In the early 1930s, Alan Lomax and his father, pioneering folklorist John A. Lomax, first developed the Library of Congress’ Archive of American Folksong as a major national resource.

Alan Lomax has been called "The Father of the American Folksong Revival," for his subsequent work as an ethnomusicologist, record producer and network radio host/writer. He first presented Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Burl Ives, and Pete Seeger to a national audience on his radio programs in the ’30s and '40s. As a radio producer and field recordist at the BBC, he sparked a British folksong revival, which soon fueled the British pop-rock Invasion. He also assembled the first recorded overview of world folksong for Columbia Records.

As an anthropologist of the performing arts (for Columbia University and Hunter College), he produced a multimedia interactive database called The Global Jukebox, which surveys the relationship between dance, song, and human history. The author/producer of many books, scientific articles, films, and record releases, Lomax has been a passionate advocate of "cultural equity", a principle which proposes to reverse the centralization of communication and give equal media time to the whole range of human cultures. After six decades of "folk song hunting" Alan retired in 1996. Alan Lomax passed away on July 19, 2002.