Henrietta Child (1867-1968) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the daughter of Harvard philologist and folklorist Francis James Child. After the death of her mother in 1911, Child moved to Kentucky to practice philanthropic teaching and storytelling. Her first year in the state was spent at Hindman Settlement School; around 1916, she moved permanently to Berea. During the next forty years she made monthly trips to schools within a ten mile radius of Berea where she told stories and riddles, recited poetry, and taught games to school children.
Materials include 44 notebooks, the majority of which are indexed, used by Child to record story lines, notes on characters, riddles and games. The notebooks document Child’s sources of stories—although Child’s handwriting and acid damage to the paper make use of the notebooks somewhat difficult. The collection also includes letters from Child to Berea College President William G. Frost, and personal friends: Mrs. D.C. Churchill, Ruby A. Henry, Marie Noss, and Jessie Weekes.
Also included in this collection are clippings on Child’s life, manuscript biographies, a script and tapes from an American Association of University Women (A.A.U.W.) play written about Child, and papers on her work which were gathered by Berea College staff. Unique items contained in the collection are Child’s animals and toys which she used to illustrate her stories. Other objects include a dress, scarf, carrying bags, and a slate donated by Elizabeth Watts. Many of Child’s papers were donated by Mrs. D.C. Churchill. Several letters and original poems were donated by Marie Noss.