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Joseph R. Murphy audiovisual recordings and papers

Identifier: AC-862

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of multiple unedited U-matic tapes, as well as other audiovisual formats, filmed by Appalachian State University Education professor Joseph R. Murphy. Footage includes Watauga County, North Carolina individuals and events. The bulk of the collection consists of materials relating to the 1986 documentary project "Doc and Merle," including raw footage, dub logs, announcements of the documentary's release, Murphy's notes from the project, and contracts. Other assorted recordings include footage from the 1992 Campaign for Appalachian and of the Mount Paran Baptist Church in Deep Gap, North Carolina.


  • 1967-1992



All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials from Appalachian State University Libraries' Special Collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The nature of these collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. As a result, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Conditions Governing Use

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Appalachian State University assumes no responsibility.

Historical Note

Joseph R. Murphy was a professor of education at Appalachian State University, where he taught video and film production and media literacy. Between 1980-1985, Murphy directed a documentary film project with Kevin Balling titled "Doc and Merle" about Arthel "Doc" Watson and his son, Merle Watson, musicians from Deep Gap, North Carolina. The documentary is a mixture of music, informal interviews, old photographs, and rare film footage. Musicians Jack Williams, Clint Howard, and Fred Price also perform. The film was dedicated to the memory of Merle Watson who died in a tractor accident on October 23, 1985 while the documentary was being filmed.


28 Linear Feet (18 records boxes, 1 small flat box, 14 CD boxes, 2 manuscript boxes)


The Joseph R. Murphy Audiovisual Recordings and Papers primarily consist of the recordings and project files for the 1986 "Doc and Merle" documentary film project on Doc Watson and his son, Merle Watson. Recordings on other subjects, such as the Mount Paran Baptist Church in Deep Gap, North Carolina and the 1992 Campaign for Appalachian, are also included. User copies for the majority of the recordings are available.


The collection is arranged in four series. Series I: Assorted Recordings includes all recordings not associated with the "Doc and Merle" project. Other series include: Series II: "Doc and Merle" Documentary Film Project Records; Series III: "Doc and Merle" Documentary Film Project Dub Logs; and Series IV: "Doc and Merle" Documentary Film Project Tapes.

Acquisitions Information

This collection was donated in two parts by Professor Joseph R. Murphy in 2007 and 2014. Accessions include AC.2007.014 and AC.2014.034.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Anita Elliott and Virginia Johnson, May-June 2014. This collection was processed 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.

Joseph R. Murphy audiovisual recordings and papers
Anita Elliott & Virginia Johnson
November 2014
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository