Jean Thomas The Life and the Legend scrapbook

Abstract

The Jean Thomas The Life and the Legend scrapbook (dated 1943-1984; 0.55 cubic feet; 1 box) consists of a scrapbook concerning the life of Kentucky folklorist Jean Thomas, which was compiled by University of Kentucky student, Jerry Groce.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Jean Thomas The Life and the Legend scrapbook
Extent
0.56 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Ballads, English.
Folklorists -- Kentucky -- Biography.
Historians.
Historic buildings -- Kentucky -- Ashland.
Mountain people -- Songs and music.
Museums -- Kentucky -- Ashland.
Singers.
Songs -- United States.
Arrangement
Collection is arranged chronologically.
Finding Aid Author
Processed by: Archives Staff ; machine-readable finding aid created by:Eric Weig
Preferred Citation
87m47: [identification of item], Jean Thomas The Life and the Legend scrapbook, 1943-1984, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Author, historian, and singer Jean Thomas, founder of the American Folk Song Festival, was born in Ashland, Ky. November 20, 1881. She met her husband while in New York, where she studied at Hunter College and the Pulitzer School of Journalism. After living and working in Greenwich Village, Mrs. Thomas moved to Hollywood where she worked as a script girl for Cecil B. DeMille. At age 17 she returned to Kentucky and served as a court stenographer traveling on horseback and transcribing testimonies of feuds and murders, thus exposing her to the traditions of the people of the mountains. While traveling in the eastern Kentucky mountains as a stenographer, she became known as the Traipsin Womanand during that period she collected and preserved their folklore, traditions, and music.
In the late 1930s, realizing a fascination that she had for the songs and culture of the Kentucky mountain people, she founded the American Folk Song Festival which she personally conducted for over 35 years at or near her home in Ashland. In addition, Jean Thomas wrote nine books dealing with Kentucky folklore including The Traipsin' Woman (1933) and the Singin' Gatherin' (1939).
Because she collected artifacts and memorabilia of all kinds, her home became a treasure of antiques and trivia of museum proportion and in 1979 the Jean Thomas Museum - centered around a reconstructed version of her home, Wee House in the Woods - was opened to the public.
Scope and Content
The Jean Thomas The Life and the Legend scrapbook (dated 1943-1984; 0.55 cubic feet; 1 box) consists of a scrapbook concerning the life of Kentucky folklorist Jean Thomas, which was compiled by University of Kentucky student, Jerry Groce. Jerry Groce was also from Ashland, Kentucky. Included in the scrapbook entitled, Jean Thomas: The Life and the Legend, are photographs, photocopies of articles, correspondence and broadsides dealing with her life and work as a folklorist. Known as the Traipsin Woman, Jean Thomas' life was dedicated to the preservation of the eastern Kentucky mountain culture particularly in song. The scrapbook includes some later newspaper clippings centering around celebrations of her birthdays and contain information on the restoration of her home, Wee House in the Woods, for use as a museum.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Jean Thomas The Life and the Legend scrapbook

  • Box 1, item 1
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UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open by appointment only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Materials must be requested at least 5 days before your appointment.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

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