Personal Papers, 1912-1974

Scope and content:

The Personal Papers series includes all items gathered by Brown during his career as folklorist and ethnomusicologist; these materials were 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. Brown's personal correspondence relates to his folklore study and is filed alphabetically. It includes an extensive alphabetical index and a chronological card index, both prepared for the editorial project. Correspondents include local folklorists and fellow professors. Other papers include composition books with fragmented transcriptions of folklore findings, a draft of a talk on folklore, photographs of Brown, and some printed material.

The vast folklore collection itself is filed alphabetically by contributor (the person who passed the folklore to Brown, not necessarily the person who knew the "lore" submitted to begin with) and also includes anonymous contributions. These "manuscripts," as Newman White labeled them, are the earliest extant record of the contributions, ranging from scrawled pencil notes on scrap pieces of paper to typescripts made by Brown and others from memory or made for one of his many efforts to publish a portion of the collection at various points in his life. Occasionally such a typescript will hold contributions of more than one person, and in such a case it is filed with one of the contributors, with cross-references. Especially prominent among the contributors is Maude Minish Sutton, a fellow folklorist, who gave Brown the use of her large findings of songs and games, among other contributions, along with her often voluminous notes on these items.

Part of the folklore collection features folders of clippings gathered by Brown, arranged according to Brown's classification scheme, described below. Another portion of this series is the Papers and Articles subseries, which contains auxiliary folklore information gathered throughout Brown's effects by White and arranged in rough alphabetical order. These materials include specialized bibliographies, student papers, and printed items.


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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

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