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IUB Archives

The folklorists are here, the folklorists are here!

Warren E. Roberts, 1967.

If you hadn’t heard, the American Folklore Society is meeting in Bloomington this week! Everyone is very excited about it – Shannon, our graduate assistant working on the Remak papers, helped install an exhibit in the Wells Library lobby; if you stop by the Lincoln Room in the Lilly Library, you can view “Tell Me a Story: Folklore and Folkloristics at the Lilly Library”; and Wednesday morning, we hosted a small group of attendees in our reading room to discuss some of our folklore-related holdings!

Weren’t able to make it? That’s okay, I’ll point out some of the highlights for you!

In addition to the records relating to folklore and the development of the program that can be found within the administrative records in our collection, we have a rich collection of papers from folklorists who have either spent or began their academic careers at Indiana University. Several years ago, the University Archives worked with the Folklore Institute to transfer its holdings to our care. What a rich collection is has proven to be!

Select folklore holdings in the University Archives

    Warren E. Roberts papers: In 1953, Warren Everett Roberts became the first person to earn a PhD in Folklore in the United States. He taught at Indiana University from 1949-1994 and was one of the founders of the study of American “folklife” and material culture. The collection represents Roberts’ research of vernacular architecture and regional survey of material culture and craftsmanship, particularly in southern Indiana. Collection consists of research files, teaching files, photographs, photographic negatives and slides, publications, and correspondence.
    Richard Dorson papers: Dr. Richard Dorson is often cited as the father of American folklore. Over his lifetime he published a large collection of books and articles dealing with how folklore and culture are tied together. Dorson founded the Indiana University Folklore Institute in 1963, and became the first director and Chairman of the Folklore Department in 1978. This collection consists of Dr. Dorson’s published articles, correspondence, and research connected to the Gary Project which resulted in the book Land of the Millrats.
    IU Folklore Students’ Association records: The Folklore Students’ Association (FSA) is a student run organization supported by the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and Indiana University. The collection consists of correspondence, newsletters, meeting minutes and reports.
    Felix J. Oinas papers: Felix Oinas, a world renowned scholar in the areas of Slavic linguistics, Finno-Ugric language, literature, and folklore, was a professor of Uralic and Altaic Studies and Slavic Languages and Literatures at Indiana University from 1950 until his retirement in 1981. The collection consists of Oinas’ correspondence, publications, and research on Balto-Finnic and Slavic folklore, the relation of Balto-Finnic folklore as compared to Baltic (Lithuanian and Latvian) folklore, the Estonian epic Kalevipoeg, mythology (including the study of spirits, ghosts, devils, and vampires), and the study of Slavic and Finnish etymologies.
    Richard A. Reuss papers: Richard Reuss was an Indiana University alumnus and professor of folklore and also a distinguished scholar of folksong revival. Collection includes photographs, books, artwork, clippings, song books and sheets, correspondence, interview transcripts, notes, teaching materials, and publications.
    Richard Bauman papers: Richard Bauman taught in the Indiana University Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology from 1986 until his retirement in 2008. The Bauman papers consist of his teaching materials, awards, publications, conference contributions, research projects, fieldwork materials, correspondence, and student recommendations.
    Ronald Richard Smith papers: Ronald Richard Smith was a member of the Folklore faculty at Indiana University from 1978-1997. His research centered around traditional music, festivals, movement and dance, and religion within the African Diaspora, with a focus on Caribbean peoples. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at IU, Smith also served as associate dean of the Office of Research and University Graduate School from 1988-1996, headed the IU Ethnomusicology Program, and spent one year as director of the Archives of Traditional Music. This collection consists of Smith’s papers and lectures, dissertations of some of his students, correspondence, committee files, and some classroom materials. Prominent in the papers are Smith’s files on the Folklore Institute and department, such as teaching files, meeting minutes, and curriculum reviews.
    Student papers: If you went through the Folklore program at IU, chances are we have one of your papers. Spanning over 50 years, the Folklore archive holds student papers on every conceivable topic! Work is ongoing to enter the descriptions into a database, so if you are interested in these, contact us!

We also have the papers of Inta Carpenter, Mary Ellen Brown, George H. List, and Henry H. Glassie, who happened to deliver the opening keynote address at AFS this year! Also in our holdings, but currently undescribed, are a number of collections from Folklore alumni who have gone on to have prominent careers as folklorists, including Dan Ben-Amos, Elliott Oring, and Margaret Read MacDonald.

As always, let us know if you have questions about any of these materials! AFS attendees, enjoy the beautiful campus!

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