Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the John C. Campbell Folk School Records
 

Accession Number: 47
John C. Campbell Folk School Records
Selected Records, 1923-1983
Selected Photographs, c. 1925-1985
17 boxes
3.3 linear ft.
Online Catalog Record (BANC)

Overview
History
Series Description

Part A - Selected Documents

Series I - Board and Corporation Meetings, Minutes and Reports, 1925-69
Series II - Directors’ Office Files. 1923-1969
Series III - Scrapbooks and Publications, 1952-82

Part B - Selected Photographs, c. 1925-1985

Series I - Brochures and News Releases, c. 1970-83
Series II - General File, c. 1925-1983
Series III - Betty Denash Photograph Albums c. 1930-1950
Series IV - Larry Pontier Prints c.1980
Series V - Doris Ulmann Copy Prints and Copy Negatives c. 1922-1933

Access and Use

Provenance: The John C. Campbell Folk School collection was compiled by the Settlement Institutions of Appalachia / Berea College Research Resources Project (1979-1986), and funded by the Appalachian Fund and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The records of the John C. Campbell Folk School were collected and organized 1982-1983 by Project staff and then microfilmed at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives.Selected John C. Campbell Folk School photographs were collected, organized, and reproduced by Project staff in 1986.

Access: The microfilm master negative is owned by Berea College. A use copy is available in Hutchins Library’s Archives and Special Collections Department. Because Berea College does not own the copyright for the manuscripts or printed documents included in this microfilm edition, it is the responsibility of the researcher to secure permission to publish from the John C. Campbell Folk School or its successors and assigns.

The copy negatives and a set of copy prints are owned by Berea College and are available in Hutchins Library’s Special Collections and Archives Department. Berea College has permission to reproduce all or part of the school’s photographs, use them in slide or film presentations, display them, or loan them for displays, and to allow their use by researchers for reproduction and publication.

Preferred Citation: Either "John C. Campbell Folk School Records, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, Ky," when documents are cited, or "John C Campbell Folk School Photographic Collection, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, Ky," when images are used.

Related Berea College Archives

Related References

  • Howard A. Kester papers, 1923-1972 Edited by Edward M. Wayland. Microfilm
  • Howard A. Kester papers, 1923-1972. Edited by Edward M. Wayland.
  • The Appalachian Photographs of Doris Ulmann

Other Related Archives

Southern Historical Collection, Manuscripts Department Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • John Charles and Olive Dame Campbell Papers (#3800).
  • John C. Campbell Folk School Records, 1928-1988 (#5040)

Overview

The purpose of the Settlement Institutions of Appalachia / Berea College Research Resources Project was to organize and preserve the original records and photographs of the Settlement Institutions of Appalachia (SIA) and to copy those of historical value to form a central research collection at Berea College. The resultant microfilm and photo-reproductions are housed in the Archives and Special Collections Department of the Berea College Library.

Series Description
17 Boxes (7 reels microfilm, 15 boxes copyprints)

Part A: Selected Documents

Series I Board and Corporation Meetings, Minutes and Reports, 1925-69
Reels 1 - 2

In addition to the yearly meeting minutes and reports from Folk School directors, treasurers, and department heads, this series consists of copies of the Article of Incorporation and By-laws (1925), annual audit reports (1939-1969), and speeches, promotional writings, official reports, and journal articles (c. 1925-70). These records document the purpose and philosophy of the folk school, its finances, staff, and physical facilities. The minutes provide substantial information regarding the board and corporation membership and document decisions made by those bodies during the forty-five year period.

Series II Directors’ Office Files, 1923-1969 Reels 2 - 6

This series consist of office files pertaining to the administration of Olive Dame Campbell (1925-1946) and Georg Bidstrup (1952-67) and part of John Ramsay’s administration (1967-1969). Included are correspondence, studies, and reports documenting daily operations, courses offered, and community work. The correspondence consists mostly of letters to and from students, staff, board members, donors, other schools, and state and federal agencies. There are farm reports (1927-1946) relating to buildings, livestock, produce and supplies. Receipt books (1932-1954) and time studies of carving output (1945-1946) give some insight into the workings of the crafts department. Also this series includes minutes and reports of the Brasstown Savings and Loan Association (1949-58), Mountain Valley Creamery, Mountain Valley Cooperative Inc. (1928-49), and Southern Highland Handicraft Guild (1960-65). This series is arranged according to two major chronological periods:1923-66 and 1966-69. Guest books dating from 1925-69 are at the end of the series.

Series III Scrapbooks and Publications, 1952-82 Reels 6 - 7

Scrapbooks and newspaper clippings are the most extensive records in this series. This material documents the folk school’s concerns and how they were translated into specific programs and presented to the public. Pamphlets and newsletters generated by folk school staff are also part of series III. There are a few examples of pre-1940s pamphlets and newsletters, but the majority date from 1940-69. Important subjects covered include natural dyeing publications (collected mainly by Louise Pitman, crafts department head, c. 1930-45), folk dance and song publications (primarily the published efforts of Georg and Marguerite Bidstrup), and material on singing games and plays given at the folk school. The series is arranged by record format or by topic.

Part B: Selected Photographs, c. 1925-1985

Overview of Part B

The photographs belonging to the John C. Campbell Folk School collection range from those taken for insurance documentation and random snap-shots to elaborate photo studies and arrangements depicting various aspects of Appalachian life and culture. There were over 7,000 original images, but many of these were duplicates. Ultimately, only 1,913 photographs (27%) of the total collection were selected for duplication.

Overall, the photographic collection is extremely strong in its documentation of folk school activities, particularly in the areas of Danish and other traditional folk dance and traditional handicrafts, including ceramics, weaving, wood, and metal work.

Series I Brochures and News Releases, c. 1970-83 Boxes 3 - 17

This series consists of 705 promotional, but nonetheless exceptional photographs, which document school activities, campus, and handicrafts. Subjects given particular emphasis include folk art techniques, artifacts, and craftspeople at work.

Series II General File, c. 1925-1983 Boxes 3 - 17

Photographs included in this series document Folk School activities, environs, handicrafts, craftspeople, and campus. The series contains 1,104 images selected from a variety of original formats, including loose prints, mounted prints, albums, 35mm slides, and original negatives. Predominant dates are c. 1950-1983. Particular emphasis is given to folk arts, craftspeople, and their work. Folk dancing is also given attention with a number of photographs taken at various festivals and special events.

Series III Betty Denash Photograph Albums c. 1930-1950
Boxes 3 - 17

The four albums and a set of duplicate loose prints that comprise this series document school activities involving woodcarving, weaving, dyeing, campus buildings and farm, and folk dancing. The photographs were taken and / or collected by Denash herself. Early carvers and instructors are extensively featured in this series.

Series IV Larry Pontier Prints c.1980
Boxes 3 - 17

Loose prints and 35mm negatives from the 1980s contained in this series include studies of craftspeople and workshops as documented by Brasstown area photographer, Larry Pontier. Included are views of black-smithing, copper sculpture, lapidary, woodworking, pottery, and other crafts. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series V Doris Ulmann Copy Prints and Copy Negatives c. 1922-1933
Boxes 3 - 17

This series contains copy prints and copy negatives of original photographs by nationally recognized photographer Doris Ulmann. Mrs. Ulmann traveled extensively throughout the southern Appalachian region during the late 1920s and early 1930s documenting various aspects of mountain life and culture.

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