Document Type

Book Chapter


Edward D. Ives


Linda Degh

Henry Glassie

Felix Oinas

Publication Title

Folklore Today: A Festschrift for Richard M. Dorson


Indiana University, Research Center for Language and Semiotic Studies

Publication Date


Publisher location


First Page


Last Page


Abstract/ Summary

"An entire library devoted to the life and deeds of one man, and I'm standing on it!" I had come to Austin, Texas, to attend the 1972 Oral History Colloquium, and the immediate occasion of my yokel wonderment was a cocktail party in the sumptuous reception room atop the Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Library. The massive accumulation of documents represented by the many floors of stacks below me all but made my feet tingle, and I wondered how Johnson's biographers could ever hope to deal with it all. The contrast with my own problems as a biographer was almost too perfect. I had written about the lives and works of two folk poets, Larry Gorman and Lawrence Doyle, was well along toward completing a third on Joe Scott and the entire accumulated documentary material available to me for all three I could have held in one hand. It was a neat irony, I felt, and somehow significant if not even symbolic of something or other. Over the cocktail hubbub I told my lovely companion of the moment about it. She thought it was significant too, and maybe symbolic. We had another drink on it.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Edward D. Ives, "Common-Man Biography: Some Notes by the Way," in Folklore Today: A Festschrift for Richard M. Dorson, ed. Linda Degh, Henry Glassie, and Felix Oinas (Bloomington: Indiana University RCLSS, 1976), pp. 251-64

Publisher Statement

©1976 by Indiana University-RCLSS


publisher's version of the published document

Rights and Access Note

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. In addition, no permission is required from the rights-holder(s) for non-commercial uses. For other uses, you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). For more information, contact Special Collections.



Rights Statement

In Copyright