Born in 1937, Ted McGraw began collecting records at the age of 15 in Rochester, New York. He listened to several radio programs featuring Irish, Scottish, and old-time country dance music, including Don Messer from Prince Edward Island, Jim Magill from Toronto, Abby Andrews from St. Catherine, The Shamrock Show from Niagara Falls, Jerry's Hayshakers from Boston, Irish Melodies from Rochester, and Ontario Roundup, a country and western show from Toronto which featured country dance music at the beginning and end.
On October 16, 1974, McGraw started The Irish House Party show on WGMC from the Greece Athens High School. The establishment of the program allowed the show to be included on the distribution lists of the latest releases from all the major labels of Irish music. During trips to Ireland to visit his wife's parents, McGraw also visited the Irish distributors and music stores to collect more recordings.
In the early 2000s, McGraw added an additional hour to his broadcast to air some Scottish music and Celtic related music from Canada that was called The Ol' Fiddler Show. By this time, McGraw's collection had been growing to nearly 10,000 pieces of media divided between old 78 rpm discs, vinyl albums, cassettes, and CDs. The collection became recognized as one of the largest private collections of Irish music in the world, and McGraw was continually answering questions about records and performers, as well as sharing information with collectors and researchers around the globe.
After a run of 43 years, McGraw retired The Irish House Party and Ol' Fiddler radio shows in June of 2017 and is still consulting on Irish music and playing the button accordion. After much discussion and planning, Ted McGraw entrusted the Ward Irish Music Archives to house and make available his collection in March of 2018.
Ted McGraw Collection
Ted McGraw's collection of audio recordings and books consists of recordings used for his radio program, The Irish House Party, and includes 78 rpm discs, 45 rpms, vinyl, cassettes, CDs, and tune books covering Irish traditional music, Quebecois and Cape Breton music, Scottish music, and documentation of Rochester, New York's Irish music scene. The collection represents a broad range of Irish music -- ranging from early and rare 78 rpm commercial recordings; small label as well as popular commercial releases of Irish folk and traditional music on vinyl; 78 rpm and vinyl recordings of Cape Breton and Quebecois music; Irish, Scottish, and Canadian tune and song books; and record label catalogs.
As we catalog and add search terms to Ted McGraw's collection, you can browse his original online lists from his website at http://www.tedmcgraw.com/TedLists.html.
Browse the collection's online catalog records here: Ted McGraw Collection Catalog Records
78 RPM Discs from the Ted McGraw Collection
Ted McGraw's collection of 78rpm discs contains not only a wealth of traditional Irish music from the early 1900s through the 1950s, but also early recorded examples of French Canadian, Scottish, and music of Canada's Martime provinces. The Ward Irish Music Archives has prioritized the digitization of these discs to provide faster access to these recordings so that interested researchers and aficionados can more easily analyze this traditional music from the early 20th century.
Digitization of the Ted McGraw Collection 78 rpm discs has been funded by the Government of Ireland's Emigrant Support Programme. Discs have been digitized to archival presevation standards by Cameron Fontaine.