Guide to the Collecting Memories: Oral Histories of American Folklorists,

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Utah State University
Title: Collecting Memories: Oral Histories of American Folklorists
Dates: 2011 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 1 box (.5 linear feet)
Location of Collection: USU Special Collections and Archives
Collection Number: USU_FOLK COLL 46
Summary: Collecting Memories contains oral histories (and related materials) of American folklorists. The project is a joint effort of Utah State University and the American Folklore Society.
Repository: Utah State University. Merrill-Cazier Library. Special Collections and Archives.
Fife Folklore Archives

Merrill-Cazier Library
Utah State University
3000 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-3000
Phone: 435 797-2663
Fax: 435 797-2880

Languages: Material in English 

Historical Note

Collecting Memories: Oral Histories of American Folklorists is a joint effort by the American Folklore Society and Utah State University Special Collections and Archives. The American Folklife Center at The Library of Congress is the project advisor. Collecting Memories is an effort to collect, preserve and disseminate the voices and images of American folklorists and the field of folklore studies through oral histories (memories and personal commentary) and related materials (photographs, curriculum vitae, personal papers, diaries, logs, etc).

The project will help document the development and change of the field since the mid-twentieth century to more fully tell the story of folklore scholarship and to make accessible the institutional memory of the American Folklore Society, the premier folklore society in the United States. Project products (media, transcripts/logs, images and affiliated materials) will be housed at Utah State University, the official repository of the American Folklore Society Records: MSS 206. USU will host the products of the project in both physical and digital collections.

In October 2009, Randy Williams (Utah State University) proposed the project to Tim Lloyd (Executive Director American Folklore Society) and Michael Taft (Head of the Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress). All parties agreed to participate. Simon Bronner and Jill Terry Rudy (members of the American Folklore Society History Section) and Guha Shankar (Folklife Specialist, Research and Programs, American Folklife Center, LOC) were invited to help Lloyd, Taft and Williams draft the project forms. Williams applied to USU's Institutional Review Board for IRB approval, which was awarded: USU IRB protocol number 2761. The project was introduced at the 2010 American Folklore Society Meeting in Nashville, TN, by Bronner, Lloyd, Rudy, Taft and Williams.

Members of the American Folklore Society (and their students) are invited to participate in the project by being interviewed or by interviewing a member of the society. Project forms are available to guide the process. For history of folklorist oral history efforts see Simon Bronner's "American Folklorists' Voices in Print: A Critical Survey" (2011 Folklore Historian).

Content Description

The collection contains original sound, interview transcript/log, photographs and associated materials. Release forms housed in collection file.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

No restrictions on use, except: not available through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Use :  

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from the Collecting Memories: Oral Histories of American Folklorists must be obtained from the Curator of the Fife Folklore Archives and/or the Special Collections Department Head.

Preferred Citation :  

Collecting Memories: Oral Histories of American Folklorists, 2011. (FOLK COLL 46). Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives Department.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Collection arranged by interview chronologically by date and year.

Processing Note :  

Processed August 2011 by Randy Williams. Finding aid created by Randy Williams, August 2011 and updated April 2012.

Acquisition Information :  

The items in this collection were donated by the collector (interviewer) and/or interviewee. Each interview is accompanied by a release form.

Related Materials :  

Collecting Memories (digital version of the collection; includes links to American folklorist oral history efforts housed at other institutions)

USU MSS 206: American Folklore Society Records.

Folk Collection 20: The Barre Toelken Native American Collection

Folk Collection 35: The Barre Toelken Book Collection (American, German, and Native American folklore)

Folk Collection 35a: The Barre Toelken Image Collection (fieldwork images (1954-2002): topics include cemeteries, Native American, German/Austrian, Japanese, USA, and special motifs)

Folk Collection 35b: The Barre Toelken Sound Recording Collection (fieldwork recordings)

Custodial History :  

After the deposit of interview materials by the collector (interviewer) and/or interviewee, Utah State University Special Collections becomes the custodian of the material.

Detailed Description of the Collection

1 1 Toelken, Barre
Interview contains information on J. Barre Toelken's youth in Quabin Valley, Massachusetts, including song tradition of Daman family; college life at Utah State University and University of Washington; work in uranium mining in early 1950s and introduction to the Navajo community in Monument Valley, Utah; professional life as professor at University of Oregon and Utah State University: folklore studies, Middle English language and literature; fieldwork: Navajo legends collected from Hugh Yellowman (1960-70s); folksongs and ballads collecting in Oregon and Washington; family life: Miiko Toelken (wife); involvement in American Folklore Society, Societe Internationale d`Ethnologie et de Folklore (SIEF), National Storytelling Association; attitudes about ethics in folklore fieldwork. Release form housed in collection file.
2011 March
Item 1: CD of interview: parts 1 and 2
Item 2: CD of interview: parts 3 and 4
Item 3: Interview transcript
Item 4: Barre Toelken Curriculum Vitae
1 2 Edison, Carol
Interview contains information about Carol Edison and how she accidentally became a public sector folklorist, after earning BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Utah. She talks about the early days of public folklore programs in Utah, and how she eventually became the Utah Folk Arts Program Coordinator. She discusses the Utah State Collection of Folk Arts, and how it came to be. She also talks about her many experiences being a public sector folklorist over the years in Utah. Her interests include grave markers, Native American art (especially basket weaving), cowboy poetry, Mormon folk art, as well as others. Release form housed in collection file.
2013 April
Item 1: CD of interview
Item 2: Interview transcript
1 3 Siporin, Steve
In this interview Steve Siporin talks about how he was introduced to the field of folklore, his schooling experiences while earning his Masters Degree (at University of Oregon), and his PhD (at the University of Indiana), and positions he has held as a public folklorist over the years. He talks a little about his fieldwork experiences in the US West, as well as in Italy and Israel. He discusses his perspective on public folklore, and how the field has changed over time, and his views on the relevance of public folklore (and folklore) to the human experience.Release form housed in collection file.
2010 August
Item 1: CD of interview (including MS Word interivew transcript)
Item 2: CD of interview images
Item 3: Interview transcript
Item 4: Elaine Thatcher (interviewer) fieldnotes and photolog
Item 5: Photocopy of photograph taken of US public sector folklorists at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, 1983.

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    • Subject Terms :
    • Oral history
    • Personal Names :
    • Edison, Carol
    • Siproin, Steve
    • Toelken, Barre

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