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I.G. Greer Folksong Collection


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Isaac Garfield (I. G. or “Ike”) Greer (1881-1967) was born in the Zionville community of Watauga County, North Carolina. He served as a history and government professor at Appalachian State Teacher’s College (the precursor to Appalachian State University) from 1910 to 1932. Dr. Greer was one of the earliest collectors of northwestern North Carolina folk songs, with texts primarily acquired from the counties of Ashe, Wilkes, and his native Watauga. In addition to his avid collecting of regional folk songs, Dr. Greer frequently performed the very ballads he collected (resulting in both a commercial recording on the Paramount label and several recordings for the Archive of American Folk Song by the Library of Congress Division of Music). His vocal renditions were often accompanied by his dulcimer playing first wife, Willie Spainhour Greer. Through these persistent scholarly efforts, Dr. Greer emerged as one of the first nationally recognized authorities on mountain folk music.

The I. G. Greer Folksong Collection, presented here as part of the Documenting Appalachia digital initiative, consists of approximately 1,100 document pages that comprise more than 300 individual song titles, some with as many as ten distinct variants. The documents in this collection include manuscripts (some written as early as the mid-19th century), typescript transcriptions produced by Dr. Greer’s secretarial staff, and handwritten musical notations. Songs represented herein range from traditional Child Ballads to 19th century popular music to musical compositions of local origin.

The "So Mote It Ever Be" project was funded in part by a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.