Guide to the Johnny Rhymer Music and Papers, 1869-2004, undated

Summary Information

Title: Johnny Rhymer Music and Papers, 1869-2004, undated
Collection: AC.825
Extent: 6.0 linear feet (8 boxes, 1 envelope in cold storage)

The Johnny Rhymer Music and Papers gives a wide assortment of items and memorabilia collected in the life of a fiddler/singer from western North Carolina in the 1940s and 1950s, along with pieces of his and his wife's families' histories and everyday labor and struggles, from old photographs and song lyrics to World War II literature and photographs to Rhymer's musical career and samples of his actual music.

Creator: Rhymer, Johnny H., 1920-2001

Biographical/Historical Note

Johnny H. Rhymer was born in 1920 in North Carolina and died in 2001. He married Hazel Martha Boone (1923-2013) from Yancey County, North Carolina. He served in the Armed Forces in World War II, registering in 1941.

Hazel's brother Claude Boone was also a singer and recorded a cassette for her, found in Series II. Johnny sang and played fiddle with Farmer's Federation with Chub Parham, Phil Rhymer and Louie Taylor in the 1970s. Several of the original cassettes state "at Chub's" when recorded. This band traveled throughout western North Carolina playing at picnics of farmers.

He also played with the Bear Creek Ramblers. This band was awarded a certificate from Mars Hill College, North Carolina in 1972 for their efforts to preserve the culture of the Appalachian Mountain Region via the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Minstrel of the Appalachia Festival. Johnny also received several of these certificates between 1972-1981.

Scope and Contents

Series I has correspondence between Johnny Rhymer and the State of North Carolina about his job and receiving disability, tax receipts of his father, A.G. Rymer back to 1906, several deeds between Rymer/Rhymer family members dating back to 1869, photographs, birth certificates, timber-cutting receipts from which Rhymer built his house, and numerous other papers.

Series II has original audiocassettes and phonograph records of 1940s country and bluegrass singers and pickers, which have been digitized, a black and white photograph of Henry Frisbee, Johnny's uncle who gave him his fiddle, certificates of distinction from Mars Hill College festivals, old programs and song lyrics published and mailed by popular bands and entertainers, and a myriad of other memorablilia of Johnny's musical days.

Series III: Armed Forces Papers and Mementos contains a variety of papers, booklets, two New Testaments, two histories of Rhymer's unit, and a handmade wooden box fashioned while serving active duty during World War II for the safekeeping of his photographs.


This collection is divided into three series: Series I: Personal Papers and Photographs; Series II: Rhymer's Music and Papers; and Series III: U.S. Armed Forces Papers and Mementos. The original audiocassettes have been digitized into user and archival CD copies, found in Series II. Phonographs will be digitized upon request.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

With the exception of one folder containing confidential materials, 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

This collection was donated by Hazel Boone Rhymer (Johnny's wife) in 2004 and accessioned as AC.2005.001.

Processing Information

This was processed by Anita Elliott, February-March 2014. This collection was processed 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.825: Johnny Rhymer Music and Papers, W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA.

Container List

Series I: Personal Papers and Photographs, 1869-1982, undated 

Series Description

Series I: Personal Papers and Photographs contains birth certificates, a marriage certificate, disability correspondence, family deeds, surveys and other legal documents, family mementos and photographs of Johnny and Hazel Boone Rhymer and their families.


COLD STORAGE: Color Photographs, Hazel Boone Rhymer, Fred Hay, and unidentified man, and Color Negatives, undated 

  Box Folder

Birth Certificates, Johnny Rhymer and Hazel Boone, Marriage Certificate, 1920-1941 

1 1

Correspondence to A.G., Lina and Kittie Rymer, 1929-1966, undated 

1 2

Correspondence/Medical Papers, re: Johnny Rhymer's Job and Disability, 1972-1982 

1 3

County and City Tax Receipts for A.G. Rymer, 1906-1957 

1 4

Deeds and Surveys, Rhymer Family Members, 1869-1981, undated 

1 5

Legal Documents and Insurance Policies, A.G. and Lina Rymer and Kittie Rymer, 1929-1944 

1 6

Mementos and Keepsakes of Rhymer Family Members, 1936-1945 

1 7

Photograph, Nancy Cody, Hazel Boone Rhymer's Grandmother and Little Boy, Madison County, North Carolina, undated 

1 8

Receipts and Vehicle Registrations and Purchase Papers, circa 1908-1965 

1 9

Receipts, Paul Dockery, Timber, Wood used to build Rhymer's House, 1961-1963 

1 10

Rhymer's Field Book, Entries, 1951-1977 

1 11

RESTRICTED: Rhymer's Statements of Earnings, Deductions and Leave, October 1969-August 1974 

1 12

Social Insurance Award Letter, Aley J. and Lina Rhymer, 1957 

1 13

Series II: Rhymer's Music and Papers, 1949-2004, undated 

Series Description

Series II: Rhymer's Music and Papers contains mementos and photographs of his musical groups and career, several publications with articles about those groups with song lyrics sung by them, and some photographs of Rhymer and groups/musicians with whom he played and sang. It also contains twenty-four phonographs, 21 cassettes and user and archival copies of them.

  Box Folder

Articles on Johnny Rhymer and Musical Events, 1977-2004, undated 

2 1

Articles within Original Journals on Carl Story and Claude Boone, 1951-1985 

2 2

Audiovisuals, Original Phonographs 45s and 78s, (18 and 7 blanks), undated 


Audiovisuals, Original Cassettes and CDs of Music (21), 1987-1991, undated 


Audiovisuals, Archival and User CD Copies of Audiocassettes and CDs, 1987-1991, undated 


Awards, Bascom Lamar Lunsford Awards, to Johnny Rhymer for Significant Contributions in Music, 1989 and 1994 

  Box Folder

Carl Story and the Rambling Mountaineers, Song Books and Picture Albums, undated 

2 3

Henry Frisbee Photograph, black & white, Johnny Rhymer's Matenal Uncle (11x14), undated 

  Box Folder

Mars Hill College Certificates, Bascom Lamar Lunsford Minstral of the Appalachia Festival (and copies), 1972-1981 

2 4

Photographs, Song Lyrics, The Mountain Boys with Johnny Rhymer, undated 

2 5

Program, Hubert Hayes Mountain Youth Jamboree, Asheville, North Carolina, 1949 

2 6

Song Lyrics, Handwritten and Typed, Author and Dates Unknown, undated 

2 7

Songbook, "Singing America", by National Recreation Association, undated 

2 8

Series III: U.S. Armed Forces Papers and Mementos, 1912-1994 

Series Description

Series III: U.S. Armed Forces Papers and Mementos contains a variety of papers, booklets, two New Testaments, two histories of Rhymer's unit, and a handmade wooden box fashioned while serving active duty during World War II for the safekeeping of his photographs.


Daily Devotional Book, "Strength and Service to God and Country", 1942 


New Testament Rhymer carried while in Army, with place for Hazel's photo inside front cover, circa 1942 


Rhymer's World War II New Testament, Protestant Version, given by Army of the United States, 1942 


Chemical Warfare Technical Bulletin-Restricted-No. 5-3-1, October 4, 1942 


"A History of the 461st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion", 1945 


Booklet, Veteran Benefits, from VFW, Asheville, North Carolina, 1949 


"A History of the 461st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Weapons Battalion" by Pete Bouis and Francis H. Breyette, 1983 


Bulletin, "Fighting 69th Infantry Division Association, Inc.", May-August 1984 


Special Issue, Asheville Citizen-Times, "D-Day", June 6, 1994 


US Armed Forces-related Papers, 1912-1945 


Handmade Wooden Box for Rhymer's World War II Photographs, circa 1943