Use It Or Lose It

May 3, 2014 | 1

At least two people were not pleased with John Jeremiah Sullivan’s recent cover story in the New York Times Magazine. In a letter to the New York Observer (and an expanded post on Google+), Susannah McCormick – daughter of renowned music historian Robert “Mack” McCormick – alleges that Sullivan and his research assistant “glibly” stole her father’s research in an act of “quasi theft.” In his response, Sullivan asserts that, “by hiding L. V. Thomas’s voice, by refusing for over half a century to credit or even so much as name the two singers who created those recordings while they or their contemporaries were alive, Mack McCormick committed a theft—through negligence or writer’s block or whatever reasons of his own—far graver than my citation of interviews L.V. granted him decades ago.”

works on special projects for The Millions. He lives in Baltimore and he frequents dive bars. His interests can be followed on his Tumblr, Nick Recommends and Twitter, @nemoran3.

One comment:

  1. What a complicated situation. It seems clear that McCormick will never publish anything in his lifetime — perhaps someone will come along later and use the material he gathered — or it will get thrown out or filed away and never be seen again. Sullivan was in a tough spot I’d hate to be in — but I have to think that bring this bit of musical history to light is the right thing to do.

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