Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the James Watt Raine Ballad Collection

Raine photoAccession Number: 6
The James Watt Raine Ballad Collection
Papers: 1906-1989
0.4 Linear Feet
Online Catalog Record (BANC)

Series Description
Series I - Ballads and Songs, Loose Leaves
Series II - Ballad Books
Series III - Short Stories, Plays, and Book Manuscript
Series IV - A College Course in Ballads Proposed
Series V - Lecture Notes on Ballads
Series VI - Correspondence
Series VII - Biography

Overview of the Collection
These are texts, tune transcriptions, manuscripts, and related correspondence that document the ballad collecting and related scholarly interests pursued by Berea College English professor, James Watt Raine, beginning in 1906.

Related College Archives:


Raine was born in Scotland in 1861 and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 12 years old. The family lived first in West Virginia and later, Arkansas. Raine was educated at Oberlin College in Ohio and Union Seminary in New York. Ordained to the ministry, he held pastorates in Ohio and New York. Married twice, first to Harriett May, who died one year after their marriage, and secondly to Clara Martz, he fathered six children.

In 1906 Raine became an English instructor at Berea College, where one of the courses he taught was on English and Scottish ballads. He eventually submitted several course proposals - all apparently denied by the college - that would have allowed him to grant credit upon a student’s successfully collecting a certain number of ballads from the student's home territory. However, Raine persisted in his ballad collecting activities. (A list of the known contributors to the ballad collection is included as an appendix to this guide.)

Raine's interest in documenting regional culture extended beyond music. His influential 1924 book, The Land of the Saddle-Bags, included eyewitness accounts of mountain speech, education, religion, community politics, and farming. Also in his book, Raine strives to dispel the negative stereotype of the drunken, slothful, gun-toting hillbilly prone to violence.

Raine - an actor, playwright, and author - directed Berea's speech and drama activities and was much in demand as lecturer for cultural entertainment programs. He died on February 12,1949, in Berea, Kentucky.

Series Description and Box Lists

1 Manuscript Box

Series I Ballad and Songs, Loose Leaves Box 1

This series consists of over 320 handwritten and typed texts, arranged alphabetically by title.

Series II Ballad Books Box 1, cont.

This series consists of over 360 tune transcriptions and a few texts, recorded mostly in notebooks and listed in their order of appearance.

Series III Short Stories, Plays, and Book Manuscript Box 1, cont.

This series consists of a variety of writings by Raine including the typescript of a projected book, Ways of Life of the Appalachian Mountain People; short stories; and several manuscripts of original plays.

Series IV A College Course in Ballads Proposed Box 1, cont.

Notes pertaining to a proposed ballad course at Berea College which would grant college credit for collecting ballads. Raine proposed a Berea College course that would conclude with the students in his class collecting ballads from the students' home territories for course credit.

Series V Lecture Notes on Ballads Box 1, cont.

Lecture notes related to a ballad course taught by Mr. Raine at Berea College - an English course combined with Scottish ballads. Typed lecture notes and related words and music to selected ballads.

Series VI Correspondence Box 1, cont.

The correspondence is dated from 1902 to 1936. The major portion of the correspondence in this series is between Raine and Berea College president, William G. Frost, whom Raine addressed as “Willyum Gee.”

Series VII Biography Box 1, cont.

This series consists of a short Raine biography contained in an unpublished manuscript, “Berea's Ballad Collectors: James Watt Raine, John F. Smith, Katherine Jackson French, and Gladys V. Jameson,”by Sidney Saylor Farr, dated 1980. A bibliographical listing of articles and books by or about Raine is also included.

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