Frank Clyde Brown papers, 1912-1974 70 Linear Feet — 98 manuscript boxes; 1 oversize box — approximately 54,000 items
Collection centers around folklorist Frank Clyde Brown's papers related to his lifelong exploration and collecting of North Carolina and Appalachian folklore, which resulted in this vast archival collection of original folklore materials and editorial records for the project which published Brown's work in seven volumes as (The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, 1952-1964. Materials comprise about 1,049 tunes and songs recorded on wax cylinders and lacquer and aluminum phonodiscs, backup copies of the recordings on glass lacquer phonodiscs made by the Library of Congress in the 1940s, 30,000 written notes on lore, 650 musical scores, and numerous journal articles, student theses, books, lists, and other items. The folklore sources originated in at least 84 North Carolina counties, with about 5 percent from 20 other states and Canada, and came from the efforts of 650 other contributors besides Brown himself. Also included are the research notes and other papers of Charles Bond, a Duke graduate student who dealt with the collection in 1970.
Subjects range widely and include: ballads and songs (music as well as lyrics); European roots of North American folklore; folk music; folk poetry; games and parties; oral traditions and storytelling; superstitions; social conditions in the Southern States; African American traditions; work songs; and North American folklore in general. In addition, one can find rich resources on the study and teaching of folklore, and attitudes during the 1920s to 1950s about Southern customs and communities.
The collection is divided into the following series: Cylinders and Discs, which includes the Library of Congress glass lacquer phonodisc copies, Personal Papers, General Editors' Papers, Associate Editors' Papers, Charles Bond Research Material.
The Recordings Series includes 1,049 performances on original wax cylinders and phonodiscs, re-recordings of the cylinders and discs created by the Library of Congress in the 1940s, and supplementary materials. The original wax cylinders and phonodiscs were digitized and described as part of a CLIR/Mellon grant in 2015-2018.
The Personal Papers series includes Brown's correspondence, research files, and the extensive materials in the folklore collection, which include transcriptions and sheet music. All items were gathered by Brown, and taken over in 1943 by Dr. Newman Ivey White, who served as first general editor of the project from its inception then until his death in 1948. The General Editors' Papers include items which were related to and produced by the work of White, and Paull Franklin Baum who assumed duties at White's death, and saw the project through to its completion in 1964. The Associate Editors' Papers have been organized by editor, and include drafts and typescripts for various volumes.
The Charles Bond Research Material Series stems from the work of Charles Bond, a student of Professor Holger O. Nygard at Duke University. Bond opened the archival collection in 1970-1971, and prepared both an outline as well as a Tabulation of Unpublished Items in the collection. This series also includes correspondence, an index, and card files.