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Last edited by Lance Arthur
March 9, 2010 | History

Vance Randolph

23 February 1892 - 1 November 1980

Vance Randolph (February 23, 1892 - November 1, 1980) was a famous folklorist who studied the folklore of the Ozarks in particular. He wrote a number of books on topics including the Ozarks, Little Blue Books, and juvenile fiction.

Randolph was born in Pittsburg, Kansas, the son of a lawyer and a teacher. Despite being born in a privileged home, Randolph dropped out of high school to work on leftist leaning publications. This did not stop him from attending college and he graduated from what is now Pittsburg State University in 1914. He pursued graduate work at Clark University and received a Master of Arts degree in psychology.

He moved to Pineville, McDonald County, Missouri in 1919. He never moved away from the Ozarks and remained in the Ozark Mountains from 1920 until his death. He met his first wife in McDonald County, Marie Wardlaw Wilbur, and made a living by writing for sporting and outdoor publications. While writing, Randolph used pseudonyms, but never for his work on the Ozark culture.

In 1927, Randolph had his first article published in the Journal of American Folklore, based on work on Ozark dialect and folk beliefs. The dialect work led to multiple publications throughout the 1920's and 1930's in American Speech and Dialect Notes. In 1947, Randolph had his first major book release, published through Columbia University, Ozark Superstitions.

Randolph wrote about non-folklore aspects of Ozark society, such as music. His Ozark Mountain Folks describes the creation of a distinctive church choir singing style created by a corps of uncredentialed, itinerant choral instructors.

Pissing in the Snow and Other Ozark Folktales was a national bestseller. He published over a dozen works on Ozark folklore. A longtime member of The Missouri Folklore Society, he was elected a Fellow of the American Folklore Society in 1978. He married Mary Celestia Parler in 1962. He died in 1980 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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History Created April 1, 2008 · 5 revisions
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March 9, 2010 Edited by Lance Arthur Added new photo
March 9, 2010 Edited by Lance Arthur Edited without comment.
March 9, 2010 Edited by Lance Arthur Correct name order
January 3, 2009 Edited by ImportBot Found a matching record from Buffalo State College .
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user initial import