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John C. Campbell Folk School Records,1923-1985

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Processed by: Staff; machine-readable finding aid created by:Joseph Knipp


John C. Campbell Folk School Records




Berea College Special CollectionsBerea, Kentucky 40404

Conditions Governing Access note

Copyright has not been assigned to Berea College.

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item], John C. Campbell Folk School Records, KYSX334-A, 1923-1985Special Collections, Berea College, Berea, Ky.


7 microfilm reels 1,913 items


The School was founded in 1925 by Olive Dame Campbell and Marguerite Butler and named in honor of John C. Campbell, Mrs. Campbell's deceased husband, a minister and teacher in Appalachia. After John C. Campbell's, death in 1919, Olive Dame Campbell completed his sociological study of Appalachia, THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDER AND HIS HOMELAND, and, accompanied by Marguerite Butler, went to Denmark to study that country's adult education, folk schools, and cooperatives. After returning from Denmark, Campbell and Butler searched for a location for a school to be modeled on those they had seen in Denmark. They finally settled on Brasstown, North Carolina on thirty acres donated by the Scroggs family, where the six hundred residents of Brasstown helped build the school and donated other services.

The School offered intensive two-week courses in weaving, woodcarving, blacksmithing, pottery, and other crafts, with the School achieving special recognition for the local woodcarvers that received training at the school. Annual events such as Folk-Dance Week and the Fall Festival of Arts, Crafts, and Music were instituted. In the 1950s and 1960s, numerous new projects, such as a literacy program and experimental agriculture, were undertaken. Scholarships and student internships were also offered. Community cooperatives, such as Brasstown Savings and Loan Association and the Mountain Valley Creamery, were sponsored by the School.

Scope and Content

These document the School, which was located at Brasstown in Clay County, North Carolina.


  • Community cooperatives -- Brasstown Savings and Loan Association
  • Community cooperatives -- Mountain Valley Creamery
  • Curriculum -- John C. Campbell Folk School
  • Women -- Settlement workers
  • Brasstown, North Carolina -- Brasstown Savings and Loan Association
  • Southern Highlander and his Homeland, by John Charles and Olive Dame Campbell (book)
  • Denmark -- Education, adult
  • Schools, folk -- John C. Campbell Folk School
  • Clay County, North Carolina -- Schools, folk
  • Brasstown, North Carolina -- John C. Campbell Folk School
  • Appalachia -- Schools, folk
  • Arts and crafts -- Training
  • Clay County, North Carolina -- Community cooperatives
  • Clay County, North Carolina -- Arts and crafts

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