Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the Bradley Kincaid Collection

Accession Number: 13
The Bradley Kincaid Collection
Papers: 1861-1999
Bulk: 1920s - 1970s
6.4 Linear Feet
Online Catalog Record (BANC)

Overview & Series Description
Box List

Overview of the Collection

This collection of correspondence, business records, photographs, news clippings, songbooks, and sheet music from radio ballad singer Bradley Kincaid was placed in

Bradley Kincaid at the WLW mike, early 1940s
Hutchins Library’s Southern Appalachian Archives in the summer of 1975. The collection was given by Loyal Jones, who received it from Kincaid. Additional material collected by Jones from Kincaid and others was added in the summer of 1989.

Bradley Kincaid was born at Point Leavell, Garrard County, Kentucky on July 13, 1895, the fourth of nine children. His parents, William and Elizabeth Hurt Kincaid, were the singers from whom he learned his first songs. His father, a farm laborer, once traded one of his foxhounds for a guitar, which young Kincaid learned to play. For many years he used this “Hound Dawg” guitar to entertain family and friends.

Kincaid attended Garrard County’s Back Creek School through fifth grade. He then worked in a Louisville wheel shop and later on a farm until 1914, when at age 19 he entered the Berea College Foundation School as a sixth-grader. He left after the eighth grade to join the army, serving two years during World War I. For a brief period after the war, he worked as salesman for the Storrs-Schaefer Tailoring Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Yound Bradley KincaidKincaid soon resumed his education at Berea and it was during this time that his interest in music deepened. With the encouragement of Thomas Edwards, one of his teachers, he began systematically collecting ballads and other songs. His search led to several trips throughout the eastern part of the state, and the material he collected was eventually included in thirteen published songbooks.

Kincaid graduated from the Berea College Academy (high school) in 1921 at age 26. A year later he married his Berea music teacher, Irma Foreman, a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He worked in Kentucky as a Y.M.C.A. district secretary for two years. He then moved to Chicago to attend Y.M.C.A. College (now known as George Williams College.)

Bradley Kincaid at his tent showSinging with a college quartet led to a 1928 solo audition for the National Barn Dance, a radio program heard widely throughout the Midwest on Chicago’s 50,000-watt WLS. He became a regular cast member on the program and was soon being billed as “the Kentucky Mountain Boy.” His renditions of “Barbara Allen” and other old ballads and songs he had learned while growing up in Kentucky drew huge amounts of fan mail and lucrative opportunities for songbook sales and personal appearances in theaters and other venues.

After four years at WLS, he went on to have similar success on radio stations in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Boston and other cities. Among the musicians he partnered with during this period was Kentuckian Louis Marshall “Grandpa” Jones. He made numerous commercial recordings for a variety of labels, including Gennett, Brunswick, RCA, Decca and those companies’ subsidiaries in Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, and Japan. In 1939, while at WHAM in Rochester, New York, he adopted a tent show format for much of his warm weather personal appearance work and continued what he called his "Radio Circus" throughout the remainder of his career. His last major radio work was on WSM's Grand Ole Opry in Nashville from 1942-1947.

Bradley Kincaid at the OpryFrom Nashville he moved to Springfield, Ohio, where his business efforts included successful stints as a radio station and music store owner. Although pretty much retired from show business, he continued to issue commercial recordings well into the 1970s. He died September 23, 1989 in Springfield, Ohio, at age 94.

Related Berea College Archives

Series Description
16 Manuscript Boxes, 1 Oversized Box

Series I Printed Material Box 1

This series includes advertisements and promotions for Kincaid's songbooks and performances along with information concerning Chicago radio station WLS and the National Night Barn Dance. Arranged chronologically.

Series II Personal / Biographical Box 1

This series includes clippings, publications by others, and a transcript of a recorded oral history interview. Also included are a discography, list of Kincaid's 300-plus song repertoire, program schedules, and radio addresses.

Series III Correspondence Boxes 2-4

This series includes radio fan mail and Kincaid’s replies, exchanges regarding booking arrangements and other personal and business correspondence on a wide variety of topics. Correspondents of particular interest include Berea College Presidents William J. and Francis Hutchins, John Lair, D.K. Wilgus, Doc Schneider, and Loyal Jones. Arranged chronologically, 1923-1981.

Series IV Business Records Boxes 5-6

This series includes records of income and expenses related to theatre and tent show performances, 1930-1949, and phonograph and music publishing royalty income, 1939-1984.

Series V Book Manuscript Box 7

This series includes typescript, proofs, and galleys of Loyal Jones' biography of Kincaid, Radio's "Kentucky Mountin Boy" Bradley Kincaid. Correspondence relating to the book's publication is also included.

Series VI Song Lyrics Boxes 8-10

This series includes a variety of song lyrics (in typescript without musical notation) that were sung by Bradley Kincaid, or were sent to him by fans and composers. Arranged alphabetically by title.

Series VII Sheet Music Boxes 10-14

This series includes pieces of published sheet music dating from the late 1800s through about 1960. There are additionally words to songs (typed without musical notation). All arranged alphabetically by title.

Series VIII Songbooks Boxes 14-15

This series includes songbooks published or collected by Kincaid, and photocopies of three typescript, loose-leaf ones that he compiled (words only with title index). Arranged alphabetically by title.

Series IX Oversized Sheet Music Box 16

This series includes oversized sheet music that dates from the turn of the century. Arranged alphabetically by title.

Series X
Box 17

This series includes several photographs of Kincaid, his family, and other early radio music performers, dating from the 1920s through the 1940s. Also included are more recent ones of Kincaid that document various 1970s performances and other occassions at Berea College.

Box List

Series I
Printed Material
Box 1

Box 1
  1. Clippings, 1926-1999, undated
  2. Printed Material, 1925-1969
  3. Printed Material, 1975-1976
  4. Printed Material, 1977-1978
  5. Printed Material, 1980-1981, undated
Series II
Personal / Biographical
Box 1

Box 1
  1. Radio Addresses and Quizzes
  2. Program Schedules
  3. Song Lists and Personal Discography
  4. Personal Notes and Interviews
  5. Miscellaneous
Series III
Boxes 2-4

Box 2
  1. Correspondence: November 1923 - April 1931
  2. Correspondence: May 1931 - July 1931
  3. Correspondence: August 1931 - September 1931
  4. Correspondence: October 1931 - November 5, 1931
  5. Correspondence: November 6, 1931 - November 30, 1931
  6. Correspondence: December 1931
  7. Correspondence: January 1932 - February 1932

Box 3
  1. Correspondence: March 1932- April 1932
  2. Correspondence: May 1932 - June 1932
  3. Correspondence: July - September 1932
  4. Correspondence: October 1932 - December 1933
  5. Correspondence: January 1934 - December 1939
  6. Correspondence: "Doc" Schneider - Tent Shows 1939-40
  7. Correspondence: January 1940 - March 1945
  8. Correspondence: April 1945 - December 1967
  9. Corespondence: 1971 - 1974
  10. Correspondence: January 1975 - December 1975

Box 4
  1. Correspondence: 1976-1977
  2. Correspondence: 1978
  3. Correspondence: 1979-1980
  4. Correspondence: 1986 - August 1987
  5. Correspondence: September - Decembere 1987
  6. Correspondence: 1988-1989
  7. Correspondence: Not dated

Series IV
Business Records
Boxes 5-6

Box 5
  1. Theatre Expenses / Income 1930
  2. Theatre Expenses / Income 1931
  3. Theatre Expenses / Income 1932
  4. Theatre Expenses / Income 1933
  5. Theatre Expenses / Income 1934
  6. Theatre Expenses / Income 1935
  7. Theatre Expenses / Income 1938
  8. Theatre Expenses / Income 1939
  9. Tent Show Salary Ledger 1939-1940
  10. Tent Show Expenses / Income 1940
  11. Tent Show Expenses / Income 1941
  12. Theatre and Other Performance Expenses / Income 1949
  13. Theatre Expenses / Income N.D. [1930s]
  14. Miscellaneous Business Documents
Box 6
  1. American Record Company Royalty 1939
  2. Broadcast Music 1963-1987
  3. Brunswick Record Company 1937-1939
  4. Decca Record Company, 1940
  5. Peer International 1955
  6. RCA Records, 1934-1983
  7. Southern Music Publishing 1938-1949
  8. Southern Music Publishing 1963-19

Series V
Book Manuscript
Box 7

Box 7
  1. Loyal Jones Manuscript: Correspondence: 1973-1979
  2. Loyal Jones Manuscript: Correspondence: 1980-1981
  3. Loyal Jones Manuscript: Text Proofs
  4. Loyal Jones Manuscript: Music Proofs
  5. Loyal Jones Manuscript: Typescript
  6. Loyal Jones Manuscript: Galley Copy
Series VI
Song Lyrics
Boxes 8-10

These boxes contain typescript song lyrics too numerous to include in this space. Information regarding specific titles is available on request.

Series VII
Sheet Music
Box 10-14

These boxes contain an extensive collection of sheet music, alphabetically arranged. Information regarding specific titles is available on request.

Series VIII
Boxes 14 -15

These boxes contain songbooks. Information regarding specific titles and tables of contents is available on request.

Series IX
Oversized Sheet Music
Box 16

This box contains an extensive collection of sheet music, alphabetically arranged. Information regarding specific titles is available on request.

Series X
Box 17

Box 17

  1. Photographs: Display of Kincaid at Hutchins Library

  2. Photographs: Bradley Kincaid and family
    1. Baby Picture of Bradley, Viola, Ann, and Lewis.
    2. Bradley, Irma, and Twins.
    3. Twins, Barbara and Irma.
    4. Bradley Kincaid, WLW [1931].
    5. The Twins Alene and Barbara, Irma, and Mrs. George Biggar.
    6. Bradley Kincaid and Irma, last summer on farm.
    7. Bradley Kincaid and George Biggar of WLW.
    8. Bradley Kincaid Tent Show, 1938-39, Rochester, New York.
    9. Bradley, 1926-1928.
    10. Bradley and his Hound Dog Guitar (Breslow Brothers Minstrel).
    11. Bradley Kincaid.
    12. Bradley with News Quartet at George Williams (“Y”) College, 1925-1926.
    13. Painting of Bradley Kincaid by Bert Williams, Renfro Valley Museum Building.
    14. Bradley at State Theatre, Farmington, Maine. 1935.
    15. Various Pictures of Kincaid
    16. George Biggar, Bradley Kincaid, and Assistant Program Director at WLW in 1930.
    17. Bradley in his music store [1970s].
    18. Bradley at Traditional Music Festival, 1974.
    19. Bradley and President Stephenson [1970s].
    20. Bradley on Berea Campus [1970s].
    21. Photo Mats.
    22. Slides of Kincaid

  3. Photographs: Radio and Road Shows
    1. Community Chest 30th Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner, 1953.
    2. [YMCA] College Glee Club, Chicago, 1926.
    3. Kincaid cutting wheat in North Carolina.
    4. Kincaid House in Scotland.
    5. Tent Show, 1943.
    6. WBZ Radio 103
    7. WKRC road show, 1943; Bradley Kincaid with his band and Renfro Valley Performers.
    8. WLW talent at Cincinnati’s Fountain Square, 1941.
    9. WLS Barn Dance, 1929.
    10. WLS National Barn Dance, 1944.
    11. WLW Jamboree On Stage at RKO Palace in Boone County, 1953.
    12. Bradley Kincaid, Joe Troyan, Marshall “Grandpa” Jones, 1930s.

  4. Photographs: Radio Program Recording by NBC for oversease airing about 1943.

  5. Photographs: Radio Friends and Associates, A - C
    1. Jane Allen
    2. Bob Atcher
    3. Jack Baggett
    4. Bailes Brothers
    5. Edgar L. Bill
    6. The Buccaneers
    7. “Caddy”
    8. Cowboy Copas
    9. Cowboy Copas
    10. Hugh Cross
    11. Hugh Cross

  6. Photographs: Radio Friends and Associates, G - P
    1. Georgia Crackers
    2. Hank and Dusty
    3. Betty and Anne Heifner
    4. Doc Hopkins
    5. Marshall Jones
    6. Ramona Jones
    7. Robert Lunn
    8. “The Maple City Four”
    9. Oscar McGooney and Jack Baggett
    10. Hal O’Hallman
    11. Bashful Joe and Pie Plant Pete
    12. Pete and Joe
    13. Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys with Eddy Arnold
    14. Purv Pullen
    15. Pigfoot Pete

  7. Photographs: Radio Friends and Associates, R - Z
    1. Shellbark Hickory
    2. Slim and Dan
    3. Jim Small and His Shiretonians
    4. Eddie Smith
    5. Burt Swor and Lou Lubin
    6. “Tennessee Ramblers”
    7. Texas Ruby and Curly Fox
    8. The Three Hired Men
    9. Ralph Waldo
    10. The Willis Brothers, Judy Perkins, and Kincaid

  8. Photographs: Songbook Covers
    1. “Favorite Mountain Ballads and Old Time Songs.”
    2. “Favorite Mountain Ballads and Old Time Songs.”Deluxe Edition.
    3. “Favorite Mountain Ballads and Old-Time Songs.” No 8.
    4. “Favorite Old-Time Songs and Mountain Ballads.” Book 2.
    5. “Favorite Old-Time Songs and Mountain Ballads.” Book 3.
    6. “Mountain Ballads.” Book 9.
    7. “Mountain Ballads and Old-Time Songs.” Book 6.
    8. “Mountain Ballads and Old-Time Songs.” Book 7. [2 copies]
    9. “Mountain Ballads and Old-Time Songs.” Book 11.
    10. “Mountain Ballads and Old-Time Songs.” Book 13.
    11. “My Favorite Mountain Ballads and Old-Time Songs; As sung over WLS.”
    12. “My Favorite Mountain Ballads and Old-Time Songs.”Book 5.
    13. “My Favorite Old-Time Songs and Mountain Ballads.”149
    14. “Pioneer Singer of American Folk Ballads.” Folio No.12.

  9. Photographs: Unknown Persons

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