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A Guide to the

Elmer L. Smith Collection, undated (twentieth century)

SC# 4038

Compiled by: Chris Bolgiano, March 2003 
Revised by: Tara Mastrangelo, September 2010

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Elmer Lewis Smith Collection, undated (twentieth century)

Collection No.: SC# 4038

Creator: Elmer L. Smith

Extent: 6 folders; 0.16 linear feet

Language: English


The Elmer Lewis Collection, undated (twentieth century), consists of six folders of notes and drafts, compiled and written by Elmer Smith, on folk superstitions, ghosts, conjuring, powwowing, folk healing, and holiday superstitions in the Shenandoah Valley.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions:


Use Restrictions:


Preferred Citation: 

The Elmer L. Smith Collection, undated (twentieth century), SC# 4038, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information:

Donated by John G. Stewart, former colleague of Elmer L. Smith, in October of 2001.

Biographical Note

Elmer L. Smith was born in 1920 in Newark, New Jersey. He earned a B.S. from Florida Southern College in 1946, an M.A. from Western Reserve University in 1948, and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University in 1956. From 1948-1958 he served as chairman of the Department of Sociology at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania and in 1958, he became James Madison University's Director of the Social Sciences Division. Smith was one of the founders of the Shenandoah Valley Folklore Society. He conducted research and interviews to document the folk culture of the Shenandoah Valley until his death in 1981. Smith also published a wide variety of books and papers, many of which are available at the Blue Ridge Institute in Ferrum, Virginia.

Scope and Content

The Elmer L. Smith Collection, undated (twentieth century), consists of six folders of notes and drafts, written and compiled by Elmer Smith, on folk superstitions, ghosts, conjuring, powwowing, folk healing, and holiday superstitions in the Shenandoah Valley.

Some of these subjects include proposed tables of contents and book or article layouts and drawings. The notes appear to be from a variety of secondary sources and interviews. Many of the notes and drafts have been edited by hand. According to John G. Stewart, Smith's former partner and the donor of this collection, these materials were never published.


The collection is arranged topically in six folders.



Blue Ridge Institute Newsletter, vol. 4, no. 3, December 1981.

Related Material/Collections

See also the John G. Stewart Collection, SC# 4016.



Occult Folk Healing
Special Days/Holidays



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