The Robert Stone Archive: Robert Stone Biography

Bob Stone is an independent folklorist and photographer based in Gainesville, Florida.

During his tenure with the Florida Folklife Program from 1990-2010, he traveled throughout the state documenting the traditional culture of Floridians—one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the United States.

In 1992, Bob began documenting  the vibrant African American steel guitar tradition of the House of God, Keith Dominion and the Church of the Living God, Jewell Dominion in 1992.  The cassette/booklet album resulting from his first survey of the music, Sacred Steel: Traditional Sacred African-American Steel Guitar Music in Florida, was licensed by Arhoolie Records and released as Arhoolie CD450 in 1997.  Working with Arhoolie, he produced seven more CDs in the “sacred steel” series and directed the Sacred Steel documentary video for the Arhoolie Foundation. 

Bob is the author of Sacred Steel: Inside an African American Steel Guitar Tradition, University of Illinois Press, 2010, and Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus!: Photographs from the Sacred Steel Community, University Press of Mississippi, 2020.

In 2011, the Florida Department of State honored him with the Florida Folk Heritage Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in documenting and presenting the folk arts and folk artists of Florida.  His documentary photos have been shown in numerous exhibitions, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and published in Newsweek, The New York Times, Forum, Wooden Boat and other print media. 

Bob also documents and presents Florida’s rich and unique cattle ranching culture. He conducted extensive field documentation and served as co-curator for the large traveling exhibition Florida Cattle Ranching: Five Centuries of Tradition, which has been viewed by more than 600,000 visitors from Florida to Nevada.  He edited the exhibition catalog published by the Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation, has contributed more than eighty feature articles to the Florida Cattleman magazine, and has given more than sixty presentations on the subject throughout Florida.

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Statement on the passing of Chris Strachwitz

Arhoolie Records Founder
July 1, 1931 – May 5, 2023

We celebrate the life of our founder, friend, and great record man Chris Strachwitz. He died peacefully at home in Marin County, CA, surrounded in his last days by dear friends and family. Over his 91 years, Chris captured the music that represents the best “down home music” the world has to offer.

He was at the forefront of nearly all the roots revivals over the last 60 years including blues, zydeco, Cajun, Norteño and Tejano music. His drive to document traditional music helped introduce the nation to our diverse musical heritage. He had the foresight to save music that might have otherwise been lost to obscurity and played a role in strengthening cultural traditions through his records, films, and most recently the Arhoolie Foundation. He cared for those around him, fought for royalties and recognition for Arhoolie artists, and provided counsel to countless musicians, writers, film makers, and academics.

Plans for a public celebration of his life will be announced in the coming weeks. Today we’re thinking of all that Chris brought to our lives and the lives of the musicians and fans with whom he shared his passion.