Otto Ernest Rayburn Research Materials

Otto Ernest Rayburn (1891-1960) was a writer, schoolteacher, and promoter for thirty years in the Ozarks, as the title of his memoir states. He published magazines and books celebrating the region and yearned to preserve and extend what he saw its "the pure Anglo-Saxon culture". He wanted scholars and the public to have access to his research materials, and arranged for them to come to the University Libraries.

Vance Randolph and Otto Ernest Rayburn

Vance Randolph and Otto Ernest Rayburn in Rayburn's Book Store, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, 1948. (Mary Celestia Parler Papers, MC 1501)

Kingston, AR, Class of 1926

Kingston High School graduating class of 1926. Professor Otto Ernest Rayburn in center. (Kingston, Arkansas Collection, 1917-1931, MC 1215)

Manuscript Collections in Special Collections

Otto Ernest Rayburn Papers
1916-1960 (MC MS R19). (1473 items) The bulk of the collection is The Ozark Folk Encyclopedia, 229 folders containing Rayburn's working files of clippings, notes, letters, photographs, etc., arranged in alphabetical order. Some material was compiled by Rayburn into book form: Bibliographies of his works and of other writing on the Ozarks; Enchanted Ozarks, in 3 volumes, "folkways and customs, actual events, and traditional folklore;" Ozark Folks and Folklore; Survey of Ozark Superstitions, in 2 volumes; Ozark Sketchbook; a compilation of his verse. Way Back Yonder, copies of a published newspaper column by Rayburn. The collection also includes correspondence, scrapbooks, pictures, Book reviews and comments on his works Forty Years in the Ozarks and Ozark Country. The University Libraries acquired Rayburn's extensive personal library of Ozark print materials, which were classified and integrated into the Arkansas and circulating book collections.
Kingston, Arkansas Collection, 1917-1931
Photocopies of published material and photographs, 1917-1931 (MC 1215). (.3 linear ft.) The collection contains photocopies of selected articles pertaining to Kingston, published in the Brick Church Life magazine, 1920-1929; a booklet "100% American: The War Story of a Country Church," by Elmer J. Bouher; photocopies of articles by Rayburn; and other printed material. It also contains photographs of the Kingston Community Church and the nationally known "A Country Life Project," as well as "The Kingsplan."

Ethel Simpson, former archivist with the Special Collections Department, worked on the Rayburn collection for many years and knows the ins and outs of it, and a great deal about the man himself. Beginning in October, 2005, Simpson selected a subject under each letter in turn through the alphabet and read Rayburn's entry for it in the Encyclopedia for Ozarks at Large, an original program broadcast by KUAF radio, the University of Arkansas affiliate of National Public Radio. The audio files from these broadcasts are available on our website.

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