Born in Brooklyn, New York, Kenneth S Goldstein started his career in the business sector. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration, theoretical mathematics, and statistics from the City College of New York. After army service during the 1940s, he worked as a market researcher and analyst, also taking up positions as the folk music director for Stinson, Folkways and Riverside Records, and folk and blues director for Prestige Records.

Goldstein first turned to the serious study of folk song during the 1950s. His early fieldwork include collecting trips that focused on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. During the late 1950s he enrolled in a new postgraduate degree programme at the University of Pennsylvania. With the assistance of a Fulbright Scholarship that supported his research with Edinburgh University’s School of Scottish Studies, Goldstein earned the first PhD in Folklore and Folklife from University of Pennsylvania in 1963.

Just over a decade later, he joined the faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He was the head of the Department of Folklore from 1976 to 1978 and a research associate until his death on 11 November 1995. Aidan O’Hara and many other students and colleagues worked with Goldstein during this time to document the traditions of Newfoundland.

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