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Gospel Songs, Hymns & Sermons in the Berea Sound Archives

Gospel Songs, Hymns & Sermons Research Guides

These guides are the work of Archives staff and scholars supported by the College’s Sound Archives Fellowship Program.

Old Regular Baptist lined-out hymns, shaped note singing, gospel music, and sermons are the religious expressions highlighted in these collections and research guides.

African American Rural Hymnody & The Sacred Harp

Documentation of the four-shape-note singing tradition in the "Wiregrass" region of Alabama from the William H. Tallmadge Baptist Hymnody Collection 1968-1980, SAA 33 and Rural Hymnody Symposium Collection, RG 11.02.

Gospel Quartet Radio Performances

Kevin Kehrberg (2007 Appalachian Sound Archives Fellow) focused on the gospel quartets documented in Berea's radio program collections, especially the Renfro Valley Gatherin' and other programs John Lair aired on network radio from Renfro Valley in the 1940s and 1950s.

Studying the Evolution of Rural Hymnody

Meredith Doster (2009 Appalachian Sound Archives Fellow) focused particularly on the conflicts between the four- and seven-shape note traditions of the 19th century as one example of the tension created when traditions and their rituals change. Her work also analyzes the deep-seated ties between land, culture and religion in small, rural communities and the collective impact of those qualities on worship practices.


Gospel Songs, Hymns & Sermons Finding Aids

These collections contain audio and / or video content. Click on the collection title for more information, a complete list of collection materials, and links to the digitized content.

William H. Tallmadge Baptist Hymnody Collection 1968-1980

Include sound recordings compiled by William H. Tallmadge in the process of his study of Old Regular, Primitive, and United Baptist hymnody in eastern Kentucky, western North Carolina, and western Virginia during the 1960s and 1970s.

Symposium on Rural Hymnody Collection, 1974-1982

Includes recordings of Symposium presentations and related musical performances.  Also included are recordings of Sunday morning and afternoon worship and singing at the Left Beaver Old Regular Baptist Church at Martin, Floyd County, Kentucky April 29, 1979.