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Collections Used By Berea Sound Archives Fellows

D. K. Wilgus Folklore Collection

These are correspondence, ballads, songs, stories, sayings, and legends collected by folklorist D.K. Wilgus (1918-1989).

The Wilgus collection is an important resource for the continued study of many aspects of Kentucky Folklore.  It includes material that Wilgus collected directly and via students while teaching at Western Kentucky State College (now University) 1950-1962. Also included are a sizable body of folksong, ballad, and other material that Wilgus obtained from such earlier folklore scholars as Josiah Combs, Herbert Halpert, and E.C. Parrow whose study of Kentucky folklore date to the turn of the nineteenth century.


Jim Carrier Madison, Wisconsin / 2008-2009 Fellow / Topic: Music - Banjo

Jim CarrierProject: Jim Carrier is a longtime journalist who is currently writing a documentary script on the racial history of the banjo. Jim's Music Fellowship work will focus on banjo history, music and styles played by black and white individuals and bands in Appalachia. His study will utilize the Buell Kazee, John Lair, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, John F. Smith, Jeff Titon and D.K. Wilgus collections.  Jim and Bill Evans, an ethnomusicologist and professional banjo player, are proposing a 90-minute film to PBS. Evans and Rhiannon Giddens, an African American banjo player currently with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, will serve as film co-hosts who retrace their personal journeys of discovery into the history of the banjo. The documentary will include filming in Africa, explore the various branches of the banjo family, and deal forthrightly with the racial issues that the banjo accompanied.


Erich Nunn / Leesville, Louisiana / 2009-2010 / Topic: Race and American Roots Music

Erich NunnProject: Erich Nunn teaches courses at Auburn University on the literature and culture of the American South. His Berea Fellowship work is in furtherance of a book project on race and American roots music,Sounding the Color Line: Music and Race in the Southern Imagination (The New Southern Series. University of Georgia Press. 2015). He will focus particularly on materials in the Bradley Kincaid and D.K. Wilgus collections and the archive's commercial country music recordings from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.