Well, it was a great experience in England. When I left home, I asked Professor Kittredge – I knew he knew ballads and so on. And I said, 'Now, whom should I approach?'
He said, 'Well, I guess you ought to approach the parson and the dominie and the squire, the three top men, closest to – ' So I undertook to get ballads from the dominie and the parson and the squire, and I found they didn't know a thing in the world about ballads.
So I just set out on my own. I'd already had the summer before, collecting the shanties, and I went up that east coast there and worked every town, and I was foolish enough to get a little open Austin car, instead of getting a closed car. It had, of course, the top but it was no good. I bought a big, heavy leather coat with the fleece on the inside and as I went north, it got colder and colder. At first I had my shorts, underwear that I was used to wearing. […] I first got a lightweight wool, very lightweight, and then as I drove further north, I got the heavier and heavier suits. And finally, when I got to Aberdeen, I said, 'Give me the thickest, warmest woollen suit of underwear you have.' And it was like a coat but I wore it. And [I] stayed a little while in Aberdeen and then went on up to New Deer, the home of Gavin Greig and so on.
Courtesy American Folklife Center, Library of Congress (transcription by Julia Bishop; some hesitation words edited from audio)