“Beginning to Walk in Grace:” Francis Barton Gummere Ballad Teacher

Michael J. Bell (The Registry for College and University Presidents, emeritus)

In 1965, John Ashby Lester, Class of 1896, tape recorded his memories of Francis Barton Gummere’s ballad teaching at Haverford College in the period from 1892 to 1896, the years during which he crafted his communal theory of the ballad and prepared his first major ballad publication, Old English Ballads (1894). This presentation uses Ashby’s recorded memories to describe of the impact of Gummere’s teaching of the ballad on the formation of individual and collective student identity, making it a study both of oral traditional balladry taking root and binding together disparate young men into an intentional folk community and an explication of the work of dedicated teacher/scholar in planting and cultivating those roots.

Part of 02-09 Reevaluating Folklore's Past and Present, Thursday, November 02, 10:30 am–12:30 pm