HAZEL DICKENS COLLECTION                                                                                  88‑060



The Center for Popular Music


Type of Material:

Performance Documents, Printed Materials, Manuscript Materials, Sound Recordings, Newspaper Clippings, Photographs, Press Kit


Physical Description:

.25 linear feet, including 4 audio tapes and 107 photographs

            audio tapes (TCA‑0026, TCA‑0027, TCA‑0028, TTA‑0027)





Abstract (Descriptive Summary):

This collection documents folk singer/songwriter Hazel Dickens’ concerts and informal workshops at Middle Tennessee State University. The collection consists of performance documents, manuscript materials, newspaper clippings, audio tapes, and one press kit pertaining to Dickens’ traditional folk music and her connection with MTSU.



The collection is open for research use.


Provenance and Acquisition Information:

Materials were collected/generated by the Center for Popular Music, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN.


Subject/Index Terms:

Dickens, Hazel

Folk music

Folk songs


Agency History/Biographical Sketch:

The music of folk singer/songwriter Hazel Dickens is rooted in the traditional folk music of her native West Virginia, but also incorporates elements of country, gospel, and bluegrass. She recorded two albums, Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People and By the Sweat of My Brow, on Rounder Records; four of her songs were included in the soundtrack of the Academy Award‑winning film Harlan County U.S.A. She appeared at folk festivals throughout the country and toured overseas, and her songs have been recorded by performers as diverse as The Judds and New Riders of the Purple Sage.


Scope and Content:

Hazel Dickens made two appearances at Middle Tennessee State University in November 1986.  She led an informal workshop on November 6, 1986, entitled "It's Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song: Conversations with Hazel Dickens," moderated by folklorists Patricia Hall and Charlie Seeman; on November 7, 1986, she appeared in concert backed by an acoustic band that included Blaine Sprouse, John Hedgecoth, Tommy Goldsmith, Roy Huskey, Jr., and Jerry Douglas.


This collection consists primarily of materials documenting these events, including a poster, advertisements, press releases, articles, and other printed materials; an analog audio cassette (TCA‑0026) of the workshop; a digital audio cassette (TCD‑0027) and analog reel to reel tape (TTA‑0027) of the concert; and 107 black and white contact prints of the workshop and concert taken by Mark Hay of MTSU Photographic Services and Paul Wells, then-director of the Center for Popular Music.


Also included are an analog audio cassette (TCA‑0028) of a radio program, "A Visit with Hazel Dickens," by Randy O'Brien, WMOT, which won an award from the Tennessee Association of Press Broadcasters; newspaper articles about reviews of records and performances by her; excerpts of an interview with Dickens; and a Dickens press kit from Rounder Records.


Collection Contents (Folder/Box List):

Folder 1           Biographical

Folder 2           MTSU Workshop


Materials Cataloged Separately:

Audio tapes (TCA‑0026, TCA‑0027, TCA‑0028, TTA‑0027)

Photographs from the Manuscript collection cataloged under “Photographs” in the InMagic database.



Unless otherwise noted, the arrangement scheme for the collection was imposed during processing in the absence of a usable original order.



Audio tapes are filed by tape number with other audio visual archival materials. Manuscripts are filed by accession number with other manuscript materials. The photographs are filed in the photographic file (CPM-PR-00093), and the Rounder press kit is filed in the biographical vertical file.


Original photographs or a cross-reference copy are housed in the Iconographic boxes in the stacks. Original images linked by provenance with a manuscript collection remain with their respective collection in the manuscript section, but with a cross-reference in the Iconographic files. Oversized photographs are identified by “ov” and may be found in the oversize boxes or oversize metal cabinet in stacks.


Related Materials:

While at Middle Tennessee State University, Ms. Dickens was interviewed by Don Cusic for his series "The Music Biz"; this interview is part of manuscript group 88‑059, THE MUSIC BIZ.




Processed by Ellen Garrison, June 1989

Revised by Lucinda P. Cockrell, May 2003

Revised by Rachel K. Morris, July 2011