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Collection Number: 20386

Collection Title: Ken Griffis Collection, 1930-2003

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


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Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 950 items)
Abstract Ken Griffis, best known for his work on documenting the Sons of the Pioneers, an early country music group, also researched and documented an earlier group known as the Beverly Hillbillies, a music group created by Glen Rice and the first "hillbilly" music group to achieve widespread acclaim, beginning in 1930 on radio station KMPC Los Angeles. In its most popular configuration, the group consisted of Jimmy Baker (Elton Britt), Marjorie Bauersfield (Mirandy), Harry Blaeholder (Hank Skillet), Ashley Dees (Jad Scroggins), Aleth Hansen (Lem Giles), Leo Mannes (Zeke Manners, Zeke Craddock), Cyprian Paulette (Ezra Longnecker), and Charles Quirk (Charlie Slater, Charlie Skillet). This collection includes music transcriptions, papers, photographic materials, and audiocassettes relating to Griffis's research documenting the Beverly Hillbillies. Music transcriptions are of songs performed by the Beverly Hillbillies. Papers include journal articles, newspaper clippings, posters and flyers, discographies, facsimiles of record albums, letters sent to the Beverly Hillbillies, transcripts of interviews Griffis conducted with members of the group, research correspondence, and research notes. Photographic materials are primarily promotional photographs of the group with and without autograph signatures, but also included is a photograph of a horse purported to have belonged to Jesse James. Audiocassettes consist of noncommercial recordings of interviews Griffis conducted with members of the group, including Aleth Hansen, Stuart Hamblen, Leo Mannes, and Charles Quirk.
Creator Griffis, Ken.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
Materials may be listened to only at the Manuscripts Department.
All copy requests require donor approval.
Use of audio materials may required production of listening copies.
This collection contains additional materials that are not processed and are currently not available to researchers. For information about access to these materials, contact Research and Instructional Services staff. Please be advised that preparing unprocessed materials for access can be a lengthy process.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Ken Griffis Collection #20386, Southern Folklife Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Ken Griffis of Thornton, Colo., in November 2003 (Acc. 99663).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Ken Griffis is best known for his work on documenting the early country music group, the Sons of the Pioneers. His research, begun in the 1960s, culminated in the publication of a monograph on the group, Hear My Song: The Story of the Celebrated Sons of the Pioneers (John Edwards Memorial Foundation, 1974/revised 1977). As of 2003, Griffis resided in Thornton, Colo.

The Beverly Hillbillies began their career on radio KMPC Los Angeles in 1930. The group was the brainchild of Glen Rice, who concocted an elaborate myth about the origins of the group, advertising them as "authentic" hillbillies when, in fact, each of the group's members was already living and working in the Los Angeles area. In its most popular configuration, the group consisted of Jimmy Baker (Elton Britt), Marjorie Bauersfield (Mirandy), Harry Blaeholder (Hank Skillet), Ashley Dees (Jad Scroggins), Aleth Hansen (Lem Giles), Leo Mannes (Zeke Manners, Zeke Craddock), Cyprian Paulette (Ezra Longnecker), and Charles Quirk (Charlie Slater, Charlie Skillet). In later years, this roster was subject to change. In 1932, the group split temporarily, with some members remaining in Los Angeles and others relocating to San Francisco. During this period, three future members of the Sons of the Pioneers joined the group. The Beverly Hillbillies continued to enjoy success, both on the radio and in live concerts, until the late 1930s. In addition to recording and touring, the Beverly Hillbillies appeared in several feature films and made hundreds of music transcriptions, including several for Armed Forces radio. The group was revived in the 1940s and an attempt at revival was made as late as 1957, but the Beverly Hillbillies never regained the popularity of their earlier years.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The Ken Griffis Collection consists of music transcriptions, papers, photographs, and audiocassettes relating to Griffis's research documenting the Beverly Hillbillies, a Los Angeles-based musical group that starred in a radio program of the same name throughout the 1930s and early 1940s.

Music transcriptions, the bulk of which are handwritten and annotated, are of songs performed by the Beverly Hillbillies.

Papers include journal articles; newspaper clippings; posters and flyers; discographies; facsimiles of record albums; letters sent to the Beverly Hillbillies; transcripts of oral history interviews Griffis conducted with members of the group; correspondence between Griffis, the Beverly Hillbillies, and other researchers; and research notes.

Photographic materials are primarily promotional photographs of the Beverly Hillbillies with and without autograph signatures. Also included are photographs of related items and several photographic negatives. Also included is a photograph of a horse purported to have belonged to Jesse James.

Audiocassettes consist of noncommercial recordings of interviews Griffis conducted with members of the Beverly Hillbillies, including Aleth Hansen (Lem Giles), Stuart Hamblen, Leo Mannes (Zeke Manners), and Charlie Quirk (Charlie Slater, Charlie Skillet). These correspond to typescript versions that also included.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Music Transcriptions, 1930-1944.

About 900 items.

Arrangement: By type. Original order within type was maintained where possible.

Folder 1

Instrumental pieces #20386, Series: "1. Music Transcriptions, 1930-1944." Folder 1

Folder 2

Hymns/religious tunes #20386, Series: "1. Music Transcriptions, 1930-1944." Folder 2

Folder 3-8

General vocal #20386, Series: "1. Music Transcriptions, 1930-1944." Folder 3-8

Folder 9

Song lyrics #20386, Series: "1. Music Transcriptions, 1930-1944." Folder 9

Folder 10

Selected music transcriptions #20386, Series: "1. Music Transcriptions, 1930-1944." Folder 10

Transcriptions filed separately by Ken Griffis: "In the Heart of Beverly Hills" (the Beverly Hillbillies theme song), autographed by Nat Vincent; photographic proof of same; "Mellow Mountain Door" annotated by Ken Griffis; printed sheet music "My Pretty Quadroon," a signature song of the Beverly Hillbillies, with image of the group embedded in cover art; published songbook New and Original Favorite Songs of Famous Hill Billies, 1934.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Papers, 1930-2003.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated.

24 items.

Arrangement: By type.

Chiefly photographs of the Beverly Hillbillies, comprised of autographed publicity photos and a few head shots of individual group members. Also includes mock-up images of sketches of several group members, facsimiles of photographs of a marquee advertising the Beverly Hillbillies, two negatives of publicity photographs, and one floppy disc containing a photographic image of the Beverly Hillbillies.

Image P-4796

Photograph of the Beverly Hillbillies, circa 1934, b&w print, roughly 8x10. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4796

Autographed by Hansen.

Image P-4797

Photograph of the Beverly Hillbillies, 1930s, b&w print, roughly 8x10. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4797

Autographed by all in photograph. Negative on file.

Image P-4798

Photograph of the Beverly Hillbillies, 1930s or 1940s, b&w print, roughly 8x10. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4798

Image P-4799

Photograph of the Beverly Hillbillies, 1930s, b&w print, roughly 8x10. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4799

Image P-4800

Photograph of the Beverly Hillbillies, circa 1946, b&w print, roughly 8x10. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4800

Autographed by all in photograph.

Image P-4801

Photograph of the Beverly Hillbillies, 1930s or 1940s, b&w print, roughly 8x10. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4801

Image P-4802

Photograph of the Beverly Hillbillies, circa 1931, b&w print, roughly 5x7. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4802

Image P-4803

Image of the Beverly Hillbillies, late 1930s, facsimile of b&w print, roughly 8x10. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4803

Negative on file.

Image P-4804

Photograph of Curt Barrett (Gabe), undated, b&w print, roughly 8x10. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4804

Image P-4805

Image of Tom Murray (Pappy), undated, full page from a magazine, roughly 7x10. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4805

Image P-4806

Photograph of sheet music, "Down the Trail to the Girl I Love", 1931, b&w print, roughly 8x10. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4806

Image P-4807

Photograph of sheet music, "My Pretty Quadroon", May 1930, b&w print, roughly 8x10. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4807

Image P-4808

Image of the Warner Brothers Downtown Theater marquee featuring the Beverly Hillbillies, b&w facsimile, roughly 2x3. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4808

Image P-4809

Image of the Warner Brothers Downtown Theater marquee featuring the Beverly Hillbillies (close-up), b&w facsimile, roughly 2x3. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4809

Image P-4810

Image of a horse purported to have belonged to Jesse James, b&w facsimile, roughly 2x3. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4810

Image P-4811

Photographic proof of "Brother McCandless: His Gospel According to Mirandy", b&w photograph, roughly 4x6. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4811

Image P-4812

Photographic proof of sketch of Mirandy, drawn by Helen Davies, b&w, roughly 4x6. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4812

Image P-4813

Photographic proof of sketch of Ezra, drawn by Helen Davies, b&w, roughly 4x6. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4813

Image P-4814

Photographic proof of sketch of Lem, drawn by Helen Davies, b&w, roughly 4x6. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4814

Image P-4815

Photographic proof of sketch of Hank, drawn by Helen Davies, b&w, roughly 4x6. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4815

Image P-4816

Photographic proof of sketch of Jad, drawn by Helen Davies, b&w, roughly 4x6. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4816

Image P-4817

Photographic proof of sketch of Charlie, drawn by Helen Davies, b&w, roughly 4x6. #20386, Series: "3. Photographic Materials, 1930s-1940s and undated." P-4817

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Audiocassettes, 1969-1975.

5 items.

Arrangement: Alphabetical by interview subject.

Sound recordings of oral history interviews Ken Griffis conducted with Aleth Hansen, Stuart Hamblen, Leo (Zeke) Manners, and Charlie Quirk. See also Series 2.3 for typescripts of some of these interviews.

Audiotape FS-8040

Interview with Aleth Hansen #20386, Series: "4. Audiocassettes, 1969-1975." FS-8040

Audiotape FS-8041

Interview with Zeke Manners, parts 1 and 2 #20386, Series: "4. Audiocassettes, 1969-1975." FS-8041

Audiotape FS-8042

Interview with Zeke Manners, parts 3 and 4 #20386, Series: "4. Audiocassettes, 1969-1975." FS-8042

Audiotape FS-8043

Interviews with Zeke Manners, part 5, and Stuart Hamblen #20386, Series: "4. Audiocassettes, 1969-1975." FS-8043

Audiotape FS-8044

Interview with Charlie Quirk, 1969 #20386, Series: "4. Audiocassettes, 1969-1975." FS-8044

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Processing Information

Processed by: Carrie Stubblefield, May 2007

Encoded by: Carrie Stubblefield, May 2007

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