Jack Guy Film Collection



Jack Guy Film Collection


Presented in collaboration with the North Carolina Folklife Institue, the Jack Guy Collection offers rare access -- through audio recordings, photography, and film -- to an extraordinary music community. Guy's silent film footage features prominent local musicians alongside scenes of everyday life on Beech Mountain: in addition to musicians, subjects include teenagers dancing and having fun, as well as participants in a local outdoor gathering, likely the annual Daniel Boone Wagon Train.

Jack Dana Guy (1928 – 2008) was an entrepreneur and folklorist from Beech Mountain, North Carolina, a community globally renowned for its deep well of Appalachian traditions. In the 1960s he operated Guy’s Folk Toys, a business that allowed dozens of craftspeople from the North Carolina mountains to earn income by making and selling traditional toys and musical instruments. Operating his shop, Guy’s Trading Post, in a log cabin in Beech Creek, Jack also organized and hosted gatherings in which area artists performed and shared old-time, bluegrass, gospel, and country music, ballads, fiddle tunes, and folktales.

Like the folk hero Jack (star of the "Jack Tales" told for generations on Beech Mountain), Guy was a phenomenally resourceful man. Though he had little formal education, he became a well-known businessman who made both a positive impact on the lives of his neighbors and a crucial contribution to the perpetuation of his community’s traditional heritage. He also became the most prolific documentarian of Beech Mountain folklife: Guy's personal archive of audio recordings, photographs, and film presents the heritage of this small but important Appalachian region from the crucial perspective of a native son.

In 2016, the North Carolina Folklife Institute (NCFI) received a donation of more than 100 reel-to-reel tapes, more than 800 photographs, several films, and many other items that had belonged to Jack Guy. This collection offers a unique and intimate glimpse into early- to mid-20th-century life in a truly special cultural community. The original materials will all return home to Watauga County, North Carolina, to be preserved in the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection at Appalachian State University. Digitized copies of the music material will be preserved online here, in the Southern Music Research Center's digital archive.

Brief bios of many of this collection's key artists appear here.

Film footage is silent but vividly reflects the life and culture of Guy's community. For best effect, we suggest playing one of this collection's audio playlists in one tab, while streaming a film in another. 


“Jack Guy Film Collection,” Southern Music Research Center, accessed June 13, 2024, http://southernmusicresearch.org/items/show/1196.