Born: Au­gust 6, 1873, Nash­ville, Ten­nes­see.

Died: Sep­tem­ber 7, 1925, Nash­ville, Ten­nes­see.

Buried: Greenwood Ce­me­te­ry, Nash­ville, Ten­nes­see.


John was the son of John Wes­ley Work, a church choir di­rect­or, and Sa­mu­el­la Boyd; hus­band of Ag­nes Haynes (mar­ried 1899); bro­ther of Fred­er­ick Je­rome Work; and fa­ther of John Wes­ley Work III.

He gra­du­at­ed from Fisk Un­i­ver­si­ty, Nash­ville, Ten­nes­see (AB 1895, MA 1898). He taught La­tin and Greek at Fisk, be­com­ing chair­man of the La­tin & His­to­ry De­part­ments in 1906.

From 1923 un­til his death, he was pre­si­dent of Ro­ger Will­iams Un­i­ver­si­ty in Nash­ville, Ten­nes­see (merged with Howe In­sti­tute, Mem­phis, Ten­nes­see, in 1929).

Work was a pi­o­neer in col­lect­ing, per­form­ing, and pre­serv­ing Af­ri­can-Am­er­i­can folk mu­sic.

His works in­clude:

  1. Go, Tell It on the Moun­tain

where to get a bet­ter pho­to of Work