Buck and Juanita Coulson Collection of Filk Material

Identifier: MUSIC-046

Collection Overview

Scope and Contents

Collection primarily consists of audiotape masters for much of the Off Centaur label's catalog, including live and studio performances for releases beginning in 1980 and ending in the late 1980s. In addition to commercially-released items, some of these tapes also contain non-album tracks, alternate takes, and other material that was not released commercially. There is scant accompanying paper documentation, containing recording dates, personnel, and notes by audio engineers, though this documentation does not exist for all reels. In addition to the audio content, there is also some material that documents publications in the filk community in the 1980s, many of which are related to Off Centaur's recordings, including submissions for zines likely published through Off Centaur and/or Firbird Arts. There are also some zines, convention materials, and other publications.


  • 1976-1990


798 Cubic Feet (Consists of 3 manuscript boxes and 158 audiotape reels.)

Biographical / Historical

Off Centaur Publications was arguably the first commercial filk label, founded in 1980 by Teri Lee, Jordin Kare, and Catherine Cook. The label was dedicated to recording filk music, which is a fan-based popular and folk music genre, often, but not always, about science fiction and fantasy topics. Until it ceased publishing in the late 1980s, Off Centaur produced recordings of eminent filk performers, both in the studio and recorded at filk conventions. In addition, it made filk lyrics and sheet music accessible to filkers, beginning with the Westerfilk Collection published before Off Centaur’s creation by the company’s founders (with David Bratman) and continuing with many other collections. By both print and audio recording, Off Centaur contributed to the spread of filk music and nurtured its growth.

Conditions Governing Access

Audio materials must be digitized before they can be used; currently restricted to educational and on-campus use.

Language of Materials



Arranged into three series: I. Off Centaur Master Recordings, II. Publications, and III. Materials Submitted for Publication.

Separated Materials

Commercial filk cassettes donated with the collection, constituting the bulk of Off Centaur's commercial audio releases, were separated from the rest of the collection; they are cataloged individually in BGSU's library catalog.

Related Materials

Additional filk field recordings and documentation may be found at BGSU in the Jennifer Donaldson Milewski Collection of Filk Research Material (MUSIC-029) at the Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives and the Robert "Buck" Coulson collection (PCL MS 222) at the Browne Popular Culture Library, as well as the zine, periodical, score, and book collections of both repositories.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection at Texas A and M University also holds substantial filk and science fiction materials.

There are several archival projects led by filkers as of 2021, prominently including the online inventory of the Harold M. Stein Memorial Archive, which consists primarily of the personal collection of Stein, a filker, recording engineer, and collector.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift from Firebird Arts and Music/Teri Lee in a series of donations between 1989 and 1991.

While the collection is named for Buck and Juanita Coulson, two filkers who have been performing and supporting the Midwest filk scene since the 1950s, the materials did not belong to either, though Juanita is featured on some recordings in the collection. Rather, the donor asked that the collection be known as the Buck and Juanita Coulson collection to honor their contributions to the art form.
Guide to the Buck and Juanita Coulson Collection of Filk Material
David R. Lewis
June 2021
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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