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Isaac Garfield (I.G.) Greer Papers and Recordings,

 Collection — oversize: E1, drawer: 18
Identifier: AC-113

Scope and Contents

This collection contains I.G. Greer's extensive collection of Appalachian and hillbilly folk song / ballad lyrics, along with recordings from the Library of Congress, homemade recordings of ballads and music, research papers, and correspondence and photographs of Greer. Dr. Greer was an avid collector and singer of folk songs and was a nationally recognized authority of mountain folk music during his lifetime. Some documents include the informant's name and others contain the musical arrangement. Also available are over 40 phonograph records, which include professional produced hillbilly music and Greer's singing.


  • 1853-1978, undated


All materials are in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading without restrictions.

Biographical Note

Isaac Garfield Greer (4 December 1881 - 24 November 1967) was an history and government professor for Appalachian State Teacher's College from 1910 to 1932. A native of Watauga County, North Carolina, he was born to Philip and Mary Greer of Zionville and initially worked as a public school teacher and principal until he was hired at Appalachian State Teacher's College. From 1932 to 1948, he worked as superintendent of Mills Baptist Children's Home in Thomasville, North Carolina. From 1948 to 1954, Greer was the Executive Vice-President of the Business Foundation of North Carolina. Greer and his first wife Willie Spainhour had two sons I.G. Greer, Jr. and Joseph P. Greer. Greer's second wife was Hattie O'Briant.

Dr. Greer was an avid collector and singer of folk songs. He was a nationally recognized authority of mountain folk music during his lifetime. A bass player, Greer and his wife, who played the dulcimer, performed at various regional school and civic functions. They were recorded singing several folk songs by Library of Congress from 1941 to 1946. Appalachian State Teacher's College dedicated the I.G. Greer Music Hall in 1966. Greer also had an active civic life. He was the president of the Southern Appalachian Historical Association and also served as a Boone City Alderman and a North Carolina House of Representatives.

Missing Title

  1. Appalachian State Teachers College (N.C.)
  2. Ballads, English -- Appalachian Region -- Sources
  3. Ballads, English -- North Carolina -- Sources
  4. Boone (N.C.) -- Sources
  5. Folk songs, English -- Appalachian Region -- Sources
  6. Folk songs, English -- Sources
  7. Folklore -- Appalachian Region -- Sources
  8. Greer, I. G. (Isaac Garfield)
  9. Mills Baptist Children's Home of Thomasville (N.C.)


5 Linear Feet (5 manuscript boxes, 2 flat reel boxes, 2 CD boxes, 3 oversize folders, 2 album boxes in cold storage anteroom)


Isaac Garfield Greer, known as I.G. or "Ike", a Watauga County native who worked as an history and government professor for Appalachian State Teacher's College from 1910 to 1932, was one of the only early collectors of Watauga County folk songs and ballads. The bulk of this collection consists of Greer's written and recorded ballad collection from Watauga County, North Carolina. View portions of this collection online.


This collection is divided into four series: Folk Song Lyrics; Personal Files; Research Papers, Clippings, Ephemera; and Audiovisual Materials. The lyrics series is filed alphabetically by song title, while other correspondence and research papers are arranged chronologically. The recordings are as close to original order as possible.

Acquisitions Information

In 1971, the family of I.G. Greer deeded the main body of folksong collection and Greer's correspondence to the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, then called the Appalachian Room. This collection was opened to the public in 2001.

Processing Information

Processed by Kathryn Staley, one graduate student, two undergraduate students and the librarian technician, 2001; Encoded by Kathryn Staley, Rachel Critzer, 2005; Minor reprocessing completed in 2014 by Anita Elliott. This collection was reprocessed as part of a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The grant funded extensive processing of the backlog within the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection between 2012 and 2014.

AC.113: Isaac Garfield (I.G.) Greer Papers and Recordings, 1853-1978, undated
Processed by: Kathryn Staley; machine-readable finding aid created by: Kathryn Staley, Rachel Critzer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository