Participation Type

Panel

Session Title

Session 9.12 Archives: Bascom Lamar Lunsford, Archives, and the Politics of Culture

Session Abstract or Summary

This panel explores the archival collections that document Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s life and work and examines Lunsford’s role as a broker within twentieth-century Asheville’s cultural politics.

Bascom Lamar Lunsford (1882-1973) was an important figure in the preservation and promotion of traditional Appalachian music through his extensive collection of handwritten folksongs and ballads; his recording of his “Memory Collections” for Columbia University in 1935 and for the Library of Congress in 1949; and through the 1928 founding of the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in Asheville, North Carolina followed by the establishment of folk festivals throughout North Carolina and beyond. Through the course of his long life and career, Lunsford created a rich documentary record that he left to Mars Hill University, the site of his birth. Papers by Karen Paar and Carol Boggess will discuss this collection and efforts to share it with the campus and the wider world. The third paper in this session, presented by Berea College Archivist Harry Rice, will describe a collection created through the research of Lunsford biographer Loyal Jones and efforts to share this collection. Finally, David Whisnant, who wrote a compelling article about Bascom Lamar Lunsford published by Appalachian Journal in 1979, will take a fresh look at Lunsford and his role in the long-term politics of culture in Asheville through the lens of new research he is doing for his blog, “Asheville Junction.”

Presentation #1 Title

Mars Hill University’s Lunsford Collection: Documenting a Life and a Culture

Presentation #1 Abstract or Summary

Karen Paar (Moderator) will set the stage for the panel by giving a brief overview of Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s life and career and then speak about the large and rich archival collection that he assembled over the course of this career and gave to Mars Hill University. Paar will discuss the ways that MHU’s Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies and the Southern Appalachian Archives are working to provide access to this collection on campus and beyond, and she will give an overview of the subjects addressed by materials in the collection.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #1

Karen Paar is the Director of the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies and the Archivist for the Southern Appalachian Archives at Mars Hill University in western North Carolina. She completed a M.L.S. at North Carolina Central University and a Ph.D. in Latin American History before coming to Mars Hill in 2008. She currently serves as the Board Chair of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.

Presentation #2 Title

Bringing the Archives into the Classroom: Lunsford’s Ballad Collection

Presentation #2 Abstract or Summary

Carol Boggess will present the instructional materials she and student researcher Kristina Blackford created to bring Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s ballad collection into the classroom in order to teach students about this rich musical tradition and give them the opportunity to work with primary sources. Boggess created this unit during her tenure as Hart-Melvin Archival Research Fellow in the Southern Appalachian Archives at Mars Hill University in 2010. Since then, several classes complete this ballad unit each semester. Boggess will describe the project, the ways it has engaged students in understanding Appalachian history and culture, and its role in primary source instruction.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #2

Carol Boggess is Professor of English and acting Faculty Chair of the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies at Mars Hill University in Western North Carolina. In addition to introducing students to the region's geography and culture, she has special interest in reading Appalachian literature and completing the biography of James Still.

Presentation #3 Title

Berea College’s Lunsford Collection: Placing the ‘Minstrel’ in the Appalachians

Presentation #3 Abstract or Summary

Harry Rice will discuss Berea’s Bascom Lamar Lunsford collection that came together as the result of Loyal Jones’ research for the writing of his Lunsford biography, Minstrel of the Appalachians: The Story of Bascom Lamar Lunsford. Rice will focus on Berea’s efforts to make the collection widely accessible through online interpretive resources that focus on its particular strengths, especially the audio recordings of interviews with Bascom Lunsford and several of his associates made by Loyal Jones.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #3

Harry Rice has been the Sound Archivist in the Department of Archives and Special Collections at Berea College's Hutchins Library since 1996. He works to preserve and make accessible Berea’s extensive collections of noncommercial audio and video materials that document Appalachian history and culture and the history of Berea College, especially in the areas of fiddle and banjo tunes; ballads; Old Regular Baptist singing and preaching; folktales; oral history, and 1930s-1950s Kentucky radio programs.

Presentation #4 Title

Bascom Lamar Lunsford as Broker in Asheville’s Politics of Culture

Presentation #4 Abstract or Summary

David Whisnant will examine Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s role as a culture broker in Asheville from his founding of the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in 1928 (then part of the Rhododendron Festival) and beyond. Whisnant will explore Asheville’s long-term politics of culture and the town’s ambivalence about its mountain setting and mountain people, while drawing out meta-issues and questions from this examination of Lunsford and Asheville culture. Whisnant’s presentation is based on his 1979 Appalachian Journal article, “Finding the Way Between the Old and the New: The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival and Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s Work as a Citizen,” and on his latest project, the blog titled, “Asheville Junction,” which he describes as “an Asheville outmigrant writing at the intersection of personal history, family, community, and region.”

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #4

David E. Whisnant earned his Ph.D. from Duke University and spent thirty years doing teaching and research at the University of Illinois, the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of four books and scores of articles and reviews on traditional and vernacular culture, the politics of culture, and cultural policy in the American South, the Appalachian region, and Latin America.

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COinS
 
Mar 29th, 9:15 AM Mar 29th, 10:30 AM

Mars Hill University’s Lunsford Collection: Documenting a Life and a Culture

Karen Paar (Moderator) will set the stage for the panel by giving a brief overview of Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s life and career and then speak about the large and rich archival collection that he assembled over the course of this career and gave to Mars Hill University. Paar will discuss the ways that MHU’s Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies and the Southern Appalachian Archives are working to provide access to this collection on campus and beyond, and she will give an overview of the subjects addressed by materials in the collection.