Vance Randolph  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Vance Randolph (February 23, 1892 - November 1, 1980) was a famous folklorist who studied the folklore of the Ozarks in particular. He wrote a number of books on topics including the Ozarks, Little Blue Books, and juvenile fiction.

Randolph was born in Pittsburg, Kansas, the son of a lawyer and a teacher. Despite being born in a privileged home, Randolph dropped out of high school to work on leftist leaning publications. This did not stop him from attending college and he graduated from what is now Pittsburg State University in 1914. He pursued graduate work at Clark University and received a Master of Arts degree in psychology.

He moved to Pineville, McDonald County, Missouri in 1919. He never moved away from the Ozarks and remained in the Ozark Mountains from 1920 until his death. He met his first wife in McDonald County, Marie Wardlaw Wilbur, and made a living by writing for sporting and outdoor publications. While writing, Randolph used pseudonyms, but never for his work on the Ozark culture.

In 1927, Randolph had his first article published in the Journal of American Folklore, based on work on Ozark dialect and folk beliefs. The dialect work led to multiple publications throughout the 1920's and 1930's in American Speech and Dialect Notes. In 1947, Randolph had his first major book release, published through Columbia University, Ozark Superstitions.

Randolph wrote about non-folklore aspects of Ozark society, such as music. His Ozark Mountain Folks describes the creation of a distinctive church choir singing style created by a corps of uncredentialed, itinerant choral instructors.

Pissing in the Snow and Other Ozark Folktales was a national bestseller. He published over a dozen works on Ozark folklore. A longtime member of The Missouri Folklore Society, he was elected a Fellow of the American Folklore Society in 1978. He married Mary Celestia Parler in 1962. He died in 1980 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


  • Ozark Folk Songs (four-volume anthology, 1980) ISBN 0-8262-0298-5
  • Ozark Magic and Folklore ISBN 0-486-21181-9
  • Pissing in the Snow and Other Ozark Folktales (reissued 1997) ISBN 0-252-01364-6
  • Vance Randolph in the Ozarks
  • Stiff As a Poker
  • Down in the Holler by Vance Randolph and George P. Wilson
  • Who Blewed up the Church House?
  • Ozark Folklore: An Annotated Bibliography (Ozark Folklore) by Vance Randolph and Gordon McCann
  • Roll Me in Your Arms: "Unprintable" Ozark Folksongs and Folklore : Volume I Folk Songs and Music (1992) ISBN 1557282315
  • Blow the Candle Out: "Unprintable" Ozark Folksongs and Folklore : Volume II Folk Rhymes and Other Lore (1992) ISBN 1557282374

See also

  • Cochran, Robert. Vance Randolph: An Ozark Life. University of Illinois Press, 1985.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Vance Randolph" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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