Guide to the Roland Bishop Dickison papers, 1961-1983 (1962-1980)

Finding aid prepared by Rosie M. Ramirez
California State University, Sacramento Special Collections & University Archives
The Library
2000 State University Drive East
Sacramento, CA, 95819-6039

Title: Roland Bishop Dickison papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 1993/03
Contributing Institution: California State University, Sacramento Special Collections & University Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 5.0 Linear feet (4 record cartons)
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1962-1980
Date (inclusive): 1961-1983
creator: Dickison, Roland


Collection is open for research. Some restrictions may apply.


The collection was arranged according to a guide found in the collection. The file "Classification Guide" contained the document "Folklore Archives." This guide appears to have been used by Dr. Dickison and his assistants in categorizing and filing the folklore materials collected from students.
The titles of files were not changed except for the following. Under the Ethnic Groups category two files listed as "Chicano" were changed to "Chicano, Mexican, Mexican American, Latino and Hispanic." This title was more representative of the materials in those files.
Under several categories there was a file listed as miscellaneous, these were divided if possible. The miscellaneous files were renamed and a summary of contents is listed next to their entry in the finding aid.


Professor Roland B. Dickison was first hired by Sacramento State College, predecessor to California State University, Sacramento, in April, 1961. His initial position was assistant to the Dean of the College of Curriculum Development. In the fall of 1962 Professor Dickison became a full time Associate Professor in the English Department. By 1969 Dr. Dickison was promoted to a full professor. Dr. Dickison officially retired in 1983, but has continued to teach as professor emeritus.
During his tenure at the University, Roland Dickison took several leaves of absence. In the fall of 1961 he accepted a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Damascus, Syria. From 1966 to 1968 Professor Dickison left the college to teach at the College of Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. And 1970 and 1971 he went to the Caribbean Islands to research folklore.
During the summers Dr. Dickison took groups of students into Mexico for folklore research.
Dr. Dickison's education includes receiving his B.A. from Colorado College, a B.S. while in the United States Merchant Marines, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Florida. Prior to accepting the position at Sacramento State, Dr. Dickison taught at several other institutions.
Roland B. Dickison currently owns a publishing company, The Bishop Publishing Company, through which he publishes books on folklore. These publications include folklore collected from his students at CSUS.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item including date], [Folder Title], MSS 1993/03, Roland Bishop Dickison papers, Department of Special Collections and University Archives, The Library, California State University, Sacramento.

Publication Rights

Copyright is protected by the copyright law, Chapter 17 of the U.S. Code. Requests for permission to publish, quote, or reproduce from collections must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Permission for publication is given on the behalf of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, The Library, California State University, Sacramento as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Scope and Contents

These papers were donated by Professor Roland B. Dickison to the University Archives at California State University, Sacramento, in September 1993. The collection consists of 4 boxes, equalling 5 linear feet. There are 136 files within 4 boxes.
Dr. Dickison collected the materials from his students who attended folklore and English courses at CSUS. The course requirements varied between the lower and upper division classes. Students in the folklore classes collected and recorded a variety of folklore examples as well as term papers on folklore related topics.
Most documents are dated between the late 1960s and mid 1980s. Geographically, a large portion of the collection reflects Sacramento and northern California. The remainder of the materials represent national and international traditions. Folklore information collected by the students was often the result of an interview. Usually in these papers information is provided on both the informant as well as on the collector. Many of the papers indicate the narrator's occupation, age, ethnic background and language.
Some of the documents in this collection are magazine and newspaper articles. These materials may or may not be cited as to where or when they were collected. Many of these articles may be on the general subject of folklore, or a particular folklore tradition.
Subjects in the collection are numerous and varied. The subject matter and, or, graphic material may be offensive to the researcher. Topics such as sex, race and age are frequently encountered throughout the collection. These materials may be graphic or textual.
There are three major types of folklore: oral folklore, customary folklore and material folk traditions. The Roland B. Dickison papers consist of all three types of folklore. One or more type may be in a single document.
This collection appears to be incomplete. In several articles Dr. Dickison referred to having a five drawer file cabinet full of his students' folklore contributions. The collection, as received by the University, appears to be less than this amount.

Processed by:

Rosie M. Ramirez.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Dickison, Roland
Dickison, Roland
California State University, Sacramento. College of Arts and Letters
California State University, Sacramento. English Dept.


Series 1: Customs and Folkways, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 1

Religion, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 2

Funeral Rites and Ceremonies, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 3

Epitaphs (1 of 2), n.d.

Box 1, Folder 4

Epitaphs (2 of 2), n.d.


Subseries 1: Festivals, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 5

Festivals, n.d.


Subseries 2: Games and Sports n.d.

Box 1, Folder 6

Team Games, Group Games, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 7

Finger Games, Bouncing Games, Clapping Games, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 8

Parlor Games, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 9

Games - Who's "it", n.d.


Subseries 3: Gestures, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 10

Gestures (non-superstitious), n.d.


Series 2: Art, Crafts, Food and Material Culture, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 11

Art and Material Culture, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 12

Food, Desserts and Drink (Eating and Drinking Customs, Etiquette, Recipes and Cooking), n.d.

Box 1, Folder 13

Fashion and Clothing, n.d.


Series 3: Names and Folk Speech, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 14

Names (onomastics), n.d.

Box 1, Folder 15

Special Words and Vocabularies - General Slang, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 16

Special Words and Vocabularies - General Slang, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 17

Special Vocabularies - Secret Languages, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 18

Folk Wit, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 19

Insults, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 20

Wellerisms (parodies, folk poetry, nonsense poems), n.d.

Box 1, Folder 21

Riddles - General, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 22

Riddles - Italian, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 23

Jokes - Cornish, n.d.


Series 4: Cartoons, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 24

Cartoons, n.d.


Series 5: Music, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 25

Subseries 1: Music - Lullabies, n.d.


Sub-Subseries 1: Folk Songs Sub-Series 1. n.d.

Box 1, Folder 26

American, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 27

Australian, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 28

Bawdy, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 29

English, Scottish, Irish, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 30

Etiology, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 31

European, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 32

General, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 33

General, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 34

General (no melody), n.d.

Box 2, Folder 1

Mexican, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 2

Nonsense, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 3

People Songs are About, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 4

Protest, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 5

Variations on Folksongs, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 6

Folk Tunes (Instrumental Only), n.d.

Box 2, Folder 7

Folk Musicians, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 8

Folk Instruments, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 9

Songs with Composers, n.d.


Series 6: Folk Narrative, n.d.


Subseries 1: Myths and Legends, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 10

Myths, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 11

Legends, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 12

Legends - Automobiles, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 13

Lost Mines and Buried Treasure, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 14

Urban Legends, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 15

Life's Misfortunes, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 16

Heavenly Bodies (Sun, Moon, Planets, etc.), n.d.

Box 2, Folder 17

Parables, n.d.


Subseries 2: Tales and Stories, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 18

Tales, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 19

Tall Tales, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 20

Endless Tales, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 21

Creation - How Things Got Their Names, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 22

Ghost Stories, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 23

Haunted Houses, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 24

Little People, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 25

Murder, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 26

Mystery, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 27

Stories with Morals, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 28

Vampires, n.d.


Subseries 3: Superstitions and Magic, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 29

Superstition - General, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 30

Good Luck, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 31

Bad Luck, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 33

Witches, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 34

Witches and Devils, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 35

Evil Spirits, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 36

Amulets, Medallions, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 37

Omens (good and bad), n.d.

Box 2, Folder 38

Fortune-Telling, n.d.


Subseries 4: Gambling, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 39

Gambling, n.d.


Subseries 5: Local History, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 40

First Settlement, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 41

Communities, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 42

Farms, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 43

Churches, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 44

California, n.d.


Subseries 6: Places, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 45

United States, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 46

California, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 47

Grass Valley, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 48

Folsom Prison, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 49

Place Names, n.d.


Subseries 7: Local Characters and Individuals, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 1

Local Characters and Individuals, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 2

Outlaws, n.d.


Subseries 8: Crime and Punishment, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 3

Crime and Punishment, n.d.


Series 7: Architecture, Building, Etc., n.d.

Box 3, Folder 4

Dwellings, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 5

Functional Structures, n.d.


Series 8: Genealogy, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 6

Genealogy, n.d.


Series 9: Ethnic Groups, n.d.


Subseries 1: History, Customs and Lore, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 7

American Indian - Hopi, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 8

Balkan States, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 9

Blacks (African Americans), n.d.

Box 3, Folder 10

Chicano, Mexican, Mexican American, Latino, Hispanic (1 of 2), n.d.

Box 3, Folder 11

Chicano, Mexican, Mexican American, Latino, Hispanic (2 of 2), n.d.

Box 3, Folder 12

Chinese, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 13

Germans, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 14

Greek, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 15

Irish, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 16

Japanese, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 17

Middle East, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 18

Scandinavians, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 19

Others, n.d.

General note

Including: Italian, Portuguese, Hawaiian, Jewish, Kikuyo (Kenyan), Thai, Guamanian, Bolivian, Vietnamese, Russian, Australian, French, Madagascar, Indian (India), Phillipino, and Korean.

Series 10: Subculture, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 20

Subculture, n.d.


Series 11: Occupational Folklore, n.d.


Subseries 1: Armed Services, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 21

Airforce (and Aviation), n.d.

Box 3, Folder 22

Army, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 23

Marines, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 24

Navy, n.d.


Subseries 2: Other Occupations, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 25

Advertising, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 26

Automobiles, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 27

Business, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 28

Commercial Fishing, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 29

Construction, n.d.

Box 3, Folder 30

Fire Fighters, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 1

Government, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 2

Husbandry, Rural Lore, Domestic Traditions (1 of 2), n.d.

Box 4, Folder 3

Husbandry, Rural Lore, Domestic Traditions (2 of 2), n.d.

Box 4, Folder 4

Insurance, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 5

Labor Leaders, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 6

Lawyers, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 7

Logging, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 8

Medical Profession, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 9

Mining, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 10

Office Practice, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 11

Police, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 12

Politics, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 13

Postal Service, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 14

Railroads, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 15

Restaurant, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 16

Schools, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 17

Telephone Industry, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 18

Theater, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 19

Truck Drivers, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 20

Wine Making, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 21

General, n.d.

General note

Including: computer, journalism, supermarket, sales, "beauty shop", accounting, hospital, drive-in theaters, coal sales, flour milling, archaeology, gunsmithing, dentistry, chimney sweeps.
Box 4, Folder 22

Series 12: Miscellaneous, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 22

Folklore - Miscellaneous (per original folder), n.d.


Series 13: Folklore in Institutions, n.d.


Subseries 1: Folklore in Schools, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 23

Teaching Units, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 24

Subseries 2: Other Institutions, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 24

Festival of American Folklife Program (Smithsonian Institution), 1994.


Series 14: Folklore Guide, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 25

Classification Guide, n.d.