Folklorists in Penn State’s Past

Penn State has a long history in folklore studies, and the university formerly had a Folklore Program. Some notable scholars who have taught at Penn State include:

Archer Taylor (1890-1973)

The famed scholar of proverbs and riddles taught at Pennsylvania State College from 1910-1912, later teaching at Washington University, the University of Chicago, and the University of California, Berkeley. Archer Taylor’s significant contributions to the study of folklore continue to be remembered in the Archer Taylor Memorial Lecture, given annually to the Western States Folklore Society.

Samuel Preston Bayard (1908-1997)

Bayard, a folk music scholar, received his BA from Pennsylvania State College in 1934. After graduate study at Harvard, Bayard returned to Penn State, where he taught English and comparative literature at the University Park campus from 1945-1973. He also established the university’s program in folklore. Penn State holds a significant collection of Bayard’s papers and has digitized his folklore recordings.

William Bernard McCarthy (1939-2008)

William Bernard McCarthy, professor emeritus of English at Penn State DuBois, was a scholar of ballad and folktale, perhaps best known for his edited books Jack in Two Worlds: Contemporary North American Tales and Their Tellers (1994, UNC Press) and Cinderella in America: A Book of Folk and Fairy Tales (2007, University Press of Mississippi). Penn State holds a collection of McCarthy’s papers.

Henry Glassie (born 1941)

Glassie, who is emeritus College Professor of Folklore at Indiana University, served as the State Folklorist of Pennsylvania from 1967-1969 and was an assistant professor in the American Studies Program at Penn State Harrisburg in 1969.

Sue Samuelson (1956-1991)

Samuelson, who held degrees in folklore from UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania, taught in the American Studies Program at Penn State Harrisburg, as well as at the University of California, Berkeley.