Guide to the Richard Chase Papers, 1928-1988

Summary Information

Title: Richard Chase Papers, 1928-1988
Collection: AC.133
Extent: 3.5 linear feet (1 box, 1 small shoebox, 1 oversize folder)

The Richard Chase Papers is a collection of materials on folklorist Richard Chase, who was known especially for mountain tales such as the "Jack Tales." These papers appear to have originated from Dean Trivette, with whom Chase corresponded.

Creator: Chase, Richard, 1904-1988

Biographical/Historical Note

Richard Chase (1904-1988) was a folklorist who collected folk tales. Chase obtained a B.S. from Antioch College. In 1935, Chase met Marshall Ward of Beech Mountain, North Carolina. Chase collected tales in Watauga County and western Virginia until 1943 and published two books based on his informants. Chase lived in California from 1964 to approximately 1975. He published several audiocassettes, was in many video cassettes, and wrote several books including The Jack Tales, American Folk Tales and Songs: and other examples of English-American tradition as preserved in the Appalachian Mountains and elsewhere in the United States, The Grandfather Tales: American-English Folk Tales, Jack and the Three Sillies, Billy Boy, Singing Games and Playparty Games, Old songs and Singing Games, Hullabaloo and Other Singing Folk Games, Wicked John and the Devil. Chase also used the pen name "Tom Hunt." Chase had one daughter, Ann Gay Chase Applegate.

Marvin Dean Trivette (1946-1989), a native of Meat Camp, North Carolina, met Chase in 1958 while Chase conducted field research on Trivette's grandfather Claud Proffitt. Trivette attended Berea College from 1965-1969 majoring in English. He worked as a librarian at University of Kentucky and in retail business management.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence to and from Richard Chase, articles about his works, activities, and appearances, and a variety of papers he collected over the years. The audio-visual materials include black and white and color photographs, one VHS of his memorial service, a CD of a radio program he presented in 1980, a cassette of a letter to Dean Trivitte, as well as user and archival copies of these items.


Deborah Bell originally accessioned this collection. The Richard Chase Papers is divided into five series: Correspondence (Sent Subseries, Received Subseries), Materials Written by Chase, Materials Written about Chase, Materials Collected, and Audiovisual materials. This collection follows most of Bell's original arrangement.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room. An appointment for research is recommended. The Dougherty Reading Room is located on the 4th floor of Belk Library in Special Collections.

Acquisitions Information

Provenance is unknown. The accession number is MCR. This collection was opened to the public on 15 August 2002.

Processing Information

Processed by Kathryn Staley, 2002; encoded by Kathryn Staley, 2005; Revised processing by Anita Elliott, 2013. 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.133: Richard Chase Papers, W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA.

Container List

Series I:  Correspondence, 1965-1988, undated

Series Description: Subseries A: Sent contains letters from Richard Chase to Dean Trivette, a native of Meat Camp, North Carolina, and various others, arranged chronological by recipient. Within the letters to Trivette, Chase discusses his activities, repeatedly requested correspondence and visits from Trivette, and gave commentary about various authors and an unnamed trait, presumably homosexuality. Other letters include one to Watauga County native Dexter Stine. Later correspondence is dictated.

Subseries B: Received contains one letter from Dean Trivette and letters written to Richard Chase from others including Hayward Cirker of Dover Publications, Virginia governor Linwood Holton, Myles Horton, "Lovelone (sic) Indian," Edwin P. Moldof of Great Books Foundation, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and novelist Mary Renault. One letter signed "Harry" is believed to be from Harry Hay, the founder of Mattachine Society and the Radical Fairies.

Subseries A: Sent, 1964-1987, undated

Correspondence to Dean Trivette, undated-1967 Box 1.1
Correspondence to Dean Trivette, 1968-1987 Box 1.2
Correspondence to others, 1964-1971, undated Box 1.3

Subseries B: Received, 1964-1987, undated

Correspondence Received by Chase, 1966-1988, undated Box 1.4

Series II:  Materials Written by Chase, 1928-1981, undated

Series Description: Series II: Materials Written by Chase contains various essays and poems written by Chase, in chronological order.

Various Writings/Letters by Chase, 1928-1980, undated Box 1.5
Book Jacket for "American Folk Tales and Songs" compiled by Richard Chase, undated Box 1.6

Series III:  Materials Written about Chase, 1954-1988, undated

Series Description: Series III: Materials Written about Chase contains reviews and fliers in chronological order.

Articles about Chase, 1954-1988, undated Box 1.7-8

Series IV:  Materials Collected, 1954-1980, undated

Series Description: Series IV: Materials Collected includes papers collected by Richard Chase in chronological order.

Collection of Papers, 1954-1980, undated Box 1.9

Series V:  Audiovisual Materials, 1984-1988

Series Description: Series V: Audio-visual Materials contains Chase's 1984 audio cassette letter to Dean Trivette and his 1988 Memorial Service. The audio cassette is in Chase's own voice. The Memorial Service includes eulogies of his friends.

Chase's Audio Letter to Dean Trivette, August 1984 Box 2
User CD Copy of Audio Letter, August 1984 Box 2
Chase's Radio Program on CD from Lansing Elementary School, Lansing, North Carolina, 1980 Box 2
Archival CD Copy of Radio Program, Lansing, North Carolina, 1980 Box 2
Richard Chase Memorial Service (VHS), March 13, 1988 Box 2
Archival CD Copy of Chase Memorial Service, March 13, 1988 Box 2
Photographs, Black and White, mostly of Richard Chase, 1961, undated Box 1.10