Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the John C. Campbell Folk School Records, Part A, Series I - III

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)

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)

Part A: Selected Records

Series Description and Box List
7 Reels of Microfilm

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.

The reports for each year vary in quantity and quality and there are appreciable record gaps for the years covering 1946-1951. A group of speeches, reports, articles, and promotional writings includes the works of Olive Campbell, Marguerite Butler Bidstrup, and Georg Bidstrup and impressions and recollections of students and visitors. This series also includes local history and genealogical data along with personal reminiscences of area residents about family, work, school, religion, everyday life and habits. There are also recollections of the Civil War along with related artifacts, including an 1854 bill of sale for a female negro slave. Series I is arranged by record type.

Reel 1

  1. Minutes and Reports, 1925-69

Reels 1-2

  1. Reports of Examinations and Audit reports, 1936-69
  2. Speeches and Reports, c. 1925-70
  3. Local History and Genealogy (Data Collected 1930s)
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.

Reel 2, continued

  1. Correspondence: 1923-48, n.d.
  2. Correspondence : A-T, 1925-63
  3. : A-W, 1952-64
  4. Brasstown Credit Union, Minutes and Reports, 1949-58
  5. Council of the Southern Mountains, Minutes and Reports, 1953-66
  6. Country Dance Society of America, Correspondence and Flyers, 1939-64

Reels 3-4

  1. Crafts
    : Receipt Book (4 vols), 1932-48
    : Receipt Notebook, Wood Carving, 1952
    : Production Time Test and Interview Forms, 1945-46
  2. Farm Reports, 1927-46
  3. Farm Program Study, 1957
  4. Financial Reports, 1946-64
  5. Insurance Survey, 1952
  6. Literacy Program, 1958-63
  7. Little Folk School, 1954-64
  8. Mountain Valley Creamery, Minutes and Reports, 1928-34
  9. Mountain Valley Cooperative Inc., Minutes and Reports, 1935-49

Reel 5

  1. Recreational Extension Reports, 1936
  2. Regional Mountain Folk Festivals, Reports, 1942-52
  3. Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, Minutes and Reports, 1960-65
  4. Veterans, Rural Life Course Curriculum, c. 1952
  5. Woman’s Community Club, By-laws and Reports, c. 1928
  6. Workshops
    : Conservation, 1947
    : Resource Use, 1948
  7. Correspondence, 1966-1969 .0
  8. Course Descriptions and Schedules, 1966-69
  9. Special Projects, Tomato and Dairy, c. 1966-1970

Reel 6

  1. Personnel, 1966-69
  2. Guest Books, 1925-69
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 pre1940s pamphlets and newsletters, but the majority date 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.

Reels 6 continued

  1. Scrapbooks, 1954; 1920-82
  2. Newspaper Clippings and Serial Articles, 1925-69
  3. Newsletters
  4. The Blotter, 1940-49
  5. Flyers, 1942-69
  6. Pamphlets and Cards, 1926-48. n.d.
  7. Price Listings, 1967-71
  8. Brasstown Community Club Newsletters, 1954-55
  9. “Making and Using Plant Dyes, Mountain Recipes,” c. 1916
  10. Vegetable Dyeing: Louise Pitman, c. 1930s
  11. “Vegetable Dyes,” Louise Pitman, c. 1930s
  12. Natural Dyeing: Recipes and Notes, 1934, n.d.
  13. Pitman File, Notes Re: Weaving
  14. Natural Dyes and Dyeing Processes: Publications, 1916-51, n.d.

Reel 7

  1. Natural Dyeing, Correspondence, 1930-61
  2. “Natural Dye Receipts,” Given by Miss Pettit, December, 1909
  3. The Katherine Petit Book of Vegetable Dyes, Wilmer Stone Vilner and H.E. Scrope Viner, 1946
  4. Report on Indigo Experiments, Pine Mountain Kentucky, Edna H. Fawcett, September 15-October 1, 1925
  5. Vegetable Dyeing, Mrs. Emma Conley, n.d.
  6. Folk Dance Music Notebook, Margurite Bidstrup and others, n.d.
  7. Folk Dances Brought from Denmark by Georg and Marguerite Bidstrup, 1951-1952
  8. 19 Folk Dances from Denmark, Georg & Marguerite Bidstrup, n.d.
  9. The Folk School Songbook: pre-World War II Ballads, Folk Songs, Jack Tales and Stories from North Carolina, collected by Lee Knight, 1978-80
  10. Singing Games, Old and New, collected and translated by John C. Campbell Folk School, 1933
  11. Singing Games and Folk Dances, collected and translated by John C. Campbell Folk School, 1941
  12. Three Folk Plays, produced at the John C. Campbell Folk School, n.d.
  13. AmpleforthPlays, n.d.
  14. Christmas Plays and Songs, 1939, 1941. n.d.
  15. Mummers Play, 1972, n.d.
  16. Children of the Calendar, Carol Hartley, n.d.
  17. Door Neighbors, n.d.
  18. The Fust Class Mule, 1937
  19. [Granny Pruett], n.d.
  20. The Man Who Died at Twelve O’clock, Paul Green, n.d.
  21. [Mountain Valley Cooperative], n.d.
  22. Poke Sallet, n.d.
  23. Shutting the Door, n.d.
  24. Way of Attainment, n.d.
  25. [Wedgewood], n.d.

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