Guide to the Isaac Garfield Greer Papers and Recordings, 1853 - 1978, undated

Summary Information

Title: Isaac Garfield Greer Papers and Recordings, 1853 - 1978, undated
Collection: AC.113
Extent: 5 linear feet (5 manuscript boxes, 2 flat reel boxes, 2 CD boxes, 3 oversize folders, 2 album boxes)
Abstract:

Isaac Garfield Greer, known as I.G. or "Ike", a Watauga County native who worked as an history and government professor for Appalachian State Teacher's College from 1910 to 1932, was one of the only early collectors of Watauga County folk songs and ballads. The bulk of this collection consists of Greer's written and recorded ballad collection from Watauga County, North Carolina. View portions of this collection online.

Creator: Greer, Isaac Garfield

Biographical/Historical Note

Isaac Garfield Greer (4 December 1881 - 24 November 1967) was an history and government professor for Appalachian State Teacher's College from 1910 to 1932. A native of Watauga County, North Carolina, he was born to Philip and Mary Greer of Zionville and initially worked as a public school teacher and principal until he was hired at Appalachian State Teacher's College. From 1932 to 1948, he worked as superintendent of Mills Baptist Children's Home in Thomasville, North Carolina. From 1948 to 1954, Greer was the Executive Vice-President of the Business Foundation of North Carolina. Greer and his first wife Willie Spainhour had two sons I.G. Greer, Jr. and Joseph P. Greer. Greer's second wife was Hattie O'Briant.

Dr. Greer was an avid collector and singer of folk songs. He was a nationally recognized authority of mountain folk music during his lifetime. A bass player, Greer and his wife, who played the dulcimer, performed at various regional school and civic functions. They were recorded singing several folk songs by Library of Congress from 1941 to 1946. Appalachian State Teacher's College dedicated the I.G. Greer Music Hall in 1966. Greer also had an active civic life. He was the president of the Southern Appalachian Historical Association and also served as a Boone City Alderman and a North Carolina House of Representatives.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains I.G. Greer's extensive collection of Appalachian and hillbilly folk song / ballad lyrics, along with recordings from the Library of Congress, homemade recordings of ballads and music, research papers, and correspondence and photographs of Greer. Dr. Greer was an avid collector and singer of folk songs and was a nationally recognized authority of mountain folk music during his lifetime. Some documents include the informant's name and others contain the musical arrangement. Also available are over 40 phonograph records, which include professional produced hillbilly music and Greer's singing.

Arrangement

This collection is divided into four series: Folk Song Lyrics; Personal Files; Research Papers, Clippings, Ephemera; and Audiovisual Materials. The lyrics series is filed alphabetically by song title, while other correspondence and research papers are arranged chronologically. The recordings are as close to original order as possible.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading without restrictions.

Acquisitions Information

In 1971, the family of I.G. Greer deeded the main body of folksong collection and Greer's correspondence to the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, then called the Appalachian Room. This collection was opened to the public in 2001.

Processing Information

Processed by Kathryn Staley, one graduate student, two undergraduate students and the librarian technician, 2001; Encoded by Kathryn Staley, Rachel Critzer, 2005; Minor reprocessing completed in 2014 by Anita Elliott. This collection was reprocessed as part of a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The grant funded extensive processing of the backlog within the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection between 2012 and 2014.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], AC.113: Isaac Garfield Greer Papers and Recordings, W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA.

Container List

Series I: Folk Song Lyrics, 1853-1957 

Series Description

Series I: Folk Song Lyrics contains Greer's laminated collection of folk songs and ballads alphabetized by title. Most have multiple versions. Some are written on the backs of other songs. Many songs include the musical arrangement and a few include information regarding the informant.

  Box Folder

Collection/Song Titles Index, 

1 1

Song Titles - "After the Ball, circa 1915 

1 2

Song Titles - "Afterwards" - "Art Thou Weary", undated 

1 3

Song Titles - "Baggage Coach Ahead", undated 

1 4

Song Titles - "Banks of Champlain" - "Billy Boy", undated 

1 5

Song Titles - "Billy Grimes, The Drover", undated 

1 6

Song Titles - "Black Jack David" - "Bobbie", undated 

1 7

Song Titles - "Bold Adkins" - "Barbara Allen", undated 

1 8

Song Titles - "Brave Wolfe" - "By the River Side", undated 

1 9

Song Titles - "Captain Ward" - "Columbia", undated 

1 10

Song Titles - "Come Dearest, the Daylight is Gone" - "Cruel Mother", undated 

1 11

Song Titles - "Dan You" - "Death of the Miner's Child", undated 

1 12

Song Titles - "Don't You see that Little Bird" - "The Dying Preacher", undated 

1 13

Song Titles - "Ella Grant" - "The Farmer's Boy", undated 

1 14

Song Titles - "Farther" - "Funniest Thing's a Frog", undated 

2 1

Song Titles - "Gambler's Dying Words" - "Grandfather's Clock", undated 

2 2

Song Titles - "Hail, America" - "The Homespun Dress", undated 

2 3

Song Titles - "The House Carpenter" - "Hymn of Liberty", undated 

2 4

Song Titles - "I am a Little Lad" - "I'll be all Smiles Tonight, Love", undated 

2 5

Song Titles - "I'll Hang my Harp on a Willow Tree" - "Irish Robber", undated 

2 6

Song Titles - "Jack and Joe" - "Jerry-go-Nimble", undated 

2 7

Song Titles - "Jimmy and Nancy" - "Johnny Dowl", undated 

2 8

Song Titles - "Just Fifty Years Ago" - "Just Twenty Years Ago", undated 

2 9

Song Titles - "Katherine Oggy" - "Little Bunch of Roses", undated 

2 10

Song Titles - "Little Darling" - "Little Rosewood Casket", undated 

2 11

Song Titles - "Lochnivar" - "Lover's Farewell", undated 

2 12

Song Titles - "Mabel Claire" - "The Mourning Dove", undated 

2 13

Song Titles - "Mountain Dulcimer" - "My Pretty Quadroon", undated 

2 14

Song Titles - "Naval Song" - "Old Joe Clark", undated 

3 1

Song Titles - "Old Mill Wheel" - "The Ore Knob Song", undated 

3 2

Song Titles - "The Orphan Girl" - "Perry's Victory", undated 

3 3

Song Titles - "Polly and the Soldier Boy" - "The Quaker Courtship", undated 

3 4

Song Titles - "Raven Black Hair" - "Run Rattler Run", undated 

3 5

Song Titles - "Sailor Boy" - "Shoe Cobbler", undated 

3 6

Song Titles - "The Silver Dagger" - "Sourwood Mountain", undated 

3 7

Song Titles - "Sparking on Sunday Night" - "Sweet William", undated 

3 8

Song Titles - "Sweet William and Fair Ellen" - "Sweet Willie", undated 

3 9

Song Titles - "Take This Letter to my Mother" - "Tittery Ira A", undated 

3 10

Song Titles - "Tom Halliard" - "Two Soldiers", undated 

3 11

Song Titles - "Voices of the Woods" - "When You Wore a Tulip", undated 

3 12

Song Titles - "Wife, Children and Friends" - "Youthful Prime", undated 

4 1

Song Collection - American and European Imperial Unabridged Song Collection, undated 

4 2

Song Collection - Home Songs, Academic Edition, for the Piano and Organ, No. 1, undated 

4 3

Scores and Words, Commercially Printer, Assorted, undated 

4 4

Song Titles Inventory Lists, undated 

4 5

Songs (incomplete copies) Without Titles, undated 

4 6
,

Series II: Personal Files, 1913-1968, undated 

Series Description

Series II: Personal Files contains biographical sketches of Greer, correspondence, outlines for sermons, various programs from plays, radio program information, and a hand-painted memory book given to the Greers by their Appalachian State Teachers College colleagues prior to their move to Thomasville, North Carolina in September 1932. Also included is a flyer from the 1931 White Top Mountain Music Festival.

  Box Folder

Biographical Sketches, Articles by and about I.G. Greer, 1965-1967, undated 

4 7

Correspondence, 1913-1959, undated 

4 8

Newspaper Clippings about Greer Family, 1927-1956 

4 9

Events Programs from Greer, 1925-1938, undated 

4 10

Photographs, black and white, of I.G.Greer, undated 

4 11

Radio Program Announcements and Two Sermon Outlines, circa 1936 

4 12

Memory Book, Personal Messages to the Greers upon Move to Thomasville, North Carolina, (original and copy), September 1932 

4 13
  Oversize Drawer

Folder with Laminated Song Lyrics and Newspaper Clippings (oversize), undated 

E1 18

Folder of I.G. Greer's Genealogy Chart (photocopied) from Genealogical Books in Print (oversize), undated 

E1 18
,

Series III: Research Papers, Clippings, and Ephemera, 1917-1976, undated

Series Description

Series III: Research Papers, Clippings, and Ephemera contains deeds to the Thomasville orphanage, a reprint of Benton MacKaye's "The Appalachian Trail: A Guide to the Study of Nature" from the April 1932 issue of Scientific Monthly, random school papers and newspaper clippings, and a photostatic copy of an undated partial letter from Andrew Jackson to an unknown individual.

  Box Folder

Assorted Notes and Papers, 1933-1959, undated 

5 1

Gwyn Biddix and Arlie and Ora Watson, Photographs and Song Lyrics, undated 

5 2

Gennett Records, Richmond, Indiana, Catalogs for Music (3), 1928, undated 

5 3

Bobby Hollowell, Lyrics and Clippings about "The Catfish Kid" and "She Comes On Softly", Songs by Hollowell, 1975-1976 

5 4

Library of Congress Music Division, Listing of Folk Recordings, and Song Lyrics, circa 1973 

5 5

Benton Mackaye, "The Appalachian Trail: A Guide to the Study of Nature", (original and copy), 1932 

5 6

Newspaper Clippings, 1917-1954, undated 

5 7

Papers on Folk-Lore and Superstitions, circa 1926, undated 

5 8

Various Legal Documents, 1923-1950, undated 

5 9
,

Series IV: Audiovisual Materials, 1981, undated

Series Description

Series IV: Audiovisual Materials contains 45 commercial and homemade phonographs, most undated. The record collection includes many professionally-produced Traditional Appalachian and American folk music as well as I.G. Greer's 1941-1946 Library of Congress contributions and original recordings. Also included are records from the opening of Boone radio station WATA and music from the Horn in the West. It is currently unknown why the collection includes records originating from after Greer's death.

There are also two reel-to-reel tapes, CD copies of several artist's recordings, and DVD copied of text and scans of the song lyrics from the Folk Song Lyrics Series I.

Subseries A: Reel-to-reel tapes, 1981, undated 

Contents

Reel #1 contains: On top of old Smoky Wayworn Travelers/Palms of Victory Tom Dula The Returned Soldier C. Alfonso Smith Story House Carpenter Barbara Allen

Reel #2 contains: The old arm chair Wife of User's Well Edward Earl Brand Tom Dula The Fellow that looks like me/Randolph III I wish I was a single girl again Black Jack Davy State of Arkansas

Box
6
  Tape

Reel #1 - I.G. Greer-Seven (7) Songs: On top of old Smoky-Barbara Allen, December 4, 1981 

Box 6

Reel #2 - I.G. Greer-Nine (9) Songs-The Old Arm Chair-State of Arkansas, undated 

Box 7

Subseries B: CD Copies of Various Artists' Recordings, undated 

  Box CD

Copy of Reel #1-I.G.Greer, December 4, 1981 

8 1

Copy of Reel #2-I.G. Greer, undated 

8 2

Copy of LC Folksong Recordings (22 songs), undated 

8 3

Copy of LC Folksong Recordings (23 songs), undated 

8 4

Copy of Various Songs (14), undated 

8 5

Copy of GFWC Convention in Asheville, North Carolina, June 1957, and W.B. Austin Dedication and Greer's Sermon, 1957 and 1966 

8 6

Copy of Folksong Selections (5 songs), undated 

8 7

Copy of Native Calypso Songs, undated 

8 8

Subseries C: Copies of Text and Scans of Lyrics from Folk Song Series I, undated 

  Box Disc

Song Titles "A", Disc 1, undated 

9 1

Song Titles-Banks at Champlain to Billy Grimes, Disc 2, undated 

9 2

Song Titles-Billy Grimes to Bruce's Address, Disc 3, undated 

9 3

Song Titles-The Bucket to Dark Hollow, Disc 4, undated 

9 4

Song Titles-Darling Cloe to Fellow that looks like Me, Disc 5, undated 

9 5

Song Titles-Fine Salley to Hail Liberty, Disc 6, undated 

9 6

Song Titles-Hamlet Wreck to I'll be all smiles tonight, Disc 7, undated 

9 7

Song Titles-Ill Wife to Johnny Been to Sea, Disc 8, undated 

9 8

Song Titles-Johnny Been to Sea to Little Oma Wise, Disc 9, undated 

9 9

Song Titles-Little Rosewood Casket to Mourning Dove, Disc 10, undated 

9 10

Song Titles-My Birthday to On the bankc of the Ohio, Disc 11, undated 

9 11

Song Titles-Only down at the Club to Polly and the Soldier Boy, Disc 12, undated 

9 12

Song Titles-Poor Married Man to Sassafras Tea, Disc 13, undated 

9 13

Song Titles-Sassafras Tea to Squires Sons, Disc 14, undated 

9 14

Song Titles-State Capitals to Tis Last Rose, Disc 15, undated 

9 15

Song Titles-Tittery ira to Wayfaring Stranger, Disc 16, undated 

9 16

Song Titles-We left Behind to Young Charlotte, Disc 17, undated 

9 17

Song Titles-Young Charlotte to Various Additions, Disc 18, undated 

9 18

Song Titles-Various Additions, Disc 19, undated 

9 19

Subseries D: Recordings, undated 

  Box Envelope

Record 1: GFWC Convention, Dr. and Mrs. Greer, sides 1 and 2, June 6, 1957 

10 1

Side 1:"GFWC Convention Dr. and Mrs. I. G. Greer, Asheville, North Carolina" on June 6, 1957, 

Side 2:"GFWC Convention Dr. and Mrs. I. G. Greer, Ballad Concert" on June 6, 1957, 

Record 2: Ballad Concert, sides 3 and 4, June 6, 1957 

10 2

Side 1:"Ballad Concert Dr. and Mrs. I.G. Greer" on June 6, 1957, 

Side 2:"Ballad Concert Dr. and Mrs. I.G. Greer" on June 6, 1957, 

Record 3: W.B. Austin Dedication and I.G. Greer, May 22, 1966, undated 

10 3

Side 1: W.B. Austin Dedication, May 22, 1966, 

Side 2: I.G. Greer, undated 

Record 4: Roy Acuff and his Crazy Tennesseans, Columbia Records, 

Side 1: Tell Mother I'll Be There (singing with Instrumental Acc.), 

Side 2: Great Speckle Bird no. 2 (singing with Instrumental Acc.), 

  Box Envelope

Record 5: FOLKSAY: Woody Guthrie & Cisco Houston; Pete Seeger and Orchestra, 

10 5

Side 1: Cindy (Country Dance) by Pete Seeger and Orchestra, 

Side 2: Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet (Tennessee Mountain song) by Woody Guthrie, Crisco Houston, 

Record 6: Black Jack Davy, parts I and II, by Dr. and Mrs. Greer, 

10 6

Side 1: Black Jack Davy-Part 1, Paramount Records, 

Side 2: Black Jack Davy-Part 2, Paramount Records, 

Record 7: Gwyn Foster, Harmonica Selections, Victor Records, 

10 7

Side 1: Black Pine Waltz by Gwen Foster (Harmonica Solo with Guitar), 

Side 2: Wilkes County Blues by Gwen Foster (Harmonica Solo), 

Record 8: FOLKSAY: Josh White and Lead Belly; Woody Guthrie, Asch Records, 

10 8

Side 1: Don't Lie Buddy by Josh White, Lead Belly, 

Side 2: Biggest Thing by Woody Guthrie, 

Record 9: In the Valley and Edward by I.G.Greer, undated 

10 9

Record 10: Mary Golden Tree, parts 1 & 2, by I.G. Greer, undated 

10 10

Record 11: Old Smokey and Blank side, by I.G. Greer, undated 

10 11

Record 12: Sweet William and Fair Ellen, parts 1 & 2, by I.G. Greer, undated 

10 12

Record 13: Songs by Mr. and Mrs. I.G. Greer and Mrs. Lena Bare Turbyfill, from Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Songs, 1939 and 1941 

10 13

Side 1: The Three Babes by I.G. Greer and Mrs. Greer, 1941 

Side 2: Bolakins (Lamkin) by Mrs. Lena Bare Turbyfill, 1939 

Record 14: Songs by I.G. Greer and Hobart Smith, from Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Songs, 1941 and 1942 

10 14

Side 1: Sanford Barney by I.G. Greer, 1941 

Side 2: Claude Allen by Hobart Smith, 1942 

Record 15: Songs by Four Artists, from Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Songs, 1941 and 1945 

10 15

Side 1.1: Rolly Trudum by Mrs. May K. McCord, 1941 

Side 1.2: The Tree in the Wood by Doney Hammontree, 1941 

Side 2.1: Sourwood Mountain by I.G. Greer and Mrs. Greer, 1945 

Side 2.2: The Darby Ram by Charles Ingethron, 1941 

Record 16: Songs by Three Artists, from Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Songs, 1941, 1943, 1946 

10 16

Side 1.1: The Widow's Old Broom by Charles Ingethron, 1941 

Side 1.2: Our Goodman by Orrin Rice, 1943 

Side 2: Sweet William by I.G. Greer and Mrs. Greer, 1946 

Record 17: Songs by Three Artists (copy 2), from Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song, 1941, 1943, 1946 

10 17

Side 1.1: The Widow's Old Broom by Charles Ingethron, 1941 

Side 1.2: Our Goodman by Orrin Rice, 1943 

Side 2: Sweet William by I.G. Greer and Mrs. Greer, 1946 

Record 18: Young Charlotte, parts 1 and 2, by I.G. and Mrs. Greer, from Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song, 1945 

10 18

Record 19: Young Charlotte, parts 1 and 2, by I.G. and Mrs. Greer, from Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song, (copy 2), 1945 

10 19

Record 20: Songs by Four Artists, from Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song, 1945 and 1946 

10 20

Side 1.1: Darling Cory by Pleaz Mobley, undated 

Side 1.2: Devilish Mary by Paul Rogers, 1946 

Side 2.1: Jack of Diamonds by Bill Nicholson, 1946 

Side 2.2: Old Smoky by I.G. Greer, 1945 

Record 21: Songs by Four Artists, from Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song, (copy 2), 1945 and 1946 

10 21

Side 1.1: Jack of Diamonds by Bill Nicholson, 1946 

Side 1.2: Old Smoky by I.G. Greer, 1945 

Side 2.1: Devilish Mary by Paul Rogers, undated 

Side 2.2: Darling Cory by Pleaz Mobley, 1946 

Record 22: Songs by Three Artists, from Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song, 1946 

10 22

Side 1.1: Fiddle-I-Fee by Mrs. Maud Long, 1946 

Side 1.2: Billy Grimes by I.G.Greer, 1946 

Side 2.1: Father Grumble by Jean Ritchie, 1946 

Side 2.2: Common Bill by I. G. and Mrs. Greer, 1946 

Record 23: Songs by Three Artists, from Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song, (copy 2), 1946 

10 23

Side 1.1: Fiddle-I-Fee by Mrs. Maud Long, 1946 

Side 1.2: Billy Grimes by I.G. Greer, 1946 

Side 2.1: Father Grumble by Jean Ritchie, 1946 

Side 2.2: Common Bill by I.G. and Mrs. Greer, 1946 

Record 24: Oxford Disc Record of Casey Jones by Collins and Harlan, undated 

10 24

45 Record 1: Gwyn Biddix with Toe River Valley Boys-Whoa, Mule, Whoa and Rubins Train, undated 

11 1

45 Record 2: Gwyn Biddix with Toe River Valley Boys-Whoa, Mule, Whoa and Rubins Train, (copy 2), undated 

11 2

45 Record 3: Gwyn Biddix with Toe River Valley Boys-Whoa, Mule, Whoa and Rubins Train, (copy 3), undated 

11 3

45 Record 4: Les Waldrop and Bobby Harden Trio-Last Night I made you cry, and The Appalachian Trail, 1978 

11 4

45 Record 5: Arlie and Ora Watson-Barbue Ellen; Lost John; Lil' Red Rocking Chair, undated 

11 5

45 Record 6: Arlie and Ora Watson-Barbue Ellen; Lost John; Lil' Red Rocking Chair, undated 

11 6

45 Record 7: Betty Vaiden Williams-Black is the color of my true lov'es hair; Who's gonna shoe my pretty little foot; Don't make no likker tonight; The Lass from the low countree, undated 

11 7

45 Record 8: Big Tom White-Shake, Rattle, and Roll; The Catfish Kid (Ballad of Jim Hunter, both by Bobby Hollowell), (autographed), 1976 

11 8

45 Record 9: Music from the Horn in the West Outdoor Drama, Boone, North Carolina-Lolly Too Dum, Buffalo Boys; Squirrel, the Fox, undated 

11 9

45 Record 10: Glenn Bolick-Sawmill Man, and Defenders of Freedom, Bailey's Camp Records, undated 

11 10

45 Record 11: Big Tom White-Promo Record of The Catfish Kid: The Ballad of Jim Hunter composed by Bobby Hollowell, 1976 

11 11

33 Record 12: Opening of WATA Radio Station-Strauss & Prelude, Dr. Dougherty and H. Wilcox; Hot Music, September 23-24, 1950 

11 12

33 Record 13: Native Calypso Songs, Royale Records, undated 

11 13

33 Record 14: Red Raper and his Mountaineers-Indian Nappanee, and Johnson's Old Gray Mule, undated 

11 14

33 Record 15: Wendell Hall and Shannon Quartet-Oh! Susanna, and Gwine Run All Night, undated 

11 15

33 Record 16: Riley Puckett-Ida Red, and Sally Goodwin, undated 

11 16

33 Record 17: Moran and Mack-Two Black Crows, parts 1 and 2, undated 

11 17

33 Record 18: The Carter Family-Sweet Fern, and Lulu Wall, undated 

11 18

33 Record 19: The Carter Family-John Hardy was a Desperate Little Man, and Bring Back my Blue-eyed Boy to me, undated 

11 19

Cassette Tape: I.G. Recordings, (see note for index), undated 

Scope and Contents

One cassette recording of I.G. Greer with following selections:

Side A The Old Arm Chair Wife of Usher's Well Edward Earl Brand Tom Dula Fellow that looks like Me Single Girl Black Jack Davey State of Arkansas

Side B The Three Babes Santoed Barney Sourwood Mountain Sweet William Young Charlie Old Smokey Bill Grimes Common Bill

11 20