lee Hoffman’s nephew and executor of her estate, kindly gave permission to scan and reproduce them. We located some missing issues that were offered at auction, passed the hat, and completed the collection in honor of the editors: Lee Hoffman and Billy Faier.
Digitized periodicals in this community
Issues of these journals are available to browse or search: