Guide to the James N. Tidwell American Folklore Collection

© Copyright 2010 Special Collections & University Archives. All rights reserved.
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Phone: 619-594-6791

Guide to the James N. Tidwell American Folklore Collection

Special Collections & University Archives

Overview of the Collection

Collection Title: James N. Tidwell American Folklore Collection
Identification: MS-0253
Creator: Tidwell, James Nathan, 1911-1989
Physical Description: 2.17 linear ft
Language of Materials: English
Repository: Special Collections & University Archives
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Phone: 619-594-6791

Biographical Information:

Dr. James Tidwell was born in Texas in 1911. He earned his doctorate in English from the Ohio State University, and enlisted in the Navy during World War II. He taught at Ohio State University and Westminster College prior to joining the faculty at San Diego State College in 1947. He was a Fulbright Professor of American Literature and Language at the University of Athens in Athens, Greece from 1956-57.
Tidwell is the author of many scholarly publications and of A Treasury of American Folk Humor, published in 1956. During his career, Tidwell was the regional editor for the Journal of Western Folklore, Counselor for the American Folklore Society, member of the Advisory Committee of American Speech, and also hosted a local television series on folklore in 1956. He served as acting dean of the School of Arts and Letters, and retired in 1976.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Genre/Form of Material:

Personal Papers

Personal Name:

Tidwell, James Nathan

Topical Term:

Folklore--United States
Musical Americana

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Use:

The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Conditions Governing Access:

This collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation:

Identification of item, folder title, box number, James N. Tidwell American Folklore Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Scope and Contents

The James Tidwell American Folklore Collection primarily consists of examples of American folklore, and was created by James Tidwell.  It includes folklore in various genres, including stories, sayings, figures of speech, moral tales, anecdotes, legends, jokes, riddles, and music, among others.  The collection also contains some student work from Tidwell's San Diego State College courses, and note cards documenting music and sayings.  It is filed alphabetically by genre.

Detailed List of Contents

Box 1, Folder 1


Box 1, Folder 2

Ballads-Sheet Music

Box 1, Folder 3

College Songs and Sayings

Box 1, Folder 4

Compiles Tales and Anecdotes, A-F

Box 1, Folder 5

Compiled Tales and Anecdotes, G-L

Box 1, Folder 6

Compiled Tales and Anecdotes, M-R

Box 1, Folder 7

Compiled Tales and Anecdotes, S-Z

Box 2, Folder 1


Box 2, Folder 2

Folk Jokes

Box 2, Folder 3

Folk Music Catalog

Box 2, Folder 4

Ghost Stories

Box 2, Folder 5

Grandpa Perry and His Remarkable Ice Machine

Box 2, Folder 6

Hate Jokes

Box 2, Folder 7


Box 2, Folder 8


Box 2, Folder 9

Musical Americana

Box 2, Folder 10

Musical Americana-Note cards

Box 2, Folder 11


Box 2, Folder 12


Box 3, Folder 1


Box 3, Folder 2


Box 3, Folder 3


Box 3, Folder 4

Proverbial similies and figures of speech

Box 3, Folder 5

Proverbs and Sayings

Box 3, Folder 6


Box 3, Folder 7

Riddles and Conundrums

Box 3, Folder 8


Box 3, Folder 9

Sources for Tapes

Box 4, Folder 1

Student Work-Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases...

Box 4, Folder 2

Student Work-Proverbs and Proverbial Sayings...

Box 4, Folder 3

Student Work-Salmagundi

Box 4, Folder 4


Box 4, Folder 5

Survey Questions, Word Associations

Box 4, Folder 6

Talking Animal Stories