Beech Mountain, NC: Jack Guy Photo Collection

Title

Beech Mountain, NC: Jack Guy Photo Collection

Description

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. 

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.

Photos from the Jack Guy collection are available below. Be sure also to explore Guy's film collection and extensive audio collection, also available on this site.
 
Brief bios of many of this collection's key artists appear here. If you can help us identify any of the unidentified individuals in these photos, recordings, or films -- or if you have corrections or additions to any of our descriptions -- please contact burgin@southernmusicresearch.org. 

Collection Items

Jack Guy
Jack Guy (1928-2008) of Beech Mountain, North Carolina.

Unidentified Man with Banjo and Gun
Unidentified man with banjo and gun.

John Columbus Presnell and Edgar Valentine "Val" Presnell
John Columbus Presnell (1862-1918) with his son, Edgar Valentine "Val" Presnell (1893 - ?) of George's Gap, Vilas, North Carolina.

Stamped on back: "Leonard Presnell Photo Studio, Beech Creek, NC."

Rosa Violet Harmon Hicks
Rosa Violet Harmon Hicks with banjo, c. 1931.

A comment from Flickr user typesticker offers this information: “It is Rosa Violet Harmon Hicks, at the Nathan Hicks home, at about the time that she and Leonard Ray Hicks married. The house burned to…

Rosa Violet Harmon Hicks (2)
Rosa Violet Harmon Hicks with banjo, c. 1931.

A comment from Flickr user typesticker offers this information: “It is Rosa Violet Harmon Hicks, at the Nathan Hicks home, at about the time that she and Leonard Ray Hicks married. The house burned to…

Jack Guy and Tab Ward (13 photos)
Jack Guy and Tab Ward at Beech Creek, North Carolina; photo shoot for record jacket.

Tab Ward and Buna Hicks
Tab Ward and Buna Hicks, c. March 1965.

Women Dancing While Buna Hicks Fiddles
Women dancing while Buna Hicks fiddles, c. April 1965.

Tab Ward
Tab Ward plays banjo; unidentified man observes.

Tab Ward In Front Of His House, Beech Mountain
Tab Ward in front of his house, Beech Mountain, North Carolina.

Stanley Hicks
Stanley Hicks with banjo

Tab Ward and Unidentified Banjo Player
Tab Ward playing fiddle with unidentified banjo player.

Buna Hicks with Guitar
Buna Hicks with guitar, August 1966.

Buna Hicks with Fiddle
Buna Hicks with fiddle, August 1966.

Tab Ward at Various Locations on his Homeplace (5 Photos)
Tab Ward at various places on his homeplace, Beech Mountain, c. August 1966.

Dancers at Jack Guy's Store (1)
Unidentified dancers at Jack Guy's store.

Dancers at Jack Guy's Store (2)
Unidentified dancers at Jack Guy's store.

Dancers at Jack Guy's Store (3)
Unidentified dancers at Jack Guy's store.

Dancers at Jack Guy's Store (4)
Unidentified dancers at Jack Guy's store.

Audience Members at Jack Guy's Store (1)
Audience members at Jack Guy's store.
View all 94 items

Collection Tree