The Missouri Folklore Society

The Missouri Folklore Society was organized December 15, 1906, "to encourage the collection, preservation and study of folklore in the widest sense, including customs, institutions, beliefs, signs, legends, language, literature, musical arts, and folk arts and crafts of all ethnic groups throughout the State of Missouri."

snailmail: P.O. Box 1757 Columbia, MO 65205



"We were sad to learn that Ellen Gray Massey, the inimitable Ozarks teacher and author, has died. If she were known for nothing else but editing "Bittersweet, the Ozark Quarterly Magazine," that would be plenty. For ten years, she encouraged her students at Lebanon High School to interview their elders and document regional stories and traditions. "The concept of Bittersweet was cultural journalism and experiential education (learning while doing). The goal of the publication was to learn all aspects of running a business and at the same time, learn about the Ozarks, its geography, crafts, lore and the people who live there." Mrs. Massey was an award-winning author, a well-regarded teacher of children and adults, and a long-time member of the Missouri Folklore Society. She will certainly be missed, though because of her, so much of the Ozark regional culture has been recorded for posterity."

 -Lisa Higgins, for the Missouri Folk Arts Program

On my last visit with her, I got her to share memories of the Bittersweet project, and to autograph my copy of the book.

"When an old person passes, a library burns down."

-Introducing A Burst of Song, a collection of traditional tunes performed by the late and much-missed Adolf Schroeder. Click here to find out how to purchase your own copy -- most of the material recorded when Dolf was in his 96th year.

-Anyone interested in the history, culture, and French heritage of the Old Mines community will be interested in a new website dedicated exclusively to Old Mines.  The site, at, is an ongoing project directed by Dr. Will Thompson, a French professor at the University of Memphis, who has visited the area extensively, and has received a grant to collect materials and create a digital archive of resources of interest to anyone interested in this subject.  There is also a new Facebook page associated with the site at  Anyone interested in contributing to this project (or simply learning more) can get involved by sending an email to


-Start thinking now about your presentation, performance, storytelling- or demonstration-session. Planning for the November meeting has begun. Scholars, students, tradition-bearers and enthusiasts are all welcome. Click here for the CALL FOR PAPERS.

-See the calendar page for the Ozark Studies Symposium, West Plains, September 19-20. The call for papers deadline is August 1, and the topic is "Modernity and Regional Identity."

-A page of images from Kent Beaulne's presentation on hand-forged, iron crosses in use as cemetery markers in the Old Mines district (as presented at the 2013 meeting in Potosi).

-A premiere event: Alaskan (Ahtna) native John Smelcer, one of the last living speakers of his Athabaskan language (as well as the author of a dictionary) and a faculty member at Truman State, has allowed us to publish two brief tales he collected in the field: a story of how seals came about, and a trickster tale involving Raven and Grizzly Bear.


New material and upcoming events:




The Civil War in Missouri is a travelling exhibit co-sponsored by the Missouri Humanities Council and the Missouri History Museum

MFS' Howard Marshall writing in the Old Time Herald on "Rhonda Vincent and Missouri’s Old-Time and Bluegrass Crossroads"

Pyles, Lida. It Happened in the Ozarks. Dylan Pyles, grandson of this Missouri folklorist, has generously agreed to make this rare book available online via the Missouri Folklore Society.

Of special interest:

Now accepting submissions for Missouri Folklore Studies, an online archive of occasional papers on the traditions of Missouri and its residents.

Students -- apply for the Dolf and Becky Schroeder prize in folklore!


New or renewing member?

Click here for the membership form (.pdf to print and mail)


Links especially for members of MFS


Click here for a listing of ongoing and developing projects and folklore collections to which you can contribute.

Support your Missouri Folklore Society: music and opportunities to donate

Click here to send a note to the newsletter editor on Missouri folklore, folklife or folkarts people and events;

please note: the Missouri Folklore Society will not share its membership list with any individual or organization, nor do we accept paid advertising.


This page appears courtesy of Truman State University

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last updated 7-16-14



The Missouri Folklore Society Journal

The Missouri Folklore Society Newsletter

Our main page of links: regional and national folklore organizations, genres, reference and online collections

Calendar of Upcoming Missouri folklore and folklife events

Editor's choice: sites especially worthy of a Missouri folklorist's attention

Missouri Folklore Studies: an online archive of occasional papers, essays and documentation

Resources for educators and students



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