Mary Celestia Parler (1904-1981) taught folklore and other courses in the Department of English at the University of Arkansas from 1948 to 1975. During her career she collected and managed the folk song collection and also gathered a vast quantity of non-song materials on Ozark lives, riddles, proverbs, beliefs, and superstitions that were compiled into twenty-one volumes held in Special Collections. Her students contributed more than thirty linear feet of reports on many topics of Ozark culture All these materials were donated by Miss Parler to the University Libraries beginning in 1965, where they have been managed and preserved ever since. She was a founder of the Arkansas Folklore Society in 1950 and served on its board with the poet John Gould Fletcher, collectors Vance Randolph and Otto Ernest Rayburn, and performers Booth Campbell and Doney Hammontree. Mary Celestia Parler married Vance Randolph in 1962.
Mary Celestia Parler in Old Main office, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, ca 1950s. (MC 896, File 1)
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 in Rayburn's Book Store, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, 1948. Mary Celestia Parler Papers (MC 1501, Box 9, File 6)