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Superstition, Custom, and Ritual Magic- Harry M. Hyatt's Approach to the Study of Folklore

Superstition, Custom, and Ritual Magic- Harry M. Hyatt's Approach to the Study of Folklore

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Superstition, Custom, and Ritual Magic- Harry M. Hyatt's Approach to the Study of Folklore
Superstition, Custom, and Ritual Magic- Harry M. Hyatt's Approach to the Study of Folklore

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Superstition, Custom, and Ritual Magic: Harry M. Hyatt's Approach to the Study of Folklore Author(s): Wayland D.

Hand and Frances M. Tally Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of the Folklore Institute, Vol. 16, No. 1/2 (Jan. - Aug., 1979), pp. 28-43 Published by: Indiana University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3813985 . Accessed: 18/01/2012 17:02
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Bellfor supplying muchof thefactualdatauponzlwhich study thiss rests.an exhaustive compilation popular of beliefsand superstitions for the area specified.all of item these AdamsCeuntynarrative traditions-whether legends.and to MichaelE.manyfolkbeliefsareillustrated of with extendednarrative accounts. the purand pose and meaningof the particular covered. Likewise. CUSTOM. Students folklore of usingHarryMiddleton Hyatt's Folk-Lorefrom AdamsCountyIllinois the firsttime soon learnthatthis impressive for collection fromAmerica's heartland notwhatthe titlesuggests. his secretary research and assistantof manyyearn.AnnePogge. is It rather.In the main.SUPERSTITION. is.or customs and rituals were takendown verbatim and are properlyenclosedill quotation marks. in additionto the usual kind of short entries characteristic thegenre. 28 . HYATT'S APPROACH THE STUDYOF FOLKLORE* TO Wayland Handand FrancesM. WhenHyatt begantheAdams County collection theearly1930s in therewereonlya fewpublished collections folklore of fromindividual statesandregions. * Theauthors indebted HarryMiddleton are to Hyatt. customs rituals set folk and are downin greatdetailwithregardto time.andfolklore a discipline notconceived the as was in comprehensive thatit waslateron in the 1930sandthe 1940swhen way folklorebecamean academic FleldirlAmerican universities coland leges. more detailedexamination the Adams A of Countycorpus revealsthat. AND RITUALMAGIC: HARRYM.togetherwith a considerable numberof folk legends and customsand a reasonably surveyof folk medical full beliefs and practices. Tally D.circumstance.Disregarding Allsopp's two-volume Folklore Romantic of Arkansas.

l° second in size for the country only to HyattSs own .5In Hyatts time as now.but the Mississippi collection. and in several others for various states across the country that have been published down to our own time. even though the Marylandvolume does offer a somewhatbroader panoramaof the field of folklore than does Hyatt'sIllinoiscollection. had no objectivereality.2 Hudson's sampling of folklore from Mississippi.9and to secure the final two volumes of the Brown Collectionwhich provided for the first time a referencing medium for American popular beliefs and superstitions.Kentucky Superstitions Daniel Lindsey by Thomas and LucyBlayneyThomas. Hyatt knew and used the standardcollectionsof Bergen which had appeared before the turn of the century. was the practicalworking guide and field manual for Folk-Lore from AdamsCounty Iltinois. in addition to presenting an estimable collection for North Carolina.8which came out soon after the young clergyman had entered the Episcopalianministry. The conception for the title of Hyatt'sown collection apparently came from Whitney and Bullock.done in an earlyoffset printing processfrom the author'smanuscript. In these general collectionsof folklore mentioned above. one would be hard put to formulate what could be regarded as the normal limits and the proper coverageof folklore as a field.7For his work in Negro folklore. One of the earliestcollectionsof popular beliefs and superstitions.954 items published by the Princeton University Press in 1920. a volume of 3. As for collectionsof folk beliefs and superstitions. Hyatt'sdifficultyin selecting a more descriptivetitle is not hard to understand. and had begun to broaden his intellectualbase from comparativereligion to ethnology and anthropologyand finally to folklore. folklore was too often made to stand for just about anything that didn't pass muster as scientificfact.HYATT AND THE STUDY OF FOLKLORE 29 which came out in 1931s1and which was not well known to folklorists.6 and Fogel's excellent PennsylvaniaGermanstudy that was publishedin 1915. Hyatt depended heavilyon Puckett'sFolk Beliefs°f the Southern Negro. Hyatt waslater to appreciate Vance Randolph'smemorableOzark Superstitions ( 1947).which were his sole concern.or lacked a literaryor historical pedigree. and Hyatt did not know it. These were Arthur Huff Fauset'sFolklore from Nova Scotia(1931). there were only three other titlesin print that could serve as models for a general state or regional collection of folklore.was alwaysdifficult to Elndin the book trade.4 The Nova Scotiaand Marylandvolumeswere in Hyatt'slibrary.3 the excellent collectionof folklore from and Marylandwhich the American FolkloreSocietybrought out in 1925.

he was in touch with Fellows of the Royal Anthropological Institute in London. and to perceiveuniversalprinciplesthat underlie all human activity. This involvementwith primitive religion led Hyatt to seek answers to life's most profound questions.These answerscame only in part from his study of comparative religion. Flrst awakenedby Puckett.Zora Neale Hurston. and literary history. Hyatt came to folklore as part of a larger concern with cultural history. he was conversant. During his student days at Oxford. Hyatt made constant use of Frazer'sGolden Bough.30 Wayland Hand andFrances 7 ally D. Tylor's Primitive Culture. further light had to be gained from a study of systemsof magic that operated outside accepted religious creeds. M. Reading. To this end he acquired a select library. reading.and sought the help and guidanceof professionalsin the field whenever he could.continued to grow during this period.and made no pretenses to being one. Taken together. Hyatt'sinterestin Negro folklore.l3 relishing the famous English anthropologist'sbasic formulationsand his trenchantexpository style. and other collectors and writers in the field of black folklore. even among people in enlightened socletles. Hyattwas never an academicfolklorist. for example. Anthropology and ethnology. B.l4and it was from this great comparative work. perhaps more than from any other. were natural corollaries to Hyatt's grounding in comparative religion.1 1 His interest in the study of man sprang from his love of primitive religion and mythologyand from his study of the primalinstinctsthat are manifest the world over. and with manSs preoccupationwith the forces that rule his life. of course.In this regimen of systematicreading. mythology. that he came to think of cultural phenomena as being world-wide in their distribution. and more reading was the prescriptionfor one who had had little formal classroomeducation in these two fields that focus on man at the most fundamental level. Hyatt found in this parallelisma confirmationto the view that basic human .12and with E.but especiallywith an interestin primitiveman. This part of Hyattssscholarlytrainingcame largely from self tuition. even after his epochal Adams County collection had come out and had gone into an expanded second edition thirtyyearslater. these various fields placed at Hyatt's command the necessarytools to study culture in its broadestramiElcations. for example. priIlcipally in the fields of anthropology and ethnology. with systematicreadings in MelvilleHerskovits. Far from being disturbed at the fact that items from modern civilized society were juxtaposed to materialsfound among primitives. Illinoiscollection. withJacobGrimm'sDeutsche Mythologie (1835).

bade him to continuewith his clerical duties. It wasin this filneseriesof field textsand published extracts underthe captionGoblindom"that he read aboutthe workof the devil and witches. of These readingswere augmentedby recourseto the writingsof Montague Summers witchcraft the standard on and worksof Margaret Murray.l6 work of This derivesin part. Hastingst Encyclopaedia Religionand of Ethicswasa constant companion hisreadingl9andit wasthismagnifin icent workof scholarship opened up sourcebooksand formal that bibliographies his reading. use epigraphy.howevers none madea deeper impression uponhimthandid Arthur Bernard Cook's masterful work on Zeus. Of allthe worksmentioned above.particularly regards as religious worship natureshrines trees.before he ever came to the for formalstudyof primitivereligion Hyatthad read ErnstHaeckels Riddle theUniverse. Criticisms against Frazer's workfor itslackof "psychic unity" not beenraisedin Hyatt's Frazer's had day. philology. Among Englishfolklorists. G. Hyattread and admiredEdwinSidney HartlandS he organizedhis categorization folklorealong the and of lines of Charlotte SophiaBurne's Handbook FoZkZore.Earlier.of course.Thiscontroversial workon evolutionaryprinciples development notto deterhimfrompursuirlg of was the ministry." ultimately and from the formulations J.t8Here it was that he saw the weddingof mythology and folklore.he came under the tutelageof a scholar the fieldof Semitic in Studies hada profound who influence on him. During young Hyatt'sbrief Chicago period at the Western TheologicalSeminary.from SabineBaring-Gouldis '4Story Radicals. Hyattknewof the workof PaulCarus otherwriters and associated thiscontroversial with scholar young clergymanl5 . work biology embryology sharpened of a of and that his mindandopenedhisvision.mountain peaks. caves.1917-1918.'County Folk-Lore Series8' the Folk-Lore of Society.and so on.and the manyother toolsin the classicistSs armamentarium bringto bearon everyproblem that a full and meaningfulanalysis. at springs.l7Hyatt possessedsome of the volumesof the .HYA ltl AND THE STUDY OF FOLKLORE 31 feelingsevokesimilar responses allsegments society irrespective in of of differingwaysof life. von Hahnin his of Griechische albanesische und Marchen. spiritualpreceptors.and urgedhim to keep an open mindas he proceeded.and the author'ssuccessful of archaeology. whomhe confessedhis doubts His to aboutthe claimsof religion. Folk-lore in the OZd Testament also laid a stronghold on the whosetheological training pastoral and discipline werenot tooconfining to admitfolkloreto the cultural equationat the levelof religion.as well as aboutother creatures lowermythology. iconographyliterary history.

he thought. but the only intensive study he himself made was on the AbyssinianChristiancommunity.but never did meet Carus. and what had initiallybeen a modestintentionnow broadenedinto a majorundertaking.20 Fired on by . song. Standingat some 2. ambitious publicationprograms. Minnie Hyatt Small. It was at the level of stories and storytellingin his study of family history that Hyatt got into folklore.a fund granting institutionwith far-flung scientific interests. kept him in New York. Business of the Hyatt Foundation.now in his prime years.In 1932 he began to collectintensivelythe folkloreof a single area.but young people and children as well. There wasone other importantexternal factor that led directlyto his study of local culture in Adams County. by waysof life to be encountered among his own fellow Americans.pursued his thesis of the recapitulation of universal principles and of the recurrence of basic human traitseverywhere. young Hyatt had compiled over two thousand pages of family history. HarryHyatt. It was the creationin 1932 of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. The richnessof the materialwas at once apparent. but he was able to make frequent trips to Quincy.32 Wayland Hand and FransesM.His TheChurch Abyssinia. This scholarly enterprise constituted a grand backdropfor the study of comparative religion and mythology. Tallw1 D. His interviewsinvolved not only relativesand townspeople. that led him into anthropologyand folklorein the Elrst place. What he perceived as common cultural manifestationsin various parts of the world must also be repeated. and to train his sister.and among his own beloved kin. it was this same experience with family roots and valuesften exemplifUled verse.500 entries by 1933. Hyatt'sreligious studies involvedreadingsin the great religionsof the world. where he and his own people were well known proved to be an ideal laboratoryfor the testing of his thesis of the local reflection of universal manifestations. By the time he entered divinityschool in 1917.as a matterof fact. Under the auspices of the foundation. of whichwas published in 1928. at least in kind. exemplifies Hyatt'sinterest in things remote from his own American heritage. and an illustrious panel of Fellows from all over the world. lt was Hyatt's study of genealogy and familyhistory. of which he was the director and the moving spirit. to begin work on the Hyattcollection. at the Open Court PublishingCompanyin the Illinois metropolis. the Adams Countycollection was reckoned to be the third largest in the country. and for the investigationof comparativeculture in its broadest outlines. widowed some twenty years earlier. and story that led him as an in older man to collect the folklore of his native town and county. His native Adams County.

whocameto the fenceone dayto offerhimsomecookies but The he wasplowing.EmmaHyattRothgeband by a niece.049entries.particularly witchment cows.despitethe factthatmanystatesby thattimehad set aboutto By populartraditions. however.By this timeshe hadcome to takea reasonedviewof everya witchsuspicions little. HyattDescribing oJC 97-119.This man knewa witchin Melrosejust southof of while Quincy. mantookthecookies. settingan initialgoalof collecttheirrespective collection the 4C000 entries. One womanwho disavowedknowingany old-time itemsin responseto beliefsat all.Minnie astonished was was beinga witch who. from AdamsCountyIllinois.who knewall tablesto her house. to the thing.becauseby then Minniehad Things workedout all right7 a informant without reference an madea pointof notvisiting unknown of her froma friend.Frances numberof 10. by the newand important now wascomingto viewweekbyweek. a family To atthe number peoplewhowerethoughtto be witches.buttoldherto avoid Minnie touchwithsomemoreGerman in a certainone who couldcauseher harm. Hyattsister.perhapsturn her into a cat.andhadlearned discount rampant In a month'stime the AdamsCountycollectionhad grownto two hundreditems.or thereabouts. burnedthemsoasnotto vegetablepeddleralso put spell.This German fall under the witchis women.HYA1T AND THE STUDY OF FOLKLORE 33 material that and the expanding collection.thecollectors. wouldgo wellbeyondcollections and countryand Whitney BulGerman of Fogelfor the Pennsylvania Minniebegan by settingdown folk beliefs and lock for Maryland. compilethe incredible could eventually activityin and Minnie Hyatt Small'saccountof the collectirlg readsalmost aroundQuincybetween1932and 1934.Thiswitchreferred to anotherwomansuspected friend. disappointfor likea diary** Incentive the venturewasHarryHyatt's produced the stateof for mentthattherehadbeenno bookof folklore Illinois. from her motherand grandmother.At visita womanwho had livedon a plantation a timeshe hadrecorded hundreditems The next the end of a week's week she collectedfrom an old Germanwomanwho broughtvegehusband.in reality. pleaseher of foot to keep from fallingvictimto informants carrieda rabbit's she hoodoo. and from this woman's that had to do with the bethose kindsof witchstories. traditions had remembered she maid andthen she wentto fromher German Soonshe wascollecting duringthe CivilWar.Hyattand Smallwouldsurpass Kentucky of and of superstitions theThomases. found herselfrecitingtwenty-two Her * See "Letter MinnieHyattSmallto HarryM. Work Folklore on ."pp. joinedbyanother Rothgeb.

effect. In these efforts she Eastand the South. Wayland 34 Thus it went with the which Mrs. and which grew The passion for the work so as to be off club and social activities Sunday found herself breaking Even Minnie in her newly-found work.Finally. wasto shun no place the lateron in his researchesin of blackfolklore for it would be fruitful as a source at all if he thought his projectedHoodoowork. who. to members of her own time and Minnie right off. Hand and Frances M.through be not only a treasure trove of German to who proved elderly an blackwoman. comprises some 840 square with each new experierlce. materialcame Quincy miles in all. but was instrumental woman was to beliefs and folk This circle of friends.Tally D. porches in different parts afternoons notes on front be quently seen taking down of the poorer parts of she made her way to some town. Harry Hyatt has miles additional and came from adventure. and Minnie returned fifty contribute new items woman's repertoire before the old lady to collect much of this again opened up many attendanceat the funeral sick took and died.some fifteen new to the south and east of Quincy. Payson up-river. Minniewasable to meet beliefs some friends. for had a Referralscame in the most with an Irish woman who put Mrs. Small in contact Along with the longer items in example. community. For trips Rothgeb. and one occasion blacksmithwho was fabled Broadway to recordthe sayings of the on notorious establishment she had heard Once she even went to a from a woman there that collectsome unusual itemswas steadfastlysupported by Harry. unusualways.Dump City and Hog fishermen?s her. and to Coatsburg. She collected in shop to werenot out of bounds for in a blacksmith's saton an old wagonwheel on for his stories. brought in Adams Countycollection although the bulk of the county. in introducing superstitions. Frances she places was occasionally publictransportationfacilities." which are often the collection .especby trips Out-of-town were made made of collecting trips to Melrose and Mention is the ially railroad. Small could frewere given over to collecting. to able spend more time and Mrs. contacts among the black new and Sailors Home with good She collected at the Soldiers to outlying Washington Park. valuableitems. A trip to Bay Island. Small had shared. provided a whole northeast. of stories. men. that said in from all parts of the and environs. among bench sitters in also taken by her niece.An old blackwoman. Eventually of by unaccompaniedwoto places not ordinarilyfrequented and of Quincy town. Minnie's people of Quincy. about. Lane in the backwatersections shacks. rich there is a particularly stockin tradelabeled "Negro"or "German.

"22 The successof the collectingventure of the Hyattswould not have been possible without the good will which the Hyatt family enjoyed through the reputation and wide circle of friends of Samuel Seger Hyatt ( 1855-1924). In due course the magic number had risen to 10.At one time he served on the city police with liberalcauses. 1917-1924. He solicited successfullyin stores. The basicstockwas augmented by many a choice item which he continued to collect in his own comings and goings about Quincyon his frequent trips back home from New York.commuting backand forth to Quincy on weekends. but found that there were often too many distractions when groups of people would gather around on the corner to listen. public buildings.000 additionalitems was established. but Hyatt still continued to praise her work."These entries came from this first contact. XVI). sold insurance. and churches. I (hereafter abbreviatedas FACI). Young Harry himself served as a deputy police officer one summer. vol. and finally went into politics. sensing the wealth of folklore around him. a goal of 1.HYATT AND THE STUDY OF FOLKLORE 35 good number marked "Irish. many of the informants had died. Louis. an experience which gave him his first opportu- . After the magic number had been reached. and had also represented his fellow townsmen in Quincy in various municipaland civiccapacities.000 items. This materialincluded. sire of the Hyattclan. This process was repeated at the urging of Harry until 8. but which he did not work into the Adams County collection until he started to classifythe materialas the great compendium began to take shape. of course. When the company later changed hands he returned to Quincy.Samuel Hyatt'sidentiElcation the common people gave him a broad constituency and won him countless friends. By the time MinnieSmallhad collected the first 4.000 items. Hyattdecided to bring out an enlarged second edition. The elder Hyatt had worked long years for a tobaccofirm in St. and even on the streets. Recently he summed up her contribution with some heartfeltand nostalgicwords:"Shewas the greatestassistant I ever had.2l Minnie Hyatt Small's help in bringing out the Adams County collection is duly acknowledgedin the preface to FACI I (p. It was during a sustained collecting trip in the northern part of Adams County after the appearanceof Folk-LoretromAdams CountyIllinois. and with commission. that. and few remained when the Adams County collection was actually published in 1935. He served in the Illinois legislature for a seven-year period. numerous items that Harry had collected before ever enlisting the help of his sisters.000 items were in hand.

and the section on "Protection Against Witches" (pp. It is torn down now and the MadisonSchool is on the grounds.23 hese ghostly T transactionsoften occupy from a third to a half of a page. Hand and Frances M.but frequent headings within the text itself made the second edition easier to use. 15467. A few representativeillustrationsfrom FACI II show how faithfully these requirements of legend narrative for credibility are met: 15619. "I lived in a house at Twenty-Sixth and Maineyearsago. and the use of the term embryo for an unborn babyin the matter of sex determinationmust derive from his thinkingin the dayswhen he read the great embryologist Haeckel. Hyatt gave the ethnic backgroundof the informant. The introduction of technical words in the headings of FACIII are of Hyatt'sown doing.. His treatment of the "WitchWreath"(pp.birth. 15594.. 15476. Since Negroes had been completely assimilatedin that part of Illinois.". the scholar. to be sure.infancy. there is no Negro dialect as such in the entries.". as we have said. 873-918) is a classic example of the use of the backgroundand detail necessaryto present legerlds in a matter-of-factand believable way. That house was haunted.. 855-873). In one instance.. The success of Folk-Lorefrom Adams County Illinoiswas immediate. "My husband and his first wife were living in a haunted house out near Plainville. and a few in FACII run to a full page... She had some money and had buried it in the cellar. and Hyatt almost at once made plans for a revised and an enlarged edition.childhood... The order and classiElcation the new edition of remainedessentiallyintact. and if the item has special interest. is exhaustive. These are scholarlyflourishes. twenty-seven individualstatementswere combinedinto a single treatment. numerous entries under "Spirits" in realitymore legends than folk beliefs per are se.without refining the language in any way.. Items with both positive and negativeaspectswerejoined into single entries. and other economiesof presentationwere effected. The most notableenlargements in FACIII are made in areas that interested Hyattin an intimateand personalway.Wherehe could. "Years ago up on Honey Creek out in the woods near Mendon an old woman died. One can see Harry MiddletonHyatt. Likewise. for example.at his best in the treatmentof witchcraftnear the end of the volume.36 WaylandD. because these accounts are full of the detail required by legend to addressthe need for historicaland geographicalfixity.notablyin sectionson witchcraftand magic. and the like. he was at pains to quote it verbatim. Tally nity as a young man to come into contact with people whose lives were lived somewhat on the margins of society.for example. folk medicine. '4Wehad a friend that lived down in South .".

not tripsand collecting Small's Hyatt with in mentioned connection Minnie are forays.Melrose. the realmof the accounts narrative he elements."We twenty nearQuincy Bottom yearsago (1903) hereon a farmin the NorthBottomaboutthirty-five near Meyer.as well as many These Riverin Missouri. Dozens of small towns.."Iremember well."About andClayton) yearsago (1885)out nearMillCreekBridgean old womanlivedon a hill. townsin adjoiningIllinoiscountiesare mentioned.HYATT AND THE STUDY OF FOLKLORE 37 werelivingup yearsago.midday. .. cockcrow. thespecial acts choicesrangedbetweenmidnight.buttheywere the throughout wholebodyof loredealing to be seenmoreparticularly withthe humanbodyand folk medicine." spreadof the that It is in theselongeraccounts the geographical Adams Countycollectionis best seen.takentogether.Magicand ritualwere merelyextensionsof these two basic couldbe discerned objects and principles magical forms. properly entriesare always out-of-state to Hyattwas attracted these AdamsCountylegendsand other and dealingwithdeath. and everyonethoughtshe could put a spellon you.La Grange. of vividcounterparts secularmagic. . and so forth..15433. Barry.The witchstoriesoften exhibitthis will for sameconcern detail.Numerous Kingston.Fordifferent out timesof daytocarry ritual of instance. acrossthe Mississippi townsand settlements indicated. Marblehead. took It wasclearto Hyattas the greatAdamsCountycollection that miracleand magic.Twoexamples sufficeto showtheneedfor this a propersettingand moodfor the tale:16190.. from springing in the wholecorpusof folklore It wasin this worldof magicand fantasythat he cameto know. suchasFriday..Plainville. Religious conjury.were miracles. CampPoint Fiftyyearsago (1889)thereweretwo farmers(between fifty livingrightcloseto eachother. .Meyer.. was and magical supernatural theyinvolved deadbecause magic.Kinderhook. Liberty. and of seenin the beliefsandcustoms conception birth.Amongthesesm-all Fall ing: Mendon. .ghostlore. sundown.and magical folkbeliefandcustom. foundin entriesthemselves out-of-town occasional Harry's acas a wayof providinga settingfor legendsand other narrative one and towns settlements notesthe followcounts.was the one intrinsic shape elementthat set folk beliefand customapartfrom all otherkindsof folklore.". mustobserve..and to likewiseattracted the storiesdealingwith witchcraft.16203. or dawn.. or kindsof customary ritual therewereimportant Likewise. Creek.". feaststhattheofficiant daysandreligious .Ursa.Sacredmagicwasvisiblein at and and animal planthusbandry.". couldbe notedalsoin theweather seedtimeand harvest.for acts.

closets.As a manof the cloth. in magical ritualswiththe sameassurance rosaries.pieces earth.mounds. Perhapsthe greatestcontribution Hyatt'scollectingand reof search. be employed owl. bywayof contrast.streams.prayer books.or. Day.signsof the zodiac. attics. clockwise counter-clockwise.AllHallows.Side of of bysidewiththesemagical objects thebeliever's in arsenal. Whether magical the officein question shouldbe carriedout on a fastingstomach. caves. Hand and Frances Mt Tally GoodFriday.or sticks wood.ReverendHyattwas quickto sense also the immanent powerof natural objects. on onomastic or magic. Apotropaic measures combat to ghosts. crucial For exertions personseeking the helpmustbein properphysical shapeandin therightframe mindto of enlistoutsidepowers. Easter.no less thanunderthresholds.mayinvolve or of for objects madeof iron. amidsexualabstinence. by withor drawalto a sequestered spot all of these things were part of the magicalequation. thecreatures lowermythologys example.Success a magical of of undertaking mightreston secrecy silence.A cast feather from a birdbuzzard. or mighthingeon the recitation of verbalcharms.Placeand orientation were important was the as distinction betweenactsinvolving movement towardthe left or right. May and Phases the moon. magpie.and areasunder porches. the Christian cross.or a knotsloughed froma grizzled areused oak. or directionsforwardor backward. ratherthan morefrequently usedparts thehouse.St. thelike.24 the systematic and cataloguing the natural man-made of and objects employed magical to ends. stones.andotherholyutensils likewise be are to found. or Numinous places should be sought out: crossroads.38 WaylandD. and other man-madereligiousamulets.boundaries.Shinypebbles foundin the brook.particularly the Hoodoovolumes.John'sEve.knowledgeable the miracles sacredobjects in and of the church.In thesecustomary observances and in these ritualacts one discernsa curioussyncretism of sacredand profaneelements. may along withthe mostneatlyembroidered scapularies prayer and cloths. the weather of and itselfusually figuredin thesecalculations.however. or whatever-similarly. churchyards. as mezuzahs. to realize the sametimehowcomplete and at had been the blendingof sacredmiracleand profanemagicwithin partsof the Christian community. cemeteries.a substance venerated fromheathenantiquity to thepresent orsimple day.Indoorsone spokeof cellars. witches. waterand courses.unspoiled nature's in bosom fromthedawnof time. bridges. This greatworkrevealsfor the filrst time the pervasiveness of magic magical and thinking representative in segments blackAmerof . however.is the notable in enlargementof the medical pharmacopeia.

and wouldultimately collectblackfolkloreall the wayto the Gulf. fromthe courseof his scholarly and development career and sincetheappearance thefirsteditionof theAdams of County work. whichinvolved almost a dozendifferhalf ent collecting tripsbetween1936and 1940. if theywentto theheart and and of human fear and apprehension. thisconnection. In however.Rather. in it mustbe affirmedthatthe basisfor Hyatt's futureworkhadbeen laid.Hereit wasthathe and his fellowcollectors workedamongthe descendants about2. less than to elation and the no exaltationof the human spirit.the Newbell Niles PuckettCollection Ohio PopularBeliefsand Superstitions. WhenHarryMiddleton Hyattvisitedthe Centerfor the Studyof Comparative Folklore UCLAin 1973therewasampletimeto talk at withhimaboutthe AdamsCounty collection abouthis interestin and popularbeliefsand superstitions. They piquedhis interest onlyif theyinvolved magic symbolism.Hyatt's influence theseongoingstudies on over the pastfortyyearshas been great. He of wanted producefor America bodyof primitive to a thoughtandmagic that could comparewith materials this kind. Important note in thisregardis the factthatcollateral to workin the fieldof popular beliefsandsuperstitions thiscountry in showsthat the beliefin magicis sharedin varying waysby peoplefromall ethnic backgrounds.HYATT AND THE STUDY OF FOLKLORE 39 ica.The AdamsCountycollection as wellas the moreambitious Hoodooventurehavebeenlogicalpartsof one grandand consistent effort.andwiththe richgarnerings Negro of folklorein Illinoisas a basisfor moreintensivepenetration the into field? Hyatt began to collect Negro folklore in New Jersey and elsewhere alongthe easternseaboard.is treatedelsewhere the in pagesof thisspecial issueof theJournal. He frequentlyremarked.the answer clearas to whythe collecting reasearch the Hoodoo is and for volumesbecame the consllmingpreoccupation Hyatt'slife.willput the Negrocomponent in its properperspective providethe basefor interracial and studiesin folkcustomandritual. Soonhe wouldventurefarther south."I'mnot interested the commonstuff!"Fromthis mentaland spiritual in perspective. wassoon apparent he cared It that littlefor the commonrun of superstitions.Thisexciting venture. in Withthisthoughtin mind.but elsewhere the world. andthe courseset. found not only in of differentpartsof Europe. the greatcollections Of nowbeingedited.000 of . of completewithan ethnicfindinglist. it is important notethatthe staging to groundfor theseextensive collecting tripsof the late 1930sand up untilthe outbreak WorldWarII of wasnot locatedin anyteemingblackmetropolis the East.in a ruralcountyin Illinois.

magic and ritualare crucialprimitivecomponents that have persistedto our own time. custom.Hyattwas right in believing. M. laboriouslycompiled by MichaelEdwardBell and FrancesM. Belief. most of the hoodoo and blackmagicappearsto havecome from Quincy itself. Tally.In his visionto collectand record these basichuman documentsbefore their relevanceto present-dayAmericanculture was recognized. It is too difficult to trace out the individual threads of black folklore held in common by Hyatt's Negro informants in Adams County and his blackcontacts in the South. Far from being a large city. and legend are fields to which Harry MiddletonHyatt was to devote a scholarlylifetime.California . begun by Harry Hyatt himself in the 1930s. even in the 1930s with its somewhat fewer than 40. of course.The proposed index of FACI II by Frances Tally. As a prolegomenon to the great Hoodoo work. Harry MiddletonHyatt proved to be decades ahead of his time as a scholar and social thinker. but one can see a striking replicationof AdamsCountymaterialin the more intricateand diffuse five-volumeHoodoo work. Universitzy California of LosAngeles.As indicated in the title of this article. and where resort to clandestinewaysof life and even to criminalactivitywas more likely. Quincy.and will make availableample materials for the study of black folklore in both rural and urban Americansettings. it is interesting to note that whereas considerableghostlore and witchcraftin the Adams County collection was gathered in small towns and settlements throughout the county. neverthless exemplified some of the social complexity and malaise found in larger urban centers in Illinois and elsewhere in America.40 Wayland Hand andFrances Tally D. it will be possibleto confirm these impressions. Negroes who had found their way to Quincy and other partsof Adams Countyafter the CivilWar.and as an indispensablecompanion piece for the study of black folklore in the United States.Folk-Lore Adams from County Illinois in its own right is a major source book for the general study of American popularbeliefs and superstitionsin the United States. is complete.000 inhabitants. ritual. will open up both worksfor closer scrutiny.magic. When the index to Hoodoo. that a more intricate system of belief and magic could be found in urban settings where the pressures of life were more intense. From this point of view.

1972) and Fauset.Brown of North CarolinaFolklore. Sackett and William E. 18 (New York: American Folklore Society. New York: Dover of Publications. of l Frederick William Allsopp. New York: Emelyn ElizabethGardner.A.Folk-Lore from Maryland. 1910-1940. 1952-1964). 1925).BootsS Britches(1939. (New York: The Grolier from Nova Scotia.A Treasury Georgia kept pretty much to the early models of Whitney-Bullock Co. North Carolina: Duke University. Koch. Memoirs of the American Superstitions. Allen. 1977).Memoirs of the American Folklore Society. Illinois:John W. 7 (Boston and New York.1962). Memoirs of the 2 Arthur Huff Fauset. Current FolkloreSociety.7 vols. 1957).The Georgiacollectionwasmade under W. Specimens Mississippi graphed (Ann Arbor. Body. Folklore(Atlanta: Cherokee Publishing of Waller. was to dwarf efforts made in other states. New York(Ann Arbor. 6 Fanny D. 1963). ence.: University of Michigan Schoharie Illinois S Press. of 3 Arthur Palmer Hudson. 1931). Thompson's anthology of New York State folklore. emphasizes the Collection folklore of materialculture. 1936). 1937). 1928). Legends Loreof Southern (Carbondale:Southern Illinois University.. 1899). the American Folklore Society. and Horace Beck'sFolklore Maine(Philadelphia: Lippincott.FolklorefromIowa.auspicesin the 1940s. Stout. Oregon: University of Oregon. Mich. 1961). reprint ed.. Folklore Romantic Society. mimeoFolk-Lore. and was edited by a staff of nationally known scholars. In Harold W. Memoirsof 5 Collectionsfrom Iowa:EarlJ. Treatment of the folklore was in the best scholarlytraditionsof the emerging discipline of folklore in the United States. . 24 (New York: The American Folklore Society.: Edwards Brothers. 4 Annie Weston Whitney and Caroline Canfield Bullock. 1896) and PlantandAnimal Lore. and Georgia:Ronald G. The most recent attemptat a regional surveyis Oregon Suzi Jones (Eugene. Folklore American Folklore Society. 1931). ca. Memoirs of the American Folklore Society.Folklorefrom Hills. following recent trends in American folklife studies. Killionand CharlesT. (Durham.The multivolumeFrankC. Mich. Kansas: Samuel J. 29 (New York: American Folklore the Society. which. vols.P.This big set represents thirty years of collecting.HYA lwl AND THE STUDY OF FOLKLORE 41 NOTES 2 Arkansas. Bergen. an attempt was made to reach a wide popular audiby Folklore.4 (Boston and New York. KansasFolklore(Lincoln: University of NebraskaPress.

8 Newbell Niles Puckett. of 1875-1878. Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation(New York:Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation.TheFolk-Lore theOld Testament: in Studies in Comparative Religion Legend.Folk-Lore Adams from County Illirzois. 1935). This rare collection has come to us in Paul Ernst's two-volume edition (Munich and Berlin: G. Sabine Baring-Gouldadapted von Hahn'searly classificationof folktale types as an appendix to WilliamHenderson'sFolk-Lore theNorthern of Counties of Englandand theBorders(London: Longmans..3rd ed. of PhilosophyReligion Art and Custom. 10 Popular BeliefsandSuperstitionsfiom NorthCarolina. (London: Macmillanand and Co. 18 Arthur Bernard Cook. 1908-1926). 2 (London: J. vols.AmericanaGermanica 18 (Philadelphia:AmericanaGermanica Press. 6-7 of the FrankC. 1871). constituting vols. in 5 (Cambridge:The University Press. vols. Clark. 1918). 1880-1888)..3 vols. 1911-1915). Hand. Muller. 1866).42 Wayland Hand cmdFrances Tally D.>Memoirs of the Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation (Quincy Ill. 17 J G.Zeus:A Study Ancient in Religion. 1947).Rootwork. 1914-1940). 12 Hyatt knew Grimm'sgreat work in the translationof James Steven Stallybrass.1961-1964). M. and of new enl.Hoodoo ConjurationWitchcraft . von Hahn. 14 James George Frazer. ed. 11 Harry Middleton Hyatt. 7 Edwin MillerFogel. 20 Folk-Lore from AdamsCounty Illinois. (Londc)n: Macmillanand Co. 1926). 15 James George Frazer.: . Murray. (Durham. TheHandbook Folklore. 2 vols. BrownCollection NorthCarolina of Folklore. 21 HarryMiddletonHyatt.. This has since been reprinted in paperback as Ozark Magic. Encyclopaedia Religionand Ethics. T. 13 vols. FolkBeliefsof the Southern Negro (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 1914). Green & Co. 19 James Hastings. of (Edinburgh: T.. 1918). PrimativeCulture: Researchesinto the Development Mythology.North Carolina:Duke University. ed. 1864). 9 Vance Randolph. 2nd ed. Engelmann. ed. OzarkSuperstitions (New York: Columbia University Press. Law. 16 CharlotteSophia Burne.. Bell and Sons. 12 vols. 3 vols. rev.Belaefs Superstitions thePennsylvania and of Germans. (London: Sedgwick & Jackson. p. 1918). 13 Edward Burnett Tylor. Griechische albanesische und Marchen(Leipzig: W. made from 4 the 4th ed. 940. 5 vols. WaylandD. (London: G.TheGolden Bough.

23 24 . Biographical information on Hyatt and the Adams County collection appears in cerwork. for in Hyatt'sown mind. In FACI I the caption is "Spiritsand Ghosts. Bourke'sstandardmodern work on Scatologic Ritesof AIINations(Washington.This one must take almostas a matter tain partsof the bigHoodoo of course. 22 With characteristicgenerosity.and this set The Hoodoo provides a significant updating of Christian Franz Paullini'sHeilsame Dreck-Apotheke (Frankfurt: Friederich Knochens.C. 1891). 1696).HYATT AND THE STUDY OF FOLKLORE 43 Alma Egan Hyatt Foundation. 1970-1978).and explicating the big corpus of black American folklore as a doctoral dissertationat Indiana UniverSity. no less than constitutingan appendage toJohn G.We follow Hyattin using from the abbreviationFACI I and FACI II in referring to Folk-Lore AdamsCounty Illinois. Lowdermilk and Co. intensive work among the blacksin the East and South was really nothing but a continuation of the work begun yearsearlierin Adams County. Illinois. 1:XIV.: W. Hyatt has also made laudatoryreferences to the workand devotion of Anne Pogge who workedat his side . during the long and demanding workon Hoodoo Similarsentimentsof appreciationhave been expressed for the workof MichaelEdwardBell in completing the index to Hoodoo.D." volumes are unusuallystrong in scatology.. H.

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