American Folklore Society
Texas State Historical
|Next to the American Folklore Society, The Texas Folklore Society is the
oldest folklore organization continually functioning in the United States.
Chartered in 1909, the Society held its first meeting on the campus of the
University of Texas in 1911. Mrs. Bess Brown Lomax was on the program with a
paper on the now famous "Boll Weevil" song, which Lomax had collected in the
Brazos bottom in 1909. Annual meetings have continued regularly since 1911,
except for interruptions in 1918-1921 and 1944-1945 caused by the great wars and
The Society has stimulated the recording and study of the rich folk culture
of Texas and the Southwest, has attracted both laymen and scholars, and has
distributed its publications throughout America and the world.
In his preface to T for Texas: A State Full of Folklore (PTFS
44-1982), Francis Edward Abernethy says about the Society's purpose:
I believe that the Society's main purpose is to search for ways
to preserve folklore without embalming it, and to present a fairly
well-educated public with the treasures of their culture's folk
life. I do not believe that our purpose is to proliferate esoterica
and pedantry among a small, specially educated clique.
I further believe that the Texas Folklore Society's purpose is to
preserve and present the Folklore of Texas. This does not mean that
our purpose is to be chauvinistic or provincial, both of which are
brought about by states of mind rather than geographical locations.
It means, as Kittredge said so many years ago, that Texas really is
the folklorist's happy hunting ground, that we have all the fields
we can ever plow, and that the work and the room to work is as wide
as its borders and as inexhaustible as the winds that blow across
the Staked Plains. And this work should be done by those who know
the land and love it and understand it.
And finally, I believe that the purpose of the Texas Folklore
Society is not to hide the light of the lore under a bushel of
academic guidelines and definitions and scholarly verbiage but to
let that light so shine among men that all the world but, Lord, most
especially Texans may see the richness of the land and its people
and its history and its continuity. In this land and its people and
its history Texans must realize the place of their belonging, a
mother land to moisten with their sweat, and finally to nourish with
|The Society meets Easter weekend, when members read papers on a variety of
folklore subjects. On Thursday night there is a "hootenanny" and on Friday night
a dinner with an invited speaker or other entertainment. All sessions are open
to the public.
Our emblem is the roadrunner, called paisano by border
folk, which epitomizes the free spirit of the brush country. J.
Frank Dobie chose the paisano for the Society, and for himself, years ago.
>>more on the roadrunner
A History of the Texas Folklore Society (1909-1979) by
F. E. Abernethy
Board of Directors
Noted Folklore Authors