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Background Resources on Appalachian Folktales: Archive Materials

Compiled by Tina L. Hanlon

Back to General Background Resources
Folktale Bibliography Index

See also the Folklore section of the AppLit Links.

Note: These are references I have found while doing research on folktales, but I am not an expert on archives. The more general references listed briefly below are ones I have not examined closely to find specific material on Appalachia. The availability of digital copies of archive materials in different media is increasing rapidly. Please contact me if you know of other archives that should be listed here.

Adams, James Taylor Collection. See Blue Ridge Institute below.

The Alison Stirling Collection, Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, NC. "The Stirling Collection of the James H. Carson Library was established with the aim of preserving a variety of materials relating to the Southern Appalachian region.  In 1929, when Alison Stirling joined Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina as its first librarian, one of her goals was to create a special North Carolina and Appalachian Collection. . . . The catalogued material in the Stirling, or North Carolina Room, includes books,  pamphlets, sound recordings (folk music and tales and field interviews), videotapes, and microfilm (primarily local area newspapers)." Also includes uncatalogued materials and artifacts that function as a campus museum.  Puddingstone Press is an adjunct of the same library, publishing regional materials that would not attract large publishers.

American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. Archive of American Folk Culture Collections.

Appalachian College Association. See Digital Library of Appalachia below.

Appalachian Regional Studies Center at Radford. See details at Radford University below.

Appalachian-Scottish and Irish Studies Collection. Archival materials (8 boxes). Archives of Appalachia, East Tennessee State University, 1957, 1997. Includes material on Ray Hicks, Jack Tales, Folk Dancing, Stanley Robertson, Duncan Williamson. "Collection focuses on the history and culture of Appalachia, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and interrelationships among the 3 regions regarding their histories and cultures. . . . History: In 1988 the Appalachian-Scottish Studies Program began at ETSU; in 1989 ETSU and the University of Edinburgh entered into a formal agreement on the program. In 1996 the program changed its name to reflect study of connections to Northern Ireland. General Info: Use of materials restricted to archives. . . . Organized into 5 series: I, Course Materials, 1976-97; II, Student Papers & Projects, 1988-95; III, Photographs, 1988-97; IV, Audio Recordings, 1957-97; and V, Video Recordings, 1987-94./ Arrangement varies, but chronologically follows year of each program. Materials within a series may predate beginning of program. .  . Unpublished finding aid available in repository" (WorldCat). Copying and borrowing of materials is restricted.

Appalachian Cultural Museum, Appalachian State Univ. Index of Music/Stories Education Programs. Descriptions of available educational programs that may be booked at the museum.

Appalachian Museums and Archives: Finding New Ways to Tell Appalachia's Story was the focus of Now & Then, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Winter 2000). East Tennessee State Univ. Table of Contents at

Appalachian State University Libraries. W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection. "A repository for a wide variety of materials related to the Southern uplands. Located on the second floor of Belk Library, the Appalachian Collection has more than 26,000 volumes of books and over 200 periodical subscriptions, with special strengths in the social sciences, regional history, folklore, music, religion, genealogy, fiction, and African and Native Appalachia." See AppLit's Richard Chase bibliography for details on Richard Chase Papers, manuscripts, and recording.

Archives of Appalachia page on Folklore collections, with a Suggested Reading List. East Tennessee State University. See also Burton-Manning Collection, below.

Barbara McDermitt Collection. Archives of Appalachia, East Tennessee State University, 1982. "Includes 28 audiotapes of storytellers telling folktales. Recorded the summer of 1982 during field trips to Beech Mountain, N.C. File folder with reports on the field trips stored with the tapes. The 14 photographs are mainly of the storytellers, who include Frank Proffitt, Jr., Stanley Hicks, Ray Hicks, and Hattie Presnell. . . . Barbara Rice Damron McDermitt . . . Educator, folklorist, and author of articles on storytelling, drama, and children's literature. Ph. D. (1968) from School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh, Scotland" (WorldCat). On tape MCD-5, Hattie Presnell comments on the storytelling tradition of Beech Mountain, NC, on collectors such as Richard Chase getting tales and ballads from Beech Mt., and tells swiftly narrated versions of some tales to McDermitt, admitting that there are some she can't remember of the vast number told by her family. See summary of her "Two Children and the Giants" on AppLit's "Mutsmag" page, and her "Cinderella" story on the "Ashpet" page..

Berea College Sound Archives. Hutchins Library, Berea, KY. Eastern Kentucky Folklore includes recordings by Leonard Roberts. "Appalachian writing and scholarship is represented in interviews and lectures by such figures as Wendell Berry, Harry Caudill, Muriel Dressler, Wilma Dykeman, Helen Lewis, Jim Wayne Miller, Artus Moser, Gurney Norman, Leonard Roberts, Henry Scalf, James Still, Jesse Stuart, Don West, Cratis Williams, and Jess Wilson. . . . Storytelling and humor is represented by such able practitioners as Richard Chase, Loyal Jones, Ray Hicks, Maude Long, Patrick Napier, Leonard Roberts, Beverly Sexton, Jackie Torrence, and Marshall Long. The collection also includes recordings of the Appalachian Humor Festival held at Berea in 1983, 1987, and 1990." Some items available online through Digital Library of Appalachia.

Berea College Special Collections and Archives includes The Weatherford-Hammond Mountain Collection of 18,000 volumes on Appalachia. The Southern Appalachian Archives contains oral history archives, Kentucky Folklorist Leonard Roberts Collection, Cratis Williams Collection 1940-1985, Josiah Combs Collection of folklore 1910 - 1960, Ben Heiman Folklore Collection (Alabama storyteller), D. K. Wilgus Folklore Collection 1918-1989, music collections, photographic collections, Harriette Simpson Arnow Collection, James Still Collection 1940-2001, Jesse Stuart Collection, 1933-1983, John C. Campbell Folk School records, Hindman Settlement School Collections 1899-1977, Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections 1913-1975, and more.

Blakemore, John A. Papers, 1928-1980. Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Material relating to the White Top Folk Festival. Correspondents include performers Annabel Morris Buchanan (b. 1888), John Powell (1882-1963), and Richard Chase" (WorldCat abstract).

The Blue Ridge Institute and Museum at Ferrum College, Ferrum, VA. Web site contains online folklife exhibits and information on the BRI's farm museum, archives, October folklife festival, and other resources. The James Taylor Adams Collection contains about13,000 pages of folktales, songs, and other items of folklore, collected mainly during the 1930s and 1940s for the WPA in southwest Virginia. Adams worked with Richard Chase and many local storytellers. Some tales from this collection are reprinted in AppLit's Fiction and Poetry section. The collection is also archived at University of Virginia's College at Wise (formerly Clinch Valley College).

Buchanan, Annabel Morris, Papers (#4020). Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Buchanan (b. 1888) was a performer and organizer of the White Top Folk Festival in Kentucky.

Burton-Manning Collection, 1960-1989, 1967-1972. Archival materials (162 audiotapes). Archives of Appalachia, East Tennessee State University, 1989. "Much of this collection consists of reel to reel audio and videotapes of interviews and musical performances in East Tenn. and western North Carolina. Also included are correspondence, tape transcripts, and photographs. . . . Thomas Burton and Ambrose Manning, of the East Tenn. State Univ. English Dept., began taping ballads, tales and other types of folklore from East Tenn. and western North Carolina in 1964. A 1969 NEH grant enabled them to teach high school students in western NC to conduct oral history interviews. These tapes form the core of the collection. . . . Original accession contains following series: I, Correspondence, 1965-74; II, Dub Sheets and Transcripts, 1964-79; III, Indices, 1965-71 and undated; IV, Project Publications and Publicity, 1966-71; V, Research Materials, ca. 1969; VI, Community Contributions, ca. 1966-74; VII, Folk Festivals, 1966-74; VIII, Audio and Videotapes, 1964-70. Addition includes materials in I, 1965-69; II, 1965-69; VIII, 1973, 1973-89; and IX, Photographs, 1925-32, 1956-79" (WorldCat).

Chase, Richard. See AppLit's Richard Chase Bibliography, Archives and Unpublished Resources.

Chase Richard. Richard Chase Collection. Archives of Appalachia,  East Tennessee University. One videotape from a TV interview with Chase taped in 1983. "The tape consists of an Omni Special Edition program hosted by Terry Hickson, with Richard Chase as guest, November 3, 1983." Chase told one full tale (Sody Sally-Raytus). He discussed Jack tales, the character of Jack as a trickster (with details from Jack and the Doctor's Girl), the relationship between the ballad "Lord Randall" and the comic ballad "Billy Boy," and the long history of the song "The Joys of Mary." He answered questions on the art of storytelling and collecting folklore in his past experience and in 1983.

Digital Library of Appalachia. Appalachian College Association. A collection of digital reproductions of print, visual, audio and video items from archives in colleges affiliated with ACA. Includes audio of storytellers such as Ray Hicks and Loyal Jones telling Jack Tales, audio versions of tales collected in 1949 and published by Leonard Roberts.

East Tennessee State University. See Archives of Appalachia  and Burton-Manning Collection, above.

Highlander Folk School Audio Collection. Nashville: Tennessee State Library and Archives, 1954-1960. Archival Material 17 sound tape reels: 7 in., 1/2 in. tape. Recordings of folk music and of workshops on leadership, integration and voter registration conducted by the school, including a 1956 integration workshop with comments by Rosa Parks on Martin Luther King and the Montgomery bus boycott. Included are performances by Folk School students, Zilphia Horton, Pete Seeger, Guy Carawan, Jack Elliott, Frank Hamilton, and May Justus. Also, a radio interview (ca. 1960) with Septima Clark and school founder Myles Horton. "Founded at Summerfield, Tennessee in 1932 as an experimental education program for working-class adults. Promoted organized labor, agrarian and civil rights movements in the South, utilizing folk culture and combining social and educational activities. Charter revoked by the state of Tennessee in 1961, re-opened as the Highlander Research and Education Center later that year. (Information from WorldCat)

 Joan Balfour Payne Papers, 1953-1972. deGrummond Collection, University of Southern Mississippi. WorldCat Abstract: "The collection contains a combination of color separations, mounted illustrations, dummies, and proofs for: Ambrose (1956); Charlie from yonder (1962); The journey of Josiah Talltatters (1953); Lester and his hound pup (1960); The raven, and other fairy tales (1969); and Tea Meeting winner (1964)." Also correspondence. American author and illustrator born in 1923 in Natchez, Mississippi, Payne often collaborated with her mother, Josephine Balfour Payne. She illustrated books by May Justus and others.

Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Archives. Cherokee, NC.

North Carolina Folklore Society.  "Founded in 1913, the North Carolina Folklore Society promotes the appreciation and study of North Carolina's folklife.  In its early years, members guided by Frank C. Brown of Duke University collected songs, stories, customs, and superstitions for The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, the most extensive collection of a state's folklore.  In 1948 Society Secretary-Treasurer Arthur Palmer Hudson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill began a state folklore journal now in its forty-third volume."

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Southern Historical Collection. See entries under Blakemore, Buchanan, Chase, and Walser on this page, and Southern Folklife Collection, below.

The Ohio State University Libraries Folklore Resources.

Oxford, Cheryl Collection 1981-88. Manuscripts Department, Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Inventory gives background on Oxford and "materials that Cheryl Oxford collected and produced in conjunction with her Ph.D. dissertation, 'They Call Him Lucky Jack: 3 Performance-Centered Case Studies of Storytelling in Watauga County, N.C.' The focus of this research was the stories and performance paradigms of three traditional Appalachian Jack tale storytellers from North Carolina: Ray Hicks, Stanley Hicks, and Marshall Ward. Other regional tellers of Jack tales, both traditional and revival, including W. W. Rowland, Richard Chase, Frank Proffitt, Jr., Gwenda LedBetter, Doug Elliott, Orville Hicks, and Fred Armstrong-Park, were also documented as part of her research. The bulk of the materials are audio and video recordings of public performances and interviews, which include storytelling. Also included are story transcripts, published articles by Cheryl Oxford, and a copy of her dissertation....Included is a rare performance of 'Jack in the Lions' Den' by Marshall Ward."

Perdue, Charles L., Jr. and Nancy J. Martin-Perdue. The Archive of Folk Song Virginia Folklore Index: A Complete Listing of Field-Recorded Virginia Folklore Materials Housed in the Archive of Folk Song, Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.: 1932-1977. with Indexes to Collectors, Geographic Areas, Informants, Types of Instruments Played, Songs, Tunes, Tales, Sermons, Prayers, Monologues, Testimonies, Play-Parties, etc. University of Virginia.

Pinson, Catherine. The Beulah Campbell Collection of Children's Literature Illustrations. Description of the collection at Appalachian State University's Appalachian Cultural Museum, with illustrations dating from 1930, including Appalachian artists such as Gail E. Haley and Glen Rounds.

Radford University, Appalachian Regional Studies Center, Radford, VA. Folklife Archives (housing student projects) and other resources and collections are introduced at The Folklife Archives include projects on children and folklore, education, oral history of many kinds, language, literature, the supernatural, women's studies, and many other topics. The Main Archives subject listing also includes several projects on folktales and teaching. The subject listing of Audio Recordings includes titles on folklore, language & literature, education, music, and other topics. The subject listing on Videos documents Radford's ASIS (Appalachian Arts and Studies in the Schools) program; Corn and Culture (1997 Seminar and Symposium Held at Radford University); the annual Highland Summer Conference (with programs featuring a number of writers); Radford's Selu Conservancy; performances by storytellers, writers and musicians; and other topics. Subject listings for books and periodicals are also provided.

Roberts, Leonard. Leonard Roberts Collection, 1949-80. Hutchins Library, Berea College. Berea, KY. See Berea College Special Collections and Archives, above.

Smithsonian Institution. The Center for Folklife Programs & Cultural Studies Archive.

Southern Folklife Collection. Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "The Southern Folklife Collection (SFC) ranks as one of the nation's foremost archival resources for the study of American folk music and popular culture. SFC holdings extensively document all forms of Southern musical and oral traditions across the entire spectrum of individual and community expressive arts, as well as mainstream media production."

Southern Historical Collection. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. See entries under Blakemore, Buchanan, Chase, and Walser on this page. 

Walser, Richard Gaither. Papers,1918-1988. Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Correspondence, clippings, photographs, and other materials chiefly relating to North Carolina's literary heritage" and matierials on North Carolina folklore. "Special emphasis on the works of Thomas Wolfe. Other authors represented in the collection include Doris Betts, Helen Bevington, James Boyd, Richard Chase, Jonathan Daniels, Wilma Dykeman, Charles Edward Eaton, John Ehle, Paul Green, Bernice Kelly Harris, George Moses Horton, Gerald W. Johnson, Frederick H. Koch, Guy Owen, Robert C. Ruark, Wilbur D. Steele, Hardin E. Taliaferro, and Jonathan Williams."

"The West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State College is dedicated to the identification, preservation, and perpetuation of our region's rich cultural heritage, through academic studies, educational programs, festivals and performances, and publications.  The WV Folklife Center is part of the School of Language and Literature."  The Folklife Center Archives contain artifact collections that help interpret West Virginia folklife. The center is directed by Dr. Judy P. Byers. The Ruth Ann Musick Library at Fairmont State is named after the late English professor and noted folklorist. See her picture and library history at

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