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Jim Smoak Banjo Music Collection

 Collection — Container: 1
Identifier: BCA 0163 SAA 165

Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of recorded interviews, transcripts, performance recordings, and additional materials documenting the music and experiences of banjo players Jim Smoak. 

Listen To Recordings and / Or Read Interview Transcripts

The collection results from the research and work of Joseph O’Connell and the support of a 2013 Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship from the Berea College Special Collections and Archives.  From July through August 2013, O’Connell worked with Smoak to document his work for the Appalachian Sound Archives at Berea College.


  • created: 1963-2012


Conditions Governing Access

Records can be accessed through the Reading Room, Berea College Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on use of this material other than federal copyright regulations.


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Language of Materials



Growing up in low country South Carolina in the 1930s and 1940s, Jim Smoak immersed himself in the music of his family and of the live radio broadcasts to which they listened.  Smoak especially admired the innovative banjo playing of Snuffy Jenkins, whom he heard daily on Columbia’s WIS Station.  Jenkins would become a family friend and mentor, inspiring Smoak to pursue work as a banjo player.  Smoak would become one of the first generation of banjo players to bring three-finger style to national audiences.  Although a “hidden figure” of American roots music, Smoak has quietly contributed to many of the key contexts of country, folk, and bluegrass music.

Other Descriptive Information

The collection was opened for research in September 2015.

BCA 0163 SAA 165

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Harry Rice, Sound Archivist.  The finding aid was created by Harry Rice and Lori Myers-Steele, Collections Archivist.

The finding aid was created, and the collection was opened for research, in September 2015.

Archon Finding Aid Title
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Berea College Special Collections and Archives Repository

Hutchins Library
100 Campus Drive
Berea Kentucky 40404 US