Ferris, William R.

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William R. Ferris (1942- ), born and raised in Vicksburg, Miss., is an author, folklorist, filmmaker, professor, photographer, administrator, and scholar chiefly working in the areas of African American and southern culture. Among his many published works is the "Encyclopedia of Southern Culture," which he co-edited with Charles Reagan Wilson.

From the description of William R. Ferris collection, 1919s-2003 (Subjects A-K). (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 56931433

From the description of William R. Ferris collection, 1919s-2003 (Subjects M-Y). (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 56931436

From the description of William R. Ferris collection, 1919s-2003 (names A-G). (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 56931438

From the description of William R. Ferris collection, 1919s-2003 (names H-W). (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 56931440

From the description of William R. Ferris collection, 1919s-2003. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 56931437

William R. Ferris was born 5 February 1942 in Vicksburg, Miss. He attended public school in Vicksburg until high school, when he was accepted to Brooks School in North Andover, Mass. Ferris got his B.A. in English Literature at Davidson College in 1964, and an M.A. in English Literature from Northwestern University in 1965. He attended Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, for one year from 1965 to 1966, and returned to the U.S. to continue his graduate studies. In 1967, he received a Master's and, in 1969, a Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania.

Ferris's scholarship has focused on southern African American folklore and culture, through a variety of media: print, sound, film, and photography. From 1970 to 1972, he was an assistant professor in the Department of English at Jackson State University in Mississippi. From 1972 to 1979, he was an associate professor in the American and Afro-American Studies Programs at Yale University. During his tenure at Yale, Ferris co-founded the Center for Southern Folklore in Mississippi, and was its director from 1972 to 1984. Ferris returned to the South, and, from 1979 to 1997, he was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and a professor of anthropology at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. While there, he established several annual conferences, including the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference.

In 1997, Ferris was appointed chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities by President Clinton, a post he held through 2001. In 2002, he was a Visiting Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the Senior Associate Director of the Center for the Study of the American South, professor of history, and adjunct professor in the Curriculum in Folklore.

Ferris is the author of ten books, including You Live and Learn. Then You Die and Forget It All: Ray Lum's Tales of Horses, Mules and Men, and co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture . He has written fiction, poetry, and numerous articles on folklore and literature, as well as book, record, and film reviews. Ferris has recorded blues albums, produced 15 documentary films on southern folklore, and, for ten years, hosted the weekly Mississippi Public Radio blues show, Highway 61. Ferris's photography, documenting aspects of African American southern folklore, has been featured nationally, including in an exhibit by the Smithsonian Museum and an article by the New York Times .

Ferris has traveled and lectured extensively throughout Europe and the U.S. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities, bestowed by President Clinton, and France's Chevalier and Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters, and has been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Ferris has four siblings. His brother, Grey, was a senator in the Mississippi State Legislature from 1992 to 2001. Ferris is married to Marcie Cohen Ferris and has a daughter named Virginia.

From the guide to the William R. Ferris Collection, 1910s-2011, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Ferris, William R. William R. Ferris collection, 1919s-2003 (names A-G). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Ferris family. Craig, Ferris, and Flowers family papers, 1841-2007. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Wang, Daren. Porches: The South and her writers interviews, 1996-1998. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
creatorOf Ferris, William R. William R. Ferris collection, 1919s-2003 (names H-W). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn William R. Ferris Collection, 1910s-2011 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
creatorOf William R. Ferris Collection, 1910s-2011 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
referencedIn Stanford Channel (Television station : Stanford, Calif.). Life of the mind : videorecordings, 1996-1998. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn William R. Ferris Collection, 1910s-2011 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
creatorOf Ferris, William R. William R. Ferris collection, 1919s-2003 (Subjects M-Y). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Hillbilly music sources and symbols. Hillbilly music sources and symbols collection, 1965, 2003. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Dorson mss., 1925-1981 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly
creatorOf Ferris, William R. William R. Ferris collection, 1919s-2003. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Ferris, William R. You live and learn, then you die and forget it all : Ray Lum's tales of horses, mules, and men / by William Ferris. Texas State University-San Marcos, Albert B. Alkek Library
referencedIn Dorson mss., 1925-1981 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly
creatorOf Ferris, William R. William R. Ferris collection, 1919s-2003 (Subjects A-K). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Folkstreams.net. Folkstreams.net collection, 1963-2010. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn "Life of the Mind" [videorecording], 1996-1998 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Amanda Gordon person
associatedWith Appleton family
associatedWith Baraka, Amiri, 1934- person
associatedWith Baron's Restaurant corporateBody
associatedWith Barron's Restaurant corporateBody
associatedWith B. B. King person
associatedWith Bill Ferris person
associatedWith Billy Mitchell person
associatedWith Blaine Russell person
associatedWith Bobb, Victor. person
associatedWith Brooks, Cleanth, 1906-1994. person
associatedWith Carollyn Yellin person
associatedWith Cecil Crosby person
associatedWith Center for Southern Folklore. corporateBody
associatedWith Chapman family
associatedWith Chapman, Fannie Bell. person
associatedWith Clark, Judith. person
associatedWith Clark, Leon. person
associatedWith Clifton Chenier person
associatedWith Clinton, Bill, 1946- person
associatedWith Clinton, Hillary Rodham. person
associatedWith Dixon, Willie, 1915-1992. person
associatedWith Dollard, John, 1900-1980. person
associatedWith Dorson, Richard Mercer, 1916-1981 person
associatedWith Dotson, Louis. person
associatedWith Edith Clark person
associatedWith Edith Horne person
associatedWith Elizabeth Pagerski person
associatedWith Esco Reynolds person
associatedWith Ethel Mohamed person
associatedWith Eudora Welty person
associatedWith Evans, Walker, 1903-1975. person
associatedWith Farris family. family
associatedWith Faulkner, William, 1897-1962. person
associatedWith Ferris family
associatedWith Ferris, Marcie Cohen. person
associatedWith Ferris, William R. person
associatedWith Folkstreams.net. corporateBody
associatedWith Foote, Shelby. person
associatedWith Frank Fourmy person
associatedWith Fred Mitchell person
associatedWith Gaines, Ernest J., 1933- person
associatedWith George Cowan person
associatedWith George Walker person
associatedWith Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. person
associatedWith Gordon, Amanda. person
associatedWith Hamblett, Theora. person
associatedWith Harry Warren person
associatedWith Hillbilly music sources and symbols. corporateBody
associatedWith Isaiah Price person
associatedWith Jackson State University corporateBody
associatedWith Jade Friedman person
associatedWith James Son Thomas person
associatedWith Jean Depre person
associatedWith Jim Steel person
associatedWith J. L. Garrison person
associatedWith Joe Barron person
associatedWith Joe Cooper person
associatedWith Jones, Bessie, 1902-1984. person
associatedWith Judy Peiser person
associatedWith J. W. Simmons person
associatedWith King, B. B. person
associatedWith Ku Klux Klan (1915- ) corporateBody
associatedWith Lavorn family
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associatedWith Leon Peck Clark person
associatedWith Lomax, Alan, 1915-2002. person
associatedWith Louis Dotson person
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associatedWith Lum Griffen person
associatedWith Lum, Ray, 1891-1976. person
associatedWith Luster Willis person
associatedWith Mary Regan person
associatedWith Mary Regan and her home person
associatedWith Miller, Arthur, 1915-2005. person
associatedWith Mississippi State Penitentiary. corporateBody
associatedWith Mohamed, Ethel Wright. person
associatedWith Mott Willis person
associatedWith Mrs. Louis Dotson person
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associatedWith National Endowment for the Humanities. corporateBody
associatedWith Ola Belle Read person
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associatedWith Parchman Penitentiary corporateBody
associatedWith Paul Mobley person
associatedWith Peck Clark person
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associatedWith Rose Hill Church (Vicksburg, Miss.) corporateBody
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associatedWith Seeger, Charles, 1886-1979. person
associatedWith Seeger, Pete, 1919- person
associatedWith Smith, Harry. person
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associatedWith Stanford Channel (Television station : Stanford, Calif.) corporateBody
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associatedWith The Center for Southern Folklore corporateBody
associatedWith Theora Hamblett person
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associatedWith Turner, Othar. person
associatedWith University of Mississippi corporateBody
associatedWith University of Mississippi. Center for the Study of Southern Culture. corporateBody
associatedWith University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill corporateBody
associatedWith University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Center for the Study of the American South. corporateBody
associatedWith Victor Bobb person
associatedWith Walker, Alice, 1944- person
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associatedWith Warner, Pecolia. person
associatedWith Warren, Robert Penn, 1905-1989. person
associatedWith Welty, Eudora, 1909-2001. person
associatedWith Willis family
associatedWith Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. corporateBody
associatedWith Yale corporateBody
associatedWith Yale University corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Southern States
Mississippi
Mississippi
Southern States
Southern States
Delta (Miss. : Region)
Subject
Fife and drum corps music
Quilting
Textile crafts
African Americans--Music
African American musicians
Handicraft
Families--Social life and customs
African American folk art
Folk art
Chain gangs
Folklore--Study and teaching
Folk songs, English
Documentary films
Photographers
Auctioneers
African Americans--Social life and customs
Documentary films--Production and direction
Prisons
Auctioneers--Biography
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1942-05-02

Americans

English

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