A Guide to the Elmer Lewis Smith Collection, undated (twentieth century).
Collection Number 4038.
Processed by Chris Bolgiano, March, 2003
Preferred Citation: Smith, Elmer Lewis. Collection. SC# 4038, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.
Physical Characteristics: This collection consists of six folders.
Abstract: Contains handwritten and typed notes on various aspects of Shenandoah Valley folklore.
Scope and Content: The notes in these folders record folk stories and folk knowledge about healing, conjuring, ghosts and superstitions in the Shenandoah Valley that Smith compiled over many years of research and interviews. Although Smith published many articles and books, these materials were said by his former partner and donor John G. Stewart never to have been published.
Biographical/Historical: Elmer L. Smith was born in 1920 in Newark, NJ. After earning a B.S. at Florida Southern College, an M.A. at Western Reserve University, and a Ph.D. at Syracuse University, he taught government, economics, and sociology in several PA colleges and universities. In 1958 he came to James Madison University (then Madison College) as Director of the Social Sciences Division. Until his death in 1981, he conducted research and interviews to document the folk culture of the Shenandoah Valley, and published a wide variety of books and papers. Most of his papers and publications are available at the Blue Ridge Institute of Ferrum College in Ferrum, VA.
Bibliography: Blue Ridge Institute Newsletter, vol. 4, no.3, December 1981.
Folder 1. Superstitions in the Shenandoah Valley.
Folder 2. Ghosts and Graveyards.
Folder 3. Conjuring.
Folder 4. Powwowing.
Folder 5. Occult Folk Healing.
Folder 6. Special Days and Holidays.
Acquisition Information: Donated by John G. Stewart, former colleague of Elmer L. Smith, in Oct., 2001.