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Moses Adams papers

Identifier: AC-148

Scope and Contents

The Moses Adams Manuscript is a homespun clothbound, handwritten book of ballads. The original owner was Moses Adams and the book was passed down in the Adams family until 1932. Appalachian State Teachers College professor and folk song collector W. Amos Abrams learned of the book from his student Sadie Johnson. The Moses Adams Manuscript contains some rare variant of American ballads. Abrams purchased the original manuscript in 1932 from Luther Adams, a descendant of Moses Adams. Abrams transcribed the handwritten ballads, leaving blanks, "______," for broken or missing lines. Ballads include "The Cumberland Traveller" or "Cumberlin' Land" and "Sweet Sally". Eric Olson's materials include a brief genealogy of the Adams family, a list of ballads and his notes on the Abrams transcription.


  • circa 1830s


The materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

No Interlibrary loan.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room. An appointment for research is recommended. The Dougherty Reading Room is located on the 4th floor of Belk Library in Special Collections. Please note that the manuscript is extremely fragile.

Biographical note

Moses Adams was born in 1803 in Dehart, North Carolina. The Adams family, which resided in Wilkes County, North Carolina, sang ballads for many generations.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 half-sized manuscript box)


Moses Adams Papers include the Moses Adams Manuscript, its transcription by W. Amos Abrams, and papers generated by Eric Olson related to the manuscript. This manuscript is one of the oldest collections of ballads from northwestern North Carolina. The Adams family, which resided in Wilkes County, North Carolina, sang ballads for many generations.


This collection is arranged into four folders with the original manuscript followed by its transcription, additional notes, and scans of the original document.

Missing Title

  1. Abrams, W. Amos
  2. Adams, Moses
  3. Ballads
  4. Olson, Eric
  5. Wilkes County, North Carolina – Dehart community

Acquisitions Information

W. Amos Abrams donated this collection to the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection in 1972. The arrangement of the collection was originally made by a cataloger in 1994. Photostats of the Moses Adams manuscript were originally from AC.500: Appalachian Cultural Museum Records. This collection was opened to the public on 23 August 2002.

Processing Information

Processed by Deborah Bell, 1994 and Kathryn Staley, 2002; Finding aid encoded by Kathryn Staley, January 2005; Reprocessed and finding aid revised by Cynthia Harbeson, November 2012.
AC.148: Moses Adams Papers, circa 1824
Processed by: Kathryn Staley; machine-readable finding aid created by: Kathryn Staley
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 Appalachian State University Special Collections Repository

218 College Street
Boone U.S.A. - North Carolina 28608-2026 United States
8282624975 (Fax)