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Lily May Ledford Collection

Overview

Abstract

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Printed Matter

Original Audio Recordings

Interview Transcripts



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Lily May Ledford Collection, 1936-1985 | Berea College Special Collections and Archives Catalog

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Collection Overview

Title: Lily May Ledford Collection, 1936-1985Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Ledford, Lily May -- 1917-1985

Extent: 1.0 MS boxes

Arrangement:

The collection is arranged in series as follows:

Series 1: Printed Matter

Series 2: Original Audio Recordings

Series 3: Interview Transcripts

This is a reference collection comprised of material from Berea College's Appalachian Center, Hutchins Library, interviews recorded by Lisa Yarger and others, and manuscript and photographic items from Ledford's granddaughter, Cari Norris. Follow links in the recordings box list to hear recordings and read interview transcripts.

Abstract

Lily May Ledford (1917-1985) grew up in eastern Kentucky's rural Powell County, one of fourteen children.  She learned ballads and hymns from her mother and fiddle tunes and popular songs from her father.  She learned to play the fiddle and banjo quite early and in her teens was performing for community dances and entertaining tourists visiting the scenic Red River Gorge area near her home.

In the late 1930s she came to the attention of Kentucky radio entrepreneur, John Lair, who was working as a producer and MC for country music programs on Chicago radio station WLS.  She was well received by WLS audiences and eventually came to work for Lair when he started his own radio show, the Renfro Valley Barn Dance, in Cincinnati and later at Renfro Valley in Rockcastle County Kentucky.

Lily May and sisters Rosie and Minnie were the key members of the Coon Creek Girls, probably the first all-female string band. They were among the most popular performers on John Lair's radio programs on Cincinnati's WLW and Louisville's WHAS beginning in 1937 and extending into the early 1950s.

After several years of relative retirement Lily May resumed performing in the 1960s playing at various folk festivals including those in Newport, RI, Washington, DC, and Montreal, Canada.

She was Berea College's Artist-in-Residence 1979-1980.  In 1985 she was named a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship Award in recognition of her legacy of traditional tunes and banjo picking techniques.  Traditional songs identified particularly with her include Banjo Pickin' Girl, How Many Biscuits Can You Eat? and John Henry.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection consists of autobiographical writing, press clippings, articles, and photographs documenting the career of early country music performer, Lily May Ledford. Included in the collection are records documenting her time as a member of the Coon Creek Girls, recordings of her performing at Berea College and other venues, and a series of recorded interviews with associates and family members.

Biographical Note

Lily May Ledford; b. Mar. 17, 1917, Powell County, Ky., d. July 14, 1985; American clawhammer banjo and fiddle player.

Administrative Information

Repository: Berea College Special Collections and Archives Catalog

Access Restrictions:

Follow links in the box list to listen to recordings and read interview transcripts. Information regarding interviews is found with interview transcripts.

The collection can be accessed directly through the Reading Room, Berea College Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College.

Use Restrictions: Federal copyright regulations apply to all other materials. Cite all information.

Acquisition Source: Cari Norris, Lily May Ledford's granddaughter

Related Materials:

Related Materials Available at Hutchins Library

Discography

Coon Creek Girls: Lily May, Rosie, & Susie [1967-68 recordings] (County 712)

Banjo Pickin' Girl (Rounder 1029)

The Coon Creek Girls-Early Radio Favorites (1930s) (Old Homestead OHCS 142)

Lily May Ledford: Banjo Pickin' Girl (Greenhays GR 712)

Video

Headwaters: Lily May Ledford.

Bibliography

High, Ellesa Clay. Past Titan Rock: Journeys Into An Appalachian Valley.

Yarger, Lisa J. Representing Lily May Ledford. M.A. Thesis, UNC Chapel Hill, 1997.

Wolfe, Charles. Kentucky Country: Folk and Country Music of Kentucky. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky (1982).

Preferred Citation: [Object identification], Lily May Ledford Collection, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, KY.

Processing Information:

This collection is comprised of material formerly found in Berea College's Appalachian Center, Hutchins Library's Appalachian Vertical Files, manuscript and photographic items from Ledford's granddaughter, Cari Norris, and Masters thesis research material from Lisa Yarger.

The collection was processed by Harry Rice, Sound Archivist.

Finding Aid Revision History: The finding aid was updated in January 2016 to reflect the addition of Series II and III to the collection.

Other Note: BCA 0079 SAA 079


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Printed Matter],
[Series 2: Original Audio Recordings],
[Series 3: Interview Transcripts],
[All]

Series 1: Printed MatterAdd to your cart.
This series includes newspaper and magazine clippings, photocopied autobiographical writings, copies of books and journals, and photographs relating to the life and work of Lily May Ledford and the Coon Creek Girls.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Lily May Ledford CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: TimelinesAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Autobiographical Writing (Photo copy of the hand written original and typed transcript); multiple copiesAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Ledford, Lily May.  Coon Creek Girl.  Berea College Appalachian Center. (Four Copies), 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 5: High, Ellesa Clay.  "The Coon Creek Girl From Red River Gorge: An Interview with Lily May Pennington.", Spring 1977.Add to your cart.
Adena. Vol. 2 No. 1
Folder 6: Ledford, Lily May. "Autobiography"Add to your cart.
Seattle Folklore Society. Vol. 8 No. 3 March 1977 / Vol. 9 No. 2 December 1977 / Vol. 9 No. 3 March 1978.
Folder 7: Writing: The Coon Creek Girl from Red River, Aug 1981, Dissertation E.C. HighAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Articles and other regarding Everlyn "Daisy" LangeAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Paper: John Lair and the Construction of the Coon Creek Girls, by Lisa J. Yager, 1994Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Documents, WLS Years, 1930sAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Clippings and Articles, 1937-1960sAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Clippings and Articles, 1970sAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Clippings and Articles, 1980s-1990sAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Clippings and Articles, Obituaries, 1985Add to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Coon Creek Girls, Articles and Clippings 1937 - 1939Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Coon Creek Girls/Lily May Ledford RepertoireAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Coon Creek Girls at the White House, 1939, Articles and ClippingsAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Photographic SlidesAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Photographs, originals and copiesAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: List of Photographs Found In the John Lair Personal Papers; List of recorded interviews in the Appalachian Sound Archives.Add to your cart.
Series 2: Original Audio RecordingsAdd to your cart.
This series includes radio programs, recorded interviews conducted by Lisa Yarger for the Southern Oral History Program, Berea class presentations and a concert, concerts in Louisville, Ky, Brandywine Old Time Music Festival, and the Augusta Heritage Center. Also included is a 1966 recorded interview of the Coon Creek Girls recorded by David Freeman and Charles Faurot in Berea, Kentucky.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Item 1: AC-CT-038-003Add to your cart.

"Banjo-Pickin' Girl" - 60 minute radio program produced through Ohio University Telecommunications Center [n.d.].  Narrator: Ellesa Clay High.

Listen Part One    Listen Part Two

Item 2: AC-CT-038-005Add to your cart.

NPR "Horizons" series radio program entitled "The Life and Music of Lily May Ledford," a 30 minute radio program condensed from longer program entitled "Banjo Pickin' Girl" produced through Ohio University Telecommunications Center [n.d.].  Partial duplication of program heard on AC-CT-038-003.

Listen

Item 3: AC-OR-052-001Add to your cart.
Lily May Ledford: Berea College Appalachian Studies Workshop 6-25-75.    (Not Digitized)
Item 4: AC-OR-052-002Add to your cart.

Lily May Ledford: Ballad & Tale Class Berea College 1-4-80. 

Listen Part One      Listen Part Two

Item 5: AC-OR-052-003Add to your cart.

Lily May Ledford: Berea College Convocation 1-24-80.

Listen

Item 6: AC-OR-052-004Add to your cart.

Lily May Ledford: Berea College Convocation 1-24-80.

Listen

Item 7: SC-CT-858-001Add to your cart.

Coon Creek Girls interview recorded by David Freeman & Charles Faurot  Berea, KY 9-66.  Lily May Ledford  b. 1917 / Charlotte "Rosie" Ledford Foley b. 1915 / Minnie "Blackeyed Susie" Ledford Malena b. 1923  1 of 4 (Copy of UNC FT 2828).

Listen Part One    Listen Part Two    Transcript Part One    Transcript Part Two

Item 8: SC-CT-858-002Add to your cart.

Coon Creek Girls interview recorded by David Freeman & Charles Faurot  Berea, KY 9-66.  Lily May Ledford  b. 1917 / Charlotte "Rosie" Ledford Foley b. 1915 / Minnie "Blackeyed Susie" Ledford Malena b. 1923  2 of 4 (Copy of UNC FT 2828).

Listen    Transcript

Item 9: SC-CT-858-003Add to your cart.

Coon Creek Girls interview recorded by David Freeman & Charles Faurot  Berea, KY 9-66.  Lily May Ledford  b. 1917 / Charlotte "Rosie" Ledford Foley b. 1915 / Minnie "Blackeyed Susie" Ledford Malena b. 1923  3 of 4 (Copy of UNC FT 2829).

Listen Part One    Listen Part Two    Transcript Part One    Transcript Part Two

Item 10: SC-CT-858-004Add to your cart.

Coon Creek Girls interview recorded by David Freeman & Charles Faurot  Berea, KY 9-66.  Lily May Ledford  b. 1917 / Charlotte "Rosie" Ledford Foley b. 1915 / Minnie "Blackeyed Susie" Ledford Malena b. 1923  4 of 4 (Copy of UNC FT 2829).

Listen    Transcript

Item 11: SC-CT-858-005Add to your cart.

Evelyn "Daisy" Lang Perry interview recorded by Lisa Yarger 8-13-93. 1 of 2

Listen Part One    Listen Part Two  Transcript

Item 12: SC-CT-858-006Add to your cart.

Evelyn "Daisy" Lang Perry interview recorded by Lisa Yarger 8-13-93. 2 of 2

Listen Part One    Listen Part Two      Transcript Begins Page 14

Item 13: SC-CT-858-007Add to your cart.

Evelyn "Daisy" Lang Perry interview recorded by Lisa Yarger 9-4-94 (Looking through her scrapbook)

Listen Part One    Listen Part Two    Transcript

Item 14: SC-CT-858-008Add to your cart.

Evelyn "Daisy" Lang Perry self recorded, answering Lisa Yarger's written questions 5-30-94.

Listen    Transcript

Item 15: SC-CT-858-009Add to your cart.

Alice Gerrard interview recorded by Lisa Yarger 10-14-96.

Listen Part One    Listen Part Two    Transcript

Item 16: SC-CT-858-010Add to your cart.

Barbara Greenlief (Lily May Ledford's daughter)interview recorded by Lisa Yarger 4-27-96 1 of 2.

Listen Part One    Listen Part Two    Transcript

Item 17: SC-CT-858-011Add to your cart.

Barbara Greenlief (Lily May Ledford's daughter) interview recorded by Lisa Yarger 4-27-96 2 of 2.

Listen      Transcript Begins Page 25

Item 18: SC-CT-858-012Add to your cart.

Sue Massek interview recorded by Lisa Yarger 4-28-96.

Listen    Transcript

Item 19: SC-CT-858-013Add to your cart.

Cari Norris (Lily May Ledford's grandaughter) interview recorded by Lisa Yarger 4-26-96.

Listen Part One    Listen Part Two    Transcript

Item 20: SC-CT-858-014Add to your cart.

Mike Seeger interview recorded via phone by Lisa Yarger 2-8-97.

Listen Part One    Listen Part Two    Transcript

Item 21: SC-CT-858-015Add to your cart.

Lily May Ledford concert performance, Louisville, Kentucky 10-24-82. 1 of 2.  (Donated by Lisa Yarger). 

Listen Part One    Listen part Two

Item 22: SC-CT-858-016Add to your cart.

Lily May Ledford concert performance, Louisville, Kentucky 10-24-82.  2 of 2 / Side A is home recording in Lexington, KY on same date] Other performers include Alice Gerrard , Mike and Barbara Norris. (Donated by Lisa Yarger).

Listen Part One    Listen Part Two

Item 23: SC-CT-858-017Add to your cart.

Lily May Ledford concert performance, Brandwine Old Time Music Festival  7-16-83. [talks about growing up, learning music, Renfro Valley] / NPR documentary "Horizons" on "The Life and Music of Lily May Ledford" [n.d.] written and narrated by Ellesa Clay High. Produced by Ohio University for NPR. AC-CT-038-005 is a better quality recording. (Donated by Lisa Yarger). 

Listen Part One    Listen Part Two

Item 24: SC-CT-858-018Add to your cart.

Lily May Ledford concert performance, Augusta Heritage Festival  7-18-83.  (Donated by Lisa Yarger). 

Listen Part One    Listen Part Two

Item 25: SC-CT-979-009Add to your cart.

C.V. "Cotton" Foley interview recorded by John Rumble, December 5, 1985 for the Kentucky Oral History Commission.

Listen Part One      Listen Part Two    Transcript

Item 26: SC-CT-979-022Add to your cart.

Glenn Pennington interview recorded by John Rumble, December 4, 1985 for the Kentucky Oral History Commission 1 of 2.

  Listen Part One    Listen Part Two    Transcript

Item 27: SC-CT-979-023Add to your cart.

Glenn Pennington interview recorded by John Rumble, December 4, 1985 for the Kentucky Oral History Commission 2 of 2.

Listen Part One      Listen Part Two    Transcript

Series 3: Interview TranscriptsAdd to your cart.
This series is comprised of transcripts of audio recorded interviews conducted by David Freeman & Charles Faurot, Lisa Yarger for the Southern Oral History Program and John Rumble for the Kentucky Oral History Commission. Listen to the rcordings and read the transcripts by following the links for each tape in the Series 2 box list.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Coon Creek GirlsAdd to your cart.
Recorded by David Freeman and Charles Faurot, Berea, KY 9-66.  Lily May Ledford, b. 1917 / Charlotte "Rosie" Ledford Foley b. 1915 / Minnie "Black-eyed Susie" Ledford Malena b. 1923  Transcript by Lisa Yarger, 1996. (See cassette tapes SC-CT-858-001 through 004)
Folder 2: C.V. "Cotton" FoleyAdd to your cart.
Recorded by John Rumble, December 5, 1985 for the Kentucky Oral History Commission. (See cassette tape SC-CT-979-009)
Folder 3: Alice GerrardAdd to your cart.
Recorded by Lisa Yarger 10-14-96 Transcript by Lisa Yarger. (See cassette tape SC-CT-858-009.)
Folder 4: Barbara Greenlief (Lily May Ledford's daughterAdd to your cart.
Recorded by Lisa Yarger 4-27-96. Transcript by Lisa Yarger. (See cassette tapes SC-CT-858-010 and 011.)
Folder 5: Evelyn "Daisy" Lang PerryAdd to your cart.
Recorded by Lisa Yarger 8-13-93.  Also LY's notes on a 9-4-94 interview and EP's self recorded account of 5-30-94.  (See cassette tapes SC-CT-858-005, 006, 007, 008.)
Folder 6: Sue MassekAdd to your cart.
Recorded by Lisa Yarger 4-28-96.
Folder 7: Cari Norris (Lily May Ledford's granddaughter)Add to your cart.
Recorded by Lisa Yarger 4-26-96.  Transcript by Lisa Yarger. (See cassette tape SC-CT-858-013.)
Folder 8: Glenn PenningtonAdd to your cart.
Recorded by John Rumble, December 4, 1985 for the Kentucky Oral History Commission. (See cassette tapes SC-CT-979-022 and SC-CT-979-023)
Folder 9: Mike SeegerAdd to your cart.
Recorded via phone by Lisa Yarger 2-8-97.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Printed Matter],
[Series 2: Original Audio Recordings],
[Series 3: Interview Transcripts],
[All]


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