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Blanche Coldiron Collection



Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Reference materials regarding recordings

Reference/listening copies of recordings

Contact us about this collection

Blanche Coldiron Collection, 1996-2007 | Berea College Special Collections and Archives Catalog

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Collection Overview

Title: Blanche Coldiron Collection, 1996-2007Add to your cart.

Extent: 2.0 MS boxes


The collection is arranged as follows:

1. Reference materials regarding recordings

2. Reference/listening copies of recordings in CD, DVD, and VHS format

Subjects: Banjo music -- Kentucky., Coldiron, Blanche -- 1922-, Folk music -- Kentucky., Old-time music -- Kentucky.

Languages: English


Born in Wolfe County, KY, in 1922, Blanche (Hurt) Coldiron moved with her family to Powell County when she was 6 years old.   At nine years old, after listening to Uncle Dave Macon play banjo on the Grand Old Opry radio show, Blanche taught herself to play the banjo. She played the banjo using five different picking styles including, her customary style, the “claw hammer.”  In addition to the banjo, Coldiron played the bass, guitar, fiddle, and mandolin.  Beginning her music career during the Great Depression, Coldiron came to be known as "Blanche the Mountain Girl" as she played with the Kentucky Hillbillies, an Appalachian traditional music group that traveled to remote schoolhouses throughout Jackson and Clay counties in Eastern Kentucky.

In 1937, Coldiron joined her older brother, Oasa Hurt, to play for Asa Martin's Kentucky Hillbillies for two years. At age 21, she married Earl Coldiron and began to raise a family. She continued her music career by performing locally at dances, fairs, and family gatherings. However, Coldiron put her career on hold to attend to family responsibilities. In the mid-1990s, she returned from that hiatus and made a "comeback" after 50 years. Upon being rediscovered by traditional Appalachian music expert John Harrod, Coldiron’s banjo performances were recorded as part of a collection released in 1999 by Rounder Records, titled "Kentucky Old-Time Banjo." In June 2005, Coldiron was honored with Morehead State University's Appalachian Treasure Award for her lifelong contribution to the cultural heritage of Appalachia.  Coldiron passed away in 2005.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of recordings documenting the performance style and banjo tunes of banjo player Blanche Coldiron, prominently known as "Blanche the Mountain Girl.”  Most of the recordings in the collection are dated from the mid to late 1990s and include practice tapes, home recordings, radio recordings, and recordings of Blanche Coldiron and the Real World String Band.

Subject/Index Terms

Banjo music -- Kentucky.
Coldiron, Blanche -- 1922-
Folk music -- Kentucky.
Old-time music -- Kentucky.

Administrative Information

Repository: Berea College Special Collections and Archives Catalog

Access Restrictions: Records can be accessed through the Reading Room, Berea College Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College.  Some recordings are available online.

Use Restrictions: There are no restrictions on use of this material other than federal copyright regulations.

Preferred Citation: [Object identification], Blanche Coldiron Collection, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, KY.

Processing Information: The collection was arranged by Harry Rice, Sound Archivist.  The finding aid was created in July 2015 by Harry Rice and Lori Myers-Steele, Collections Archivist.  The finding aid was updated in February 2016.

Other Note: BCA 0133 SAA 133

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1: Reference materials regarding recordings],
[Box 2: Reference/listening copies of recordings],

Box 1: Reference materials regarding recordingsAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Reference materials regarding recordings. Copies of newspaper articles and clippings. Copies of web articles.Add to your cart.

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