Bob Thompson, chairman of the festival, coordinated the donation of the Corn Island Storytelling Festival Records, a 30-year collection of operational records, correspondence, audiovisual recordings and images, posters and promotional materials. The collection also includes storytelling publications such as the Tale Trader, press about the festival, and biographical information and photographs of storytellers.
The collection documents and reflects the organization’s mission to celebrate and preserve the art and oral tradition of storytelling from Corn Island’s founding in 1976 by Lee and Joy Pennington to the present day. A former Kentucky poet laureate, Pennington also donated his personal papers and funding for a new archive and gallery space to the university in 2012.
The Corn Island donation “provides unique information about the art and custom of storytelling, regional folklore and oral tradition—topics which are traditionally difficult to document and preserve,” said Carrie Daniels, director of University Archives and Special Collections.
The archives staff is processing the collection so that it can be preserved and made accessible to researchers and the community. Some items will be on display on the first floor of the Ekstrom Library through October in conjunction with National Archives Month and the Corn Island Storytelling Fest, which will be Friday, Oct. 11, in the Humanities Quadrangle in front of the library.
The UofL Archives and Special Collections collects, organizes, preserves, and makes available for research rare and unique materials, particularly relating to the history and cultural heritage of Louisville, Kentucky and the surrounding region.