• Herman Cook
  • Sam and Kirk McGee
  • Deford Bailey
  • Steve Davis

associated with

  • University of Kansas, Lawrence, 1967-1970
  • Middle Tennessee State University, 1970-2005
  • Editor, Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin

Came to fame with

  • Bill Clifton and the Dixie Mountain Boys

Led the way

  • Wrote liner notes for approximately 300 bluegrass and old-time music albums and CDs.
  • Set high standards of professionalism for research and writing about country music.
  • Served as a mentor to other writers and historians.
  • IBMA Award of Merit (Distinguished Achievement Award), 1990.
  • Two-time recipient of IBMA award for Best Liner Notes, 1995 and 2004.
  • Bluegrass Hall of Fame, 2008



From the Archives:  Charles Wolfe, unknown musician, and Grandpa Wolfe.  Photo donated by Carl Fleischhauer.

charles wolfe


Primary involvement in bluegrass music: historian and writer



  • An amateur photographer in his youth.
  • Became enamored with old-time music hearing 78 rpm records on the family Victrola.
  • His mother loved the music of Elvis Presley.
  • Had aspirations of becoming a professional musician, and after graduation from high school spent two years working in local bands including Johnny and the Echoes, Ronnie Self, and Terry Bidell and the Nighthawks.


From the Archives:  Biography of blues musician, Leadbelly written by Charles Wolfe.  Museum Collection and Library.


Growing up in central Missouri, Charles Wolfe became enamored with music at an early age and learned to play saxophone, accordion, banjo, and guitar.  He later said his best instrument was the typewriter.  To that end, he attended Southwest Missouri State University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1965.  He went on to receive M.A. (1967) and Ph.D. (1971) degrees in that discipline from the University of Kansas at Lawrence.  While a grad student, Wolfe was an instructor in the English department (1967-1970).  


From the Archives:  Biography of musician Grandpa Jones.  Museum Collection and Library.