About Mac E. Barrick and His Pennsylvania Folk Belief Collection

This site contains material collected by folklorist Mac E. Barrick (1933-1991) during the 1960s to the 1980s in central Pennsylvania.  A native of Newville, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, he taught not far from his childhood home at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Familiar with the people of central Pennsylvania, he documented various forms of folklife such as architecture, crafts, and music. As a result of the location for his fieldwork, much of the material is from tradition-bearers of German and Scots-Irish background. The folk belief material, originally documented on over 100,000 index cards, was intended for a national project organized by the late Wayland Hand (1907-1986) of UCLA to record folk beliefs according to a classification system that was useful for researchers. Dr. Hand did not live to see the ambitious project realized but Dr. Barrick kept collecting to use the material in his own research. It grew to become one of the largest individually compiled private collections of field material in North America. Dr. Barrick expanded the project with additions of  folk speech, games, narratives, and folk medicine to his archives.  After his death in 1991, the family donated his collection to the Center for Pennsylvania Culture Studies at Penn State Harrisburg.   With support from the McCormick Foundation, the Center stabilized and catalogued his archives and subsequently converted the information on the cards to electronic databases to promote folkloristic research and make the material publicly accessible.