Wilgus, D. K.

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D.K. (Donald Knight) Wilgus was born on 1 December 1918, in Mansfield, Ohio. He attended the Ohio State University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1941, a Master of Arts in 1947, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in 1954. Wilgus spent most of his career teaching in the Center for the Study of Comparative Folklore and Mythology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Throughout his career he helped pioneer the chronicling of popular musical forms, including Blues and "Hillbilly" music. In 1986, he married former student and long-time colleague Eleanor R. Long. D.K. Wilgus died on 25 December 1989.

From the description of D.K. Wilgus collection, 1883-1996. WorldCat record id: 27207728

D.K. Wilgus was a native of Columbus, Ohio. His book, Anglo-American folksong scholarship since 1898, has for many years been considered the definitive overview of the history of folksong scholarship in America. He was the first to plead academic respectability for "hillbilly" music. He was a pioneer in the teaching of Anglo-American Folksong as a rigorous academic subject, in identifying the blues ballad as a separate folksong genre, and developing the "narrative theme" approach to ballad classification. Wilgus taught at Western Kentucky University (1950-1963), where he founded and edited the scholarly journal, Kentucky Folklore Record. From 1963-1989 he taught at UCLA, where he established and served as first chairperson of the Department of Folklore and Mythology.

From the description of D.K. Wilgus Folklore Collection 1918-1989. (Berea College). WorldCat record id: 51881645

D.K. (Donald Knight) Wilgus was born on 1 December 1918, in Mansfield, Ohio. He attended the Ohio State University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1941, a Master of Arts in 1947, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in 1954. Wilgus worked briefly at Purdue University from 1941 until he joined the Army in 1942, serving until 1945. After an honorable discharge, Wilgus took a position as an instructor at the Ohio State University until 1950, when he left to become an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky State College (now Western Kentucky State University) until 1961. While at Western Kentucky State College, Wilgus founded the Kentucky Folklore Record in 1955. In 1961, he was promoted to full professor of English and Folklore, but left the position in 1962 to teach at the University of California, Los Angeles. At UCLA, Wilgus was a professor of English and Anglo-American folksong in the Center for the Study of Comparative Folklore and Mythology. He was the founding chair of the Folklore and Mythology program at UCLA in 1965 and served in that position for the next 17 years. In 1986, Wilgus married former student and long-time colleague Eleanor R. Long, with whom he collaborated on several projects. He remained at UCLA until his retirement in 1989. Throughout his career Wilgus helped pioneer the chronicling of popular musical forms, including Blues and Hillbilly music. D.K. Wilgus died on 25 December 1989.

From the guide to the D.K. Wilgus Papers, 1883-1996, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.)

D.K. Wilgus (1918-1989), eminent folklorist and professor of English and Anglo-American Folksong in the Department of Folklore and Mythology at UCLA, who helped pioneer the chronicling of the development of popular musical forms, such as blues and country-western, as an important part of American culture.

From the description of Papers, 1949-1989. WorldCat record id: 30485718

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Hoeptner, Fred. John Edwards memorial collection, 1959-1963. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Green, Archie. Archie Green papers, 1944-2009. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Wilgus, D. K. D.K. Wilgus collection, 1883-1996. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Seeger, Mike, 1933-2009. John Edwards Memorial Collection, 1958-1971. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Cochran, Robert, 1943-. Vance Randolph research material collection, 1865-1980. University of Arkansas - Fayetteville, University Libraries
referencedIn Daniel W. Patterson and Beverly Bush Patterson papers, 1775-2001. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf D.K. Wilgus Papers, 1883-1996 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection Artist Name File, 1940-2005 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
referencedIn Meade, Guthrie T., 1932-1991. Guthrie T. Meade collection, 1817-1991. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn IU Folklore Institute, 1987 Indiana University, Bloomington. Center for the Study of History and Memory
referencedIn Dorson mss., 1925-1981 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
creatorOf Wilgus, D. K.,. D.K. Wilgus Folklore Collection 1918-1989. Berea College, Hutchins Library
referencedIn Kentucky Folklore Society. Kentucky Folklore Society papers, 1925-1963. Murray State University, Waterfield Library
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection discographical files, 1907-2006. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
creatorOf Wilgus, D. K. Papers, 1949-1989. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Blue Grass Roy. person
associatedWith Cleveland, Sara, 1905- person
associatedWith Combs, Josiah Henry, 1886-1960. person
associatedWith Dorson, Richard Mercer, 1916-1981 person
associatedWith Green, Archie. person
associatedWith Halpert, Herbert, 1911-2000. person
associatedWith Hoeptner, Fred. person
associatedWith Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory corporateBody
associatedWith Irish Folklore Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith James, Jesse, 1847-1882. person
associatedWith Kentucky Folklore Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Lewis, Texas Jim. person
associatedWith Long-Wilgus, Eleanor R. person
associatedWith Lulu Belle and Scotty. corporateBody
associatedWith Meade, Guthrie T., 1932-1991. person
associatedWith Montell, William Lynwood, 1931- person
associatedWith Munnelly, Tom. person
associatedWith Ohio Valley Folk Research Project. corporateBody
associatedWith Parrow, E. C. person
associatedWith Roberts, Leonard. person
associatedWith Seeger, Mike, 1933-2009. person
associatedWith Stoneman, Ernest V. person
associatedWith Tarlton, Jimmie. person
associatedWith Thomas, D. L. person
associatedWith Titanic (Steamship) corporateBody
associatedWith Tubb, Ernest, 1914-1984. person
associatedWith UCLA Folk Festival. corporateBody
associatedWith University of California, Los Angeles corporateBody
associatedWith University of California, Los Angeles. Center for the Study of Comparative Folklore and Mythology. corporateBody
associatedWith University of California, Los Angeles. Dept. of Folklore and Mythology. corporateBody
associatedWith Wiseman, Lulu Belle. person
associatedWith Wiseman, Scotty, 1909-1981. person
associatedWith Wise, Naomi, d. 1807. person
associatedWith Young, Faron. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Southern States
Ireland
Great Britain
Kentucky
Appalachian Region, Southern
Subject
Folklorists
Sound recordings--Catalogs
Country musicians--Interviews
Musicians--Photographs
Folk songs--Discography
Popular culture
Folk festivals
Folklore
Folklore--Study and teaching (Higher)
Ballads, English
Sound recording industry
Folklore--Study and teaching
Old-time music
Folk songs, English--History and criticism
Musicians
Ballads, Irish
Music and folklore
Tales
Folk festivals--Photographs
Ballads--Study and teaching
Oral tradition
Folk songs--Study and teaching
Folk music--Study and teaching
Occupation
Collector
Function

Person

Birth 1918

Death 1989

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SNAC ID: 22716173