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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Myles Horton papers

Repository: Wisconsin Historical Society. Library-Archives

Collection Description (CRHP): Tape 1271A includes a biographical tribute to Horton by Elizabeth McCommon (1982), as well as undated interviews of Aleine Austin about Highlander, its relation with radicals, and Horton's educational philosophy, and an undated interview by Jan Fritz that covers Horton's education at the University of Chicago Department of Sociology.

Collection Description (Extant): Papers, mainly 1921-1990, of Myles Horton, the founder-director of the Highlander Folk School (later known as the Highlander Research and Education Center) in Monteagle, Tennessee, largely documenting his career before and after his association with the school. Included are personal and family materials including extensive oral histories about Highlander, labor history, civil rights, and other topics; speeches and writings (some available in recorded form); a copy of The Long Haul, his autobiography; correspondence with May Justus, Rosa Parks, and other Highlander staff and students; information pertaining to travel to Nicaragua and other countries in pursuit of his interest in adult education; diaries relating to his education at Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee; genealogical information about the Horton Family; and papers of his first wife, Zilphia Mae Horton, a singer and noted collector of folk music. Extensive subject files compiled to supplement his travel, writings, and public speaking contain references to Paulo Freire, Nikolai Grundtvig, Huey Long, and others. Among the early career materials are surveys of churches in McHenry County, Illinois and a folder of restricted reports on mental patients admitted to the Worcester State Hospital in Massachusetts. A scrapbook documenting the efforts of Lilian Wyckoff Johnson, the original owner of the Highlander property, about her efforts to establish a college for women contains correspondence from John Dewey, Frederick Jackson Turner, and Woodrow Wilson.

Myles Horton was the frequent subject of interviews and oral histories about Highlander, adult education, and other related topics, and many of these [in transcript form] are included in the collection. Over time Horton tended to repeat the same historical information and anecdotes, but his longer interviews are quite useful. The interviews include discussions with wife Aimee (1966), the Southern Labor History Program at the University of North Carolina, Frank Adams, and Studs Terkel. Horton's published interview with Bill Moyers is available in the SHSW Library.

Access Copy Note: The Worcester State Hospital mental patient reports prepared by Myles Horton (Box 17) may be confidential. As a result, they may be used only by researchers who agree to the SHSW Confidential Use Waiver not to disclose personally identifiable information.

Date(s): 1851-1990

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: Call number: Mss 831; Tape 1271A

Extent: 6.6 c.f. (17 archives boxes and 1 flat box); 11 tape recordings

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Interviewees: Myles Horton, Aleine Austin

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


African Americans--Education
Civil rights movements--Tennessee
Civil rights workers
Highlander Folk School (Monteagle, Tenn.)


Sound recordings


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   May 15, 2015
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