Guide to the Singin' Sam Agins papers,
1919-1996

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Agins, Sam.
Title: Singin' Sam Agins papers
Dates: 1919-1996 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 10 boxes (6 linear ft.)
Collection Number: USU_COLL MSS 230
Summary: This collection contains the papers of Sam Agins in the form of correspondence, publications, music papers, various personal effects, including Stetson hat and other cowboy memorabilia.
Repository: Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives
Manuscript Collection

Merrill-Cazier Library
Utah State University
3000 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-3000
Phone: 435 797-2663
Fax: 435 797-2880
Email: scweb@usu.edu

Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008

Biographical Note

"Singin" Sam Agins was born in Denver, Colorado on June 4, 1919 and died in Sun City, Arizona on March 28, 1996. Agins is best known as an American folksinger that learned to play the fiddle and guitar in his youth. Though limited to the use of crutches or a wheelchair for mobility, Agins became an inspiration for many who attended his concerts. During the 1940s and 1950s he entertained disabled youth, veterans and children in hospitals, acting as Ambassador of Goodwill Industries. Other groups treated to Agins' talents included prisoners in New Mexico and guests at ranches in the Rocky Mountain West.

Not only a musician but a lyricist and collector of others' lyrics, Agins wrote, collected and recorded songs throughout his life and established his own recording company, Haywire, in the 1970s, He numbered among his friends the Mexican and American cowboys, and hobos ("gentlemen of the highways") who shared their songs and stories with him. His other writings included an autobiography, 3 Dimes and a Button, several plays, poems, magazine articles, news columns, and a photo essay called Round Legs.

Agins was not only a musician and writer but also a multi-talented craftsman. His interest in American folk culture probably started in California where, as a boy, he learned to train horses and grew adept at rope work, silver and goldsmithing.

Singin' Sam's career took him all over the Rocky Mountain West where he gave concerts and taught classes about folk singing at the University of Wyoming, and at other institutions in Colorado, Idaho, and Arizona. He represented the United States in the 1976 Smithsonian Institution's Montreal Expo and served as an expert on early American folk songs in Washington, D.C. In the 1970s and 1980s, Agins participated in the Festival of the American West and the Western Writer's Conferences held in Logan, Utah.

Content Description

This collection contains the papers of Sam Agins in the form of correspondence, publications, music papers, various personal effects, including Stetson hat and other cowboy memorabilia.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  Restrictions

Open to public research.

Restrictions on Use :  Copyright

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Utah State University Libraries, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Permission to publish material from the Singin' Sam Agins papers must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.

Preferred Citation :  

Singin' Sam Agins papers, 1919-1996. (COLL MSS 230) Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives Department.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Organized in 5 series: I. Correspondence; II. Autobiography; III. Music; IV. Miscellaneous Writings; V. Newspaper Clippings, Smithsonian Tours, Memorabilia, Miscellaneous, Obituaries.

The Sam Agins Collection is contained in ten manuscript and storage boxes. Arrangement of the collection is topical and chronological. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent; the name of the correspondent's business, company or organization is listed with the name. News clippings are arranged chronologically by folders, each representing a decade. All other items are arranged topically under general titles such as "Music" for any items relating to Agins' musical career.

Acquisition Information :  

Donated by Frederica Agins in 1996.

Separated Materials :  

Photographs removed to the Singin' Sam Agins photograph collection (P0134).

Books removed to the Sam Agins book collection (Folk Collection 30).

Cassette tapes removed to the Sam Agins cassette tape collection (Folk Collection 30a).

Records removed to the Sam Agins commercial record collection (Folk Collection 30b).

Videotapes removed to the Sam Agins commercial video and beta collection (Folk Collection 30c).

Reel-to-Reel tapes removed to the Sam Agins commercial reel-to-reel collection (Folk Collection 30d).

An oil portrait of Agins by John H. Wadell and six ink drawings of Johnny Hampton were removed to the Art and artifacts collection in Special Collections and Archives.

Related Materials :  
  • Singin' Sam Agins photograph collection P0134
  • Sam Agins book collection (Folk Collection 30)
  • Sam Agins cassette tape collection (Folk Collection 30a)
  • Sam Agins commercial record collection (Folk Collection 30b)
  • Sam Agins commercial video and beta collection (Folk Collection 30c)
  • Sam Agins commercial reel-to-reel collection (Folk Collection 30d)
  • Art and artifacts collection

Detailed Description of the Collection

Correspondence
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
1 1 Agins, Sam
1 2 Allen, Annette
1 3 Applebaum, Irwyn - Bantam Books Inc., Westerns Editor
1 4 Atkins, Robert M. - San Bernardino Air Service Command
1 5 Back, Joe and Mary - Big Elk Studio
1 6 Ball, Gene - Buffalo Bill Historical Center
1 7 Barton, Walter C. - War Department, Mira Loma, California
1 8 Beckers, Karen - CBS News
1 9 Beedle, Steve - BC Productions Cinematography
1 10 Berke, Ernest
1 11 Bluemel, C.S. - Mount Airy Sanitarium
1 12 Bowen, Lois
1 13 Brabham, Robert E. - National Rehabilitation Association, Executive Director
1 14 Bush, Cy - The White House
1 15 Bushinger, Mary B. - University of Colorado, Medical Center
1 16 Campbell, James K. - Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College
1 17 Carollo, M.T. - Cochise County Library
1 18 Carrington, Mary - Smithsonian Institution
1 19 Chaikin, Hank - Yavapai College
1 20 Chambers, Becki - Western Music Association
1 21 Churchill, James F. - Santa Rosa Junior College
1 22 Cohen, Norm - Western Folklore
1 23 Cohen, Stu - The Music Emporium
1 24 Collins, Peggy - Western Music Association, Festival Director
1 25 Conway, R. John Jr. - KAZM
1 26 Curtiss, Lou - San Diego State University Folk Festival
1 27 Dale, Al - Pickin Publications, Editor
1 28 Davidson, Levette J. - University of Denver
1 29 Davis, Ron - Southern Methodist University
1 30 Doherty, Thomas B. - Colorado Springs Public Schools
1 31 Einhorn, Nathan R. - Library of Congress, Chief, Exchange and Gift Division
1 32 Eusebius, Rev. Father - Penitentiary of New Mexico
1 33 Faigan, Zelda - World Affairs Council of Phoenix, Inc.
1 34 Fenwick, Red - The Denver Post
1 35 Ferraccio, Patrick J. - Tumbleweed Publications, Competition Chairman
1 36 Fife, Austin E. - Utah State Univeristy, Fife Western Folklore Archive
1 37 Flannery, Ruth - American National Red Cross
1 38 Flemming, Linda
1 39 Foster, Jane - Marble Canyon Lodge
1 40 Garvey, Madeline W.
1 41 Gating, Myrl L. - Easter Seal Society
1 42 Gilbert, Edna - Mesa Public Schools
1 43 Goldberg, Bernard - Schenley Industries, Inc., President
1 44 Goodkind, Thomas - Tomar Associates
1 45 Griffith, James - University of Arizona
1 46 Guthrie, Lynda L. - Indian Valley Colleges
1 47 Hawn, James L. - Tumbleweed Productions
1 48 Hillman, Jerry - Blue Lakes Shopping Center
1 49 Hinds, J.E. - State Home and Training School for Mental Defectives
1 50 Hurst, Marge - Easter Seal Society
1 51 Hutchinson, Buel - The Little Outfit
1 52 Jackson, Melvin H. - Smithsonian Institution, Curator of the Marine Transportation
1 53 Jones, Herb - Kodak
1 54 Jones, Patsy
1 55 Kadon, Sara - S.U.N. Entertainment
1 56 Key, Sandra P. - KESQ TV
1 57 Kirk, Paul L. - Pueblo Public Schools
1 58 Kochman, Marilyn - Pickin
1 59 Kopecky, Paul - University of Colorado
1 60 Korn, Walter M. - Jackson Hole Trail Ride
1 61 Kratter, Marvin - Rancho Del Rio
1 62 Lester, Alan M. - Smithsonian Institution
1 63 Loague, Walter - Goodwill Industries, Executive Director
1 64 Luce, Elizabeth - American Red Cross
1 65 Makara, Steve
1 66 Mangold, Connie - University of Arizona
1 67 Matott, Glenn - Colorado A & M
1 68 McCartin, Rev. William B. - Diocese of Tucson
1 69 McCormick, Mack - Smithsonian Institution, Director "A Festival of American Folklife"
1 70 McCullogh, Judith - University of Illinois Press
1 71 Metzke, John J. - Central Wyoming College, Activities Coordinator
1 72 Milberg, David E. - San Bernardino Air Service Command
1 73 Miller, Janet - Elkhorn Ranch
1 74 Odell, Scott - Smithsonian Institution, Museum Specialist
1 75 Pablo, Don
1 76 Rahm, Barbara la Pan - Smithsonian Institution, Program Coordinator
1 77 Reed, Mike - KUNR-FM
1 78 Rindskopf, Art - Military Order of the Cootie
1 79 Robitaille, Janine M. - KTTU-TV
1 80 Robinson, Beverly J. - Smithsonian Institution
1 81 Robison, Jane R. - Cultural Heritage and Arts Center
1 82 Russell, Tom G. - End of the Trail Music
1 83 Schultz, Ann J.
1 84 Seriver, Bob
1 85 Short, Cecil H.
1 86 Springman, Rob - Cache Valley Mall, Manager
1 87 Steiger, Sam - Congress of the United States
1 88 Stetson, V.B.
1 89 Taylor, Kim - Corona-Norco Unified School District
1 90 Temple, Norman - Grand Teton Lodge Company, Recreation Director
1 91 Tucker, J.W. - Military Order of the Cootie, Supreme District Hospital Commissioner
1 92 Turner, Dallas - "Nevada Slim"
1 93 Travisano, Marilyn - Mesa Community College
1 94 Tuthill, J.B. - Tucson Arizona Chamber of Congress
1 95 Vacher, L. William - Gonzaga University
1 96 Varner, Victor N. - Grand Canyon College
1 97 Warren, F.C.
1 98 Watkins, C. Malcom - Smithsonian Institution, Chairman, Department of Cultural History
1 99 Weber, David J. - Southern Methodist University
1 100 Weize, Richard - Folf Barieth Records
1 101 Wilgus, D.K. - Journal of American Folklore
1 102 Will, Debbie - YMCA of the Rockies
1 103 Williams, Bill - Grand Canyon College, President
1 104 Williamson, John
1 105 Willson, G.M. - State Training School
1 106 Wilson, George C. - University of Arizona
1 107 Wilson, Wendell S. - Teton Valley Ranch
1 108 Wilde, Glenn - Utah State University, College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences
1 109 Miscellaneous - Includes lists of addresses

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Autobiography
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
2 1 3 Dimes and a Button - Early notes
2 2 3 Dimes and a Button - Original draft, incomplete, out of order
2 3 3 Dimes and a Button - Original draft, completed, annotated by ghost writer Marilyn Bowden
2 4 3 Dimes and a Button - Original, complete, not corrected by ghost writer
2 5 3 Dimes and a Button - Original, complete, order mixed
3 1 3 Dimes and a Button - Original, complete, order mixed
3 2 3 Dimes and a Button - Original with dedicatory note
3 3 3 Dimes and a Button - Original with handwritten page numbers
3 4 3 Dimes and a Button - Edited, in order
3 5 3 Dimes and a Button - Original, incomplete, order mixed, not rewritten by agent

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Music
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
4 1 Master Song list
4 2 Lyrics
4 3 Lyrics
4 4 Lyrics
4 5 Awards
4 6 Copyrights
4 7 Performance Contracts
4 8 Performance Programs
4 9 Miscellaneous - Includes advertisements, price lists, receipts

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Miscellaneous Writing
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
5 1 Rambler's Notebook - Unbound copy, Mock-ups, photocopies
5 2 Rambler's Notebook - Photocopies, computer printouts
5 3 Round Legs: A Photo Essay - Draft and final publication.
Draft includes introduction not put in final publication
5 4 Faces - Introduction to photo essay and release forms
5 5 Poetry
5 6 Chet and Sophie - Rough draft
5 7 Plays
5 8 Columns, Articles, Lectures, Essays, Notes - Columns from Jackson Hole Guide
Articles on Horseshoeing machine, Vassar Clements; lecture notes Tucson Library; notes on B.B. King.
1990s
5 9 Writing by others - Includes Van Holyoak, Joseph Barclay, Catherine Rogers, Tom Russell, Peter Darlington.
6 1 Round Legs - Mock-up for publishers

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Newspaper Clippings, Smithsonian Tours, Memorabilia, Miscellaneous, Obituaries
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
7 1 Newspaper clippings 1940s
7 2 Newspaper clippings 1950s
7 3 Newspaper clippings 1960s
7 4 Newspaper clippings 1970s
7 5 Newspaper clippings 1980s
7 6 Newspaper clippings 1990s
7 7 Smithsonian Tour Memorabilia 1971
7 8 Smithsonian Tour Memorabilia 1976
7 9 Miscellaneous
7 10 Obituaries
7 11 Letters of Sympathy

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Memorabilia
Container(s)
Description
Box
8 Oversized items including programs, awards
9 Stetson hat
10 Leather visor, trick rope, coffee mug, leather notebook (not tooled by Agins)

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Subjects

    • Personal Names :
    • Agins, Sam.
    • Subject Terms :
    • Authors, American--West (U.S.)
    • Cowboys--Songs and music.
    • Cowboys--United States.
    • Folk musicians--West (U.S.)
    • Folklore--West (U.S.)
    • People with disabilities--West (U.S.)
    • Geographical Names :
    • West (U.S.)--Social life and customs.

    ^ Return to Top