Guide to Folklore & Folklife in Missouri


Several collections in the holdings of The State Historical Society of Missouri document and illustrate Missouri folk traditions, music, and other unique forms of folklife. The following collections showcase this state culture in photographs:

Loman D. and Laura M. Collection C4018
The Loman and Laura Cansler Collection represents a lifetime of collecting Missouri’s folk song and folklore tradition. The Canslers recorded and collected folk songs, proverbs, jokes, and home remedies, primarily in Missouri, but also in Kansas and Illinois. In addition to this large body of folk song and folklore material, the collection includes information on Loman Cansler’s early life in Dallas County, Missouri, his World War II service, and his career as a high school counselor in Fayette and Kansas City. The collection also includes slides and prints of Laura Cansler’s abstract expressionist artwork.

Robert P Christeson Collection C3971
The Christeson Collection includes sheet music, song books, and other publications related to square dancing and folk dances, publications on the history of violins and fiddlers, catalogs of instruments and musical recordings, correspondence, photographs and family papers, fiddle organization newsletters, fiddling contest flyers, folk festival information, and the working papers of volumes I and II of The Old-Time Fiddler's Repertory. In addition, this collection contains Christeson's original wire recordings, audio tapes, and audio discs of fiddle tunes, jam sessions, fiddle contests, and other folk genres.

View a selection of images from these collections below.

View the entire digital collection online here.