Skip to main content

James Watt Raine Ballad Collection

 Collection — Container: 1
Identifier: BCA 0007 SAA 006

Scope and Contents

These are texts, tune transcriptions, manuscripts, and related correspondence documenting the ballad collecting and related scholarly interests pursued by Berea College English professor, James Watt Raine.


  • created: 1908-1949


Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

Federal copyright regulations apply. Please cite collection.


0.40 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Raine was born (1869) in Scotland and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 12 years old.  The family lived in West Virginia and, later, in Arkansas. Raine was educated at Oberlin College and Union Seminary in New York.  Ordained to the ministry, he held pastorates in Ohio and New York. Married twice, first to Harriett May (who died one year after their marriage) and to Clara Martz.  Raine had six children. In 1906, Raine became an English instructor at Berea College.  One course he taught was on English and Scottish ballads. He eventually submitted several course proposals—all apparently denied—that would have allowed him to grant credit upon a student’s successful collection of a certain number of ballads from the student's home territory. Although the course was not accepted for credit, Raine persisted in his ballad collecting activities. Raine's interest in documenting regional culture extended beyond music.  His influential book, The Land of the Saddle-Bags (1924) included eyewitness accounts of mountain speech, education, religion, community politics, and farming. In this book, Raine strives to dispel the negative stereotype of the drunken, slothful, gun-toting hillbilly prone to violence. Raine—an actor, playwright, and author—directed Berea's speech and drama activities and was much in demand as a lecturer for cultural entertainment programs. He died on February 12, 1949, in Berea, Kentucky.

Arrangement Note

Arrangement of the collection is in series:

Series 1: Ballads and Songs, Loose Leaves- Ballads, songs arranged alphabetically by title.  This series includes hand written and typed ballads and songs. Titles are arranged alphabetically with other titles by which the test is known shown in brackets.

Series 2: Ballad Books - Published and unpublished ballads, and musical notations.  This series also contains three copies of Raine's Mountain Ballads, and a selection of typed, hand-bound ballads. The contents are listed alphabetically.

Series 3: Short Stories, Plays, and Book Manuscript -  Several manuscripts of original plays, short stories, and one projected book.  This series consists of a variety of writings by Raine and a typescript of a projected book, Ways of Life of the Appalachian Mountain People.

Series 4: A College Course in Ballads (Proposed) - Notes pertaining to a proposed ballad course at Berea College which would grant college credit for collecting ballads.

Series 5: Lecture Notes on Ballads - Lecture notes related to a ballad course taught by Raine at Berea College—an English course combined with Scottish ballads.  Includes typed lecture and related words and music to selected ballads.

Series 6: Correspondence -  The correspondence ranges in time from 1902 to 1936.  The major portion of the correspondence in this series is between Raine and Berea College president, William G. Frost, whom Raine addressed as “Willyum Gee.”

Series 7: Biography - This series consists of a short Raine biography contained in an unpublished manuscript, Berea’s Ballad Collectors: James Watt Raine, John F. Smith, Katherine Jackson French, and Gladys V. Jameson, by Sidney Saylor Farr, dated 1980. A bibliographical listing of articles and books by or about Raine and is also included.

Note: See Appendix containing the names of known contributors to the ballad collection (attached in PDF format under On-line Images/Records)

Other Descriptive Information

BCA 0007 SAA 006

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Joyce M. Hannan and was opened to researchers in 1980.  The finding aid was updated in February 2015.

Archon Finding Aid Title
Description rules
Other Unmapped
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