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Publications of the Texas Folklore Society

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Publications of the Texas Folklore Society

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Both Sides of the Border

A Scattering of Texas Folklore

Edited by Francis Edward Abernethy and Kenneth L. Untiedt

Texas has a large population who has lived on both sides of the border and created a folkloric mix that makes Texas unique. Both Sides of the Border gets its name from its emphasis on recently researched Tex-Mex folklore. But we recognize that Texas has other borders besides the Rio Grande. We use that title with the folklorist’s knowledge that all of this state’s songs, tales, and traditions have lived and prospered on the other sides of Texas borders at one time or another before they crossed the rivers and became “ours.” Chapters are organized thematically, and include favorite storytellers like James Ward Lee, Thad Sitton, and Jerry Lincecum. Lee’s beloved “Hell is for He-Men” appears here, along with Sitton’s informative essay on Texas freedman’s settlements. Both Sides of the Border contains something to delight everyone interested in Texas folklore.

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Celebrating 100 Years of the Texas Folklore Society, 1909-2009

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor

The Texas Folklore Society is one of the oldest and most prestigious organizations in the state. Its secret for longevity lies in those things that make it unique, such as its annual meeting that seems more like a social event or family reunion than a formal academic gathering. This book examines the Society’s members and their substantial contributions to the field of folklore over the last century. Some articles focus on the research that was done in the past, while others offer studies that continue today. For example, L. Patrick Hughes explores historical folk music, while Meredith Abarca focuses on Mexican American folk healers and the potential direction of research on them today. Other articles are more personal reflections about why our members have been drawn to the TFS for fellowship and fun. This book does more than present a history of the Texas Folklore Society: it explains why the TFS has lasted so long, and why it will continue.

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Cowboys, Cops, Killers, and Ghosts

Legends and Lore in Texas

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt

This Publication of the Texas Folklore Society has something for everyone. The first section features a good bit of occupational lore, including articles on cowboys—both legendary ones and the relatively unknown men who worked their trade day by day wherever they could. You’ll also find a unique, personal look at a famous outlaw and learn about a teacher’s passion for encouraging her students to discover their own family culture, as well as unusual weddings, somewhat questionable ways to fish, and one woman’s love affair with a bull. The backbone of the PTFS series has always been miscellanies—diverse examinations of the many types of lore found throughout Texas and the Southwest. These books offer a glimpse of what goes on at our annual meetings, as the best of the papers presented are frequently selected for our publications. Of course, the presentations are only a part of what the Society does at the meetings, but reading these publications offers insight into our members’ interests in everything from bikers and pioneers of Tejana music to serial killers and simple folk from small-town Texas. These works also suggest the importance of the “telling of the tale,” with an emphasis on oral tradition, as well as some of the customs we share. All of these things together— the focus on tradition at our meetings, the fellowship among members, and the diversity of our research—are what sustain the Texas Folklore Society.

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Death Lore

Texas Rituals, Superstitions, and Legends of the Hereafter

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor

Death provides us with some of our very best folklore. Some fear it, some embrace it, and most have pretty firm ideas about what happens when we die. Although some people may not want to talk about dying, it’s the only thing that happens to all of us–and there’s no way to get around it. This Publication of the Texas Folklore Society examines the lore of death and whatever happens afterward. The first chapter examines places where people are buried, either permanently or temporarily. Chapter Two features articles about how people die and the rituals associated with funerals and burials. The third chapter explores some of the stranger stories about what happens after we’re gone, and the last chapter offers some philosophical musings about death in general, as well as our connection to those who have gone before.

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First Timers and Old Timers

The Texas Folklore Society Fire Burns On

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt

The Texas Folklore Society has been alive and kicking for over one hundred years now, and I don’t really think there’s any mystery as to what keeps the organization going strong. The secret to our longevity is simply the constant replenishment of our body of contributors. We are especially fortunate in recent years to have had papers given at our annual meetings by new members—young members, many of whom are college or even high school students. These presentations are oftentimes given during sessions right alongside some of our oldest members. We’ve also had long-time members who’ve been around for years but had never yet given papers; thankfully, they finally took the opportunity to present their research, fulfilling the mission of the TFS: to collect, preserve, and present the lore of Texas and the Southwest. You’ll find in this book some of the best articles from those presentations. The first fruits of our youngest or newest members include Acayla Haile on the folklore of plants. Familiar and well-respected names like J. Rhett Rushing and Kenneth W. Davis discuss folklore about monsters and the classic “widow’s revenge” tale. These works—and the people who produced them—represent the secret behind the history of the Texas Folklore Society, as well as its future.

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Folklore

In All of Us, In All We Do

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt

Folklore is everywhere, whether you are aware of it or not. A culture’s traditional knowledge is used to remember the past and maintain traditions, to communicate with other members within a community, to learn, to celebrate, and to express creativity. It is what helps distinguish one culture from another. Although folklore is so much a part of our daily lives, we often lose sight of just how integral it is to everything we do. If we look for it, we can find folklore in places where we’d never think it existed. Folklore: In All of Us, In All We Do includes articles on a variety of topics. One chapter looks at how folklore and history complement one another; while historical records provide facts about dates, places and names, folklore brings those events and people to life by making them relevant to us. Several articles examine the cultural roles women fill. Other articles feature folklore of particular groups, including oil field workers, mail carriers, doctors, engineers, police officers, horse traders, and politicians. As a follow-up article to Inside the Classroom (and Out), which focused on folklore in education, there is also an article on how teachers can use writing in the classroom as a means of keeping alive the storytelling tradition. The Texas Folklore Society has been collecting and preserving folklore since its first publication in 1912. Since then, it has published or assisted in the publication of nearly one hundred books on Texas folklore.

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Folklore in Motion

Texas Travel Lore

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor

The adventurous spirit of Texans has led to much travel lore, from stories of how ancestors first came to the state to reflections of how technology has affected the customs, language, and stories of life “on the go.” This Publication of the Texas Folklore Society features articles from beloved storytellers like John O. West, Kenneth W. Davis, and F. E. Abernethy as well as new voices like Janet Simonds. Chapters contain traditional “Gone to Texas” accounts and articles about people or methods of travel from days gone by. Others are dedicated to trains and cars and the lore associated with two-wheeled machines, machines that fly, and machines that scream across the land at dangerous speeds. The volume concludes with articles that consider how we fuel our machines and ourselves, and the rituals we engage in when we’re on our way from here to there.

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Hide, Horn, Fish, and Fowl

Texas Hunting and Fishing Lore

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt

What would cause someone to withstand freezing temperatures in a cramped wooden box for hours on end, or stand in waist-high rushing waters, flicking a pole back and forth over and over—in many cases with nothing whatsoever to show for his efforts? Why is it that, into the twenty-first century, with the convenience of practically any type of red meat or fish available at the local supermarket, we continue to hunt game and fish on open waters? The answer is that no matter how sophisticated we think we are, no matter how technologically advanced we become, there is still something deep within us that beckons us to “the hunt.” This desire creates the customs, beliefs, and rituals related to hunting—for deer, hogs, and other four-legged critters, as well as fish and snakes, and other things that perhaps aren’t physically alive, but capture our interest as much as the prey mentioned above. These rituals and customs lead to some of our most treasured stories, legends, and practices. This volume of the Publications of the Texas Folklore Society includes serious, introspective articles on hunting and fishing, as well as humorous tall tales and “windies” about the big ones that got away—all lore that reminds us of that drive that calls us to become predators again.

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Inside the Classroom (And Out)

How We Learn through Folklore

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt

Inside the Classroom (and Out) examines folklore and its many roles in education. Several articles explore teaching in rural school houses in the early twentieth century, while others provide insight into more serious academic scholarship in the field of folklore itself. One chapter looks at the “early years,” including works about day care centers, scout programs, children’s books, and the basic definition of what we mean by "folklore." Another chapter covers high school: cheerleading, football, yearbooks, and beliefs of Hispanic students. There is a chapter dedicated to Paul Patterson and his contribution to teaching; a chapter that covers college experiences, with stories about early Aggies, ghosts on university campuses, and collegiate cowgirls; and a chapter involving scholarly works, such as ways to help improve our memories, a linguistic study of cowboy poetry, and a comprehensive look at folklore studies.

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Legends and Life in Texas

Folklore from the Lone Star State, in Stories and Song

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt

There is sometimes a fine line between history and folklore. This Publication of the Texas Folklore Society features articles that tell stories about real-life characters from the historical past of Texas, as well as offer personal reflections about life from diverse perspectives throughout the last century. These contributors go beyond merely stating facts about dates or locations or names of the events and people that can be found in court documents or genealogical records; several of these authors provide a very intimate connection to the tales they share. These articles are not just about people that we read about as school children, and they do not merely describe how our culture used to be, or how vastly it has changed; rather, they emphasize the ways we keep our culture alive through the retelling of the events and customs and major figures that are important enough to pass on from one generation to the next. The first section covers legendary characters like Davy Crockett, Mody Boatright, Sam Houston, and Cynthia Ann Parker from our state’s past, as well as people who were bigger or bolder than others, yet seem to have been forgotten. Some of those characters came from different countries, while others are connected directly to our Texas Folklore Society family tree. The second section includes works that examine songs of our youth, as well as the customs and social constructs associated with music, whether it’s on a football field or in a prison yard. The works in the final section recall memories of a simpler time, when cars and home appliances lacked modern conveniences we now take for granted, before Facebook and YouTube allowed us to become Internet movie stars, and when it was a treat just to go and “visit” with family and friends.

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