Hazel Chung-Hood lives her life according to the elements.
It was one of them — water — that recently wreaked havoc on her life. Six weeks ago, waters from Tropical Storm Lee rose 2 feet in her backyard, nearly destroying the studio in the back of her Ellicott City home. That ruined most of the notes, recordings and papers belonging to her late husband, well-known author and ethnomusicology pioneer Mantle Hood, that she had planned to donate to the University of California, Los Angeles.
"I stood here," she said, standing in her backyard. "It was like the Mississippi River flowing. I didn't know what to do."
The studio housed Chung-Hood's...