Collection Number: 20056

Collection Title: Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This collection has use restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.


Archival processing of the Patricia Sawin Collection was made possible through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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Size 62 items
Abstract The Patricia Sawin Collection consists of audio recordings, 1979-1989, and a video documentary, 1996, created by folklorist, Patricia Sawin. The materials relate to Sawin's longstanding exploration of the life, songs, and stories of Bessie Eldreth, a folk singer from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina who died in 2016 at the age of 103. Born in 1913 on an Ashe County farm, Eldreth accompanied her everyday life with old ballads, gospel songs and hymns, parlor songs, and original songs. It was not until the 1970s that Eldreth began to sing publicly with her granddaughter, Jean Reid. The Sawin Collection contains audio from this period, including field recordings of live concerts, special events, church services, as well as interviews and story telling with Eldreth and Reid. The collection also contains video copies of Sawin's 1996 documentary film on Eldreth titled, Bessie Eldreth: Stories and Songs of a Blue Ridge Life.
Creator Sawin, Patricia.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
For library reading room use only.
Use of audio or visual materials may require production of listening or viewing copies.
Restrictions to Use
Patron requests for personal copies or for publication require the permission of the donor.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Patricia Sawin Collection #20056, Southern Folklife Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Patricia Sawin in 1993 (Acc. 102592) and November 2012 (Acc. 101688).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Patricia Sawin is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has a BA in English from Yale, received her Masters in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, and received her Ph.D. in folklore from Indiana University. Sawin's scholarship primarily focuses on the constitution of identity and culture through storytelling, festive enactments, and other forms of communicative interaction. Much of what she has written about narrative and performance comes from her longstanding exploration of the life, songs, and stories of Bessie Eldreth, a folk singer from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Sawin has also written about rural Mardi Gras celebrations in Louisiana; the portrayal of women in the Kalevala, Finland's national epic; and most recently about contemporary responses to fairy tales and about international adoption.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The Patricia Sawin Collection consists of 60 audio recordings, 1979-1989, and 2 video copies of a documentary, 1996, created by folklorist, Patricia Sawin. The materials relate to Sawin's longstanding exploration of the life, songs, and stories of Bessie Eldreth, a folk singer from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina who died in 2016 at the age of 103. Born in 1913 on an Ashe County farm, Eldreth accompanied her everyday life with old ballads, gospel songs and hymns, parlor songs, and original songs. It was not until the 1970s that Eldreth began to sing publicly with her granddaughter, Jean Reid. The Sawin Collection contains audio from this period, including field recordings of live concerts, special events, church services, as well as interviews and story telling with Eldreth and Reid. The collection also contains 2 video copies of Sawin's 1996 documentary film on Eldreth titled, Bessie Eldreth: Stories and Songs of a Blue Ridge Life.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996.

62 items.

Arrangement: Chronological.

Titles compiled from SFC database and accession inventory.

A guide to the collection, including a song appendix and select transcriptions, resides in Folder 81 within the Southern Folklife Collection Field Notes Collection (#30025).

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/719

Bessie Eldreth, Cratis Williams, Jean Woodring, ASU Program for International Folklorists, 19 October 1979 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/719

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/720

Bessie Eldreth ghost stories, introduction with Katie Spitzer and Judy Cornett, April 1981 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/720

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/721

Bessie Eldreth, 1987 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/721

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/722

Bessie Eldreth, Elsie Trivette, 1987 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/722

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/723

Bessie Eldreth self-recording, November 1987 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/723

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/724

Revival at Tabernacle Baptist Church with Ray Green preaching, Boone, N.C., November 14 1987 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/724

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/725

Bessie Eldreth interview, Boone, N.C., November 14 1987: tape 1 of 2 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/725

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/726

Bessie Eldreth interview, Boone, N.C., November 14 1987: tape 2 of 2 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/726

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/727

Bessie Eldreth, March 18 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/727

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/728

Bessie Eldreth concert at Camp Broadstone, May 24 1988: tape 1 of 2 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/728

Audiocassette

Includes Elderhostel Program with presenter Mary Grenne

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/729

Bessie Eldreth concert at Camp Broadstone, May 24 1988: tape 2 of 2 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/729

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/730

Bessie Eldreth soldier songs, June 10 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/730

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/731

Bessie Eldreth, June 13 1988: tape 1 of 2 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/731

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/732

Bessie Eldreth, June 13 1988: tape 2 of 2 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/732

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/733

Meatcamp Baptist Church revival and Burkett estate auction, June 17 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/733

Audiocassette

Includes choir from Tabernacle Baptist Church (included Eldreth) singing for a revival at the neighboring Meatcamp Baptist Church as well as recordings from an estate auction of Carrie Burkett, "Eldreth's favorite aunt."

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/734

Burkett estate auction, June 17 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/734

Audiocassette

Continued from FS-20056/733

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/735

Silver Burdett ASU Workshop with Bessie Eldreth, Jean Reid, and Hayes, June 20 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/735

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/736

Bessie Eldreth interview, June 24 1988: tape 1 of 2 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/736

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/737

Bessie Eldreth interview, June 24 1988: tape 2 of 2 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/737

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/738

Bessie Eldreth trip to Durham, N.C., 2 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/738

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/739

Bessie Eldreth interview with Cece Conway, Dottie Holland, and Patricia Sawin, Chapel Hill, N.C., 3 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/739

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/740

Bessie Eldreth interview with Cece Conway, Dottie Holland, and Patricia Sawin, Chapel Hill, N.C., 3 July 1988; Bessie Eldreth at Eno Festival ambient, Durham, N.C., 3 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/740

Audiocassette

Side one includes interview continued from FS-20056/739

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/741

Bessie Eldreth at Eno Festival soundboard, Durham, N.C., 3 July 1988; Bessie Eldreth trip to Damascus, Va., 9 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/741

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/742

Tabernacle Baptist Church choir rehearsal, Boone, N.C., 10 July 1988; Bessie Eldreth mad dog stories, 10 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/742

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/743

Bessie Eldreth mad dog stories, 10 July 1988; Jean Reid interview, 11 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/743

Audiocassette

Jean Reid is Eldreth's granddaughter who learned songs from Eldreth and performed with her; Eldreth's mad dog stories are continued from FS-20056/742

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/744

Jean Reid interview, 11 July 1988; Bessie Eldreth at her home for supper after cabbage day, 11 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/744

Audiocassette

On the original accession inventory, Patricia Sawin defines "cabbage day" as "a day when I helped some neighbors plant cabbage seedlings."

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/745

Bessie Eldreth interview, 12 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/745

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/746

Tabernacle Baptist Church Sunday service, Boone, N.C., 17 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/746

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/747

Bessie Eldreth ride to Denver and Kathy Eldreth's, 19 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/747

Audiocassette

A note from Patricia Sawin on the original accession inventory reads "Son and daugher-in-laws."

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/748

Bessie Eldreth kitchen singing, porch songs, and stories, 20 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/748

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/749

Bessie Eldreth drive from Boone to Lenoir, N.C. visiting the sick, 21 July 1988; Pine Hill Camp meeting with singers from Sand Mountain and Hayes family, near Lenoir, N.C., 21 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/749

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/750

Pine Hill Camp meeting with preacher Maze Johnson of Atlanta, Ga., 21 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/750

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/751

Bessie Eldreth interview, 22 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/751

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/752

Tabernacle Baptist Church Sunday morning service, Boone, N.C., 24 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/752

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/753

Bessie Eldreth at Hattie Presnell's, Beech Mountain, N.C., 26 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/753

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/754

Pine Mountain revival, 30 July 1988: tape 1 of 2 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/754

Audiocassette

Includes preaching by Jerry Hunnicutt of Roan Mountain, Tenn. And gospel signing by Loreena (Mrs. Eldreth's eldest daughter), Buster Green (husband), and Michael Wheatley (son).

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/755

Pine Mountain revival, 30 July 1988: tape 2 of 2 ; Tabernacle Baptist Church, Susan Moretz teaches Sunday school, Boone, N.C., 31 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/755

Audiocassette

Pine Mountain revival continued from FS-20056/754. Includes Loreena, Michael, Besside Eldreth, and Bessie's ride home from Lenoir, N.C.

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/756

Tabernacle Baptist Church, Susan Moretz teaches Sunday school and evening service, Boone, N.C., 31 July 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/756

Audiocassette

Continued from FS-20056/755. Also includes Spiritual Heirs at the Sand Mountain Baptist Church and church quartet.

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/757

Tabernacle Baptist Church, Boone, N.C., 31 July 1988; Spiritual Heirs, Sand Mountain Baptist Church, 31 July 1988; Bessie Eldreth interview at Liz Steven's house, Boone, N. C., 3 August 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/757

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/758

Bessie Eldreth interview at Liz Steven's house and in car, Boone, N.C., 3 August 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/758

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/759

Tabernacle Baptist Church Sunday morning service, Boone, N.C., 7 August 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/759

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/760

Tabernacle Baptist Church Sunday morning service, Boone, N.C., 7 August 1988; Bessie Eldreth interview at Liz Steven's house, Boone, N.C., 7 August 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/760

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/761

Bessie Eldreth interview at Liz Steven's house, Boone, N.C., 7 August 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/761

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/762

Bessie Eldreth gospel music practice at home of Denver and Kathy Eldreth, Timbered Ridge, Sugar Grove, N.C., 12 August 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/762

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/763

Bessie Eldreth, Ashe County Fiddlers' Convention and Bessie's bedroom, 13 August 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/763

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/764

Bessie Eldreth on midwifery, 13 August 1988; Tabernacle Baptist Church Sunday morning service, Boone, N.C., 14 August 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/764

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/765

Tabernacle Baptist Church music party at Mary Greene's, string band and Bessie Eldreth, Boone, N.C., 14 August 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/765

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/766

Tabernacle Baptist Church revival, Boone, N.C., 5 October 1988 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/766

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/767

Bessie Eldreth self-recording with Mary Greene, Elderhostel at ASU, 4 April 1989 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/767

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/768

Bessie Eldreth humorous stories, 13 February 1989 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/768

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/769

Jean Reid, ASU, 28 April 1989; Music fraternity concert, 28 April 1989 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/769

Audiocassette

Jean Reid is Eldreth's granddaughter.

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/770

Bessie Eldreth discussion after revival, 2 May 1989 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/770

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/771

Bessie Eldreth trip back from Charlotte, 5 May 1989 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/771

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/772

Tabernacle Baptist Church revival, Boone, N.C., 6 May 1989; Arts Festival, Ashe County, N.C., 6 May 1989 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/772

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/773

Bessie Eldreth residual questions, 8 May 1989 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/773

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/774

Bessie Eldreth residual questions, 8 May 1989 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/774

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/775

Bessie Eldreth residual questions, 8 May 1989 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/775

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/776

Bessie Eldreth cooking supper, 9 May 1985; Mary Greene interview, 9 May 1985 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/776

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/777

Tabernacle Baptist Church Mother's Day service, Boone, N.C., 14 May 1989 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/777

Audiocassette

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20056/778

Bessie Eldreth self-recording #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." FS-20056/778

Audiocassette

Videotape VT-20056/1

Bessie Eldreth: Stories and Songs of a Blue Ridge Life, 1996 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." VT-20056/1

Betacam

Copy

28 minutes

Documentary film by Patricia Sawin; Note on original container reads "Copy made from Beta SP Master"

Videotape VT-20056/2

Bessie Eldreth: Stories and Songs of a Blue Ridge Life, 1996 #20056, Series: "Patricia Sawin Collection, 1979-1996." VT-20056/2

Betacam SP

Copy

28 minutes

Documentary film by Patricia Sawin; Note on original container reads "Copy made from Beta SP Master"

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Processing Information

Encoded by: Anne Wells, May 2016

Archival processing of the Patricia Sawin Collection was made possible through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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