Mary Elizabeth Campbell


Guggenheim Fellow (1955)
Guggenheim Fellow (1944)


Marie Campbell was born in Tamms, Illinois on February 17, 1907. She began teaching at the Hindman Settlement School in Kentucky in 1926. This was to be her initial introduction to the oral traditions of the Appalachian mountain folk. Campbell collected local stories between the years 1926-1940, many of which, she discovered, were actually local variations of European tales and ancient mythology. In an effort to gain credibility with the local community, she immersed herself in a wide variety of local events. As a result, she was able to write down stories which had, until then, only been part of the people's oral history.

Campbell completed an A.B. in education from Southern Illinois Teachers College in 1932 and an M.A. in English at George Peabody College in 1937. By 1940, she was teaching English, folklore, and creative writing at West Georgia College, Peabody College, Alabama Laboratory School, and Carollton High School in Georgia. In 1942, she published, Cloud-Walking , her very first collection of southern Appalachian folk tales. In 1944, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts.

Campbell earned her Ph.D. in 1956 in folklore and comparative literature from Indiana University, Bloomington. She published a another collection of southern Appalachian folk tales, Tales of the Cloud Walking Country, in 1958.

Dr. Campbell earned the rank of emeritus professor of Folklore and English at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst at the time of her death.