Jennifer Donaldson Milewski Collection of Filk Research Material

Identifier: MUSIC-029

Collection Overview

Content Description

This collection contains material related to the genre of "filk", a music culture characterized by songwriting based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. The collection includes Jennifer Donaldson Milewski's field recordings, convention programs, filk songbooks, notes, thesis drafts, correspondence, and interviews. Of particular note are Milewski's interviews with big-name filkers such as Joey Shoji, Kathy Mar, Leslie Fish and Cynthia McQuillen.


  • Creation: 1979 - 1993


2 Cubic Feet (8 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Jennifer Donaldson Milewski's interest in filk began in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A science fiction fan and "filker", Milewski studied social anthropology, folklore and mythology at Harvard University. She did exploratory fieldwork relating to filk during her junior year. A Ford Foundation grant afforded Milewski the opportunity to conduct interviews and record concerts at various science fiction conventions. The contents of this collection come from this period in Milewski's college career.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Please note that audio cassettes must be digitized before use.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers using this collection assume full responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright, and are responsible for securing permissions necessary for publication or reproduction.

Language of Materials



This collection is separated into 3 series: Filk Conventions and Events, Filk Songbooks, and Notes and Correspondence.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Jennifer Donaldson Milewski, 2020.

Note on Description

Where possible, description in this finding aid, including performance dates, song titles, recording dates, and the names of performers or interviewees was drawn from accompanying documentation. When that information was not available within the collection, it was drawn from other sources, notably the community-driven sites Filk Discography Wiki and Fancyclopedia. Please contact MLBSSA staff with any corrections or edits.

Guide to the Jennifer Donaldson Milewski Collection of Filk Research Materials
Compiled by Emily DiLeo and Frances Zengel
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Description of audio recordings was enhanced as part of the project Filk Collections at BGSU: Preserving 1980s Fan Culture and Community during the 2022-23 academic year. This project was supported by a Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Revision Statements

  • 2022: Enhanced description of audio materials by JaeEun Schermerhorn, Gwen Oeseburg, and David Lewis