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Folklore Collection Preserved at Institute

The folklore collected for over thirty years by NDSU Students and Timothy J. Kloberdanz, professor emeritus of anthropology, is now available for public research use at the Institute for Regional Studies. Items from the collection are featured in the newly published book Sundogs and Sunflowers: Folklore and Folk Art of the Northern Great Plains, published by the North Dakota Council on the Arts and authored by Kloberdanz and Troy A. Geist, NDSU alumus and State Folklorist with the Council.

The rich folklore collection contains over 10,700 items and spans from 1977 when Kloberdanz began teaching a class on 'Folklore and Culture' at NDSU up to 2010. The folklore items in the collection are based upon face-to-face interviews by students with a variety of personal contacts such as casual acquaintances, friends, fellow students, roommates, parents, siblings, relatives and community members. The collection includes many kinds of folklore: ghost stories, legends, blizzard stories, jokes, folk expressions, folk beliefs, folk medicine, holiday customs, weather lore, hunting/fishing/trapping traditions, nicknames, traditional foodways, tall tales and folk humor. View the collection finding aid on the Institute's website.

Samples from the Collection:

"The trouble with trouble is that it starts out as fun."
"If you're are not the lead dog, the view never changes."
"Keep your words soft and sweet. You never know when you may have to eat them."
"Why do elephants paint their toenails?  So they can hide in the jelly bean jar."
"Two can live as cheap as one, but only half as long" (Marriage proverb)
"Why did the turtle cross the road?  To get to the shell station."