Interview with English professor Guy Miles

Type:

Sound

Date:

09/16/1988

Item:

Audio recording

Container:

25

Series:

S1576

Item ID:

C88-30

General Note/Comment

  • One audio cassette. Guy Miles was a professor of English at the University of Florida from 1957 to 1972 and was an authority on southern folklife. He was born in Dresden, Tennessee in 1908 and served in the Air Force during World War II. In 1959, he and his wife Faye bought a farm in Evinston, a small community about fifteen miles south of Gainesville, near Cross Creek. In 1967, one of their neighbors in Evinston, an elderly African American woman named Eliza Washington, asked Guy to set down what she wanted the community to know about her when she died. Guy recorded her and later used her words at her funeral service. Subsequently, Guy and several of his students started recording the "talk" of local people, launching a project that was to last twenty years and generate over 700 reel-to-reel tapes. Miles was interested in recording the folklife of people through their own telling of their experiences, in the way people really said it. He recorded several main "talkers" from 1967 to 1987, providing a wealth of information on the country life of the area past and present, and relating the values, beliefs, and world view of the community through individual expression. In the interview, Miles talks about his research, his audio recordings collection, fieldwork techniques, and his life history. Miles passed away in November of 1988. The Guy Miles Collection (S 1709) consists of 727 reel to reel recordings of Miles' interviews with local residents. They have also been copied on to CDs as well as .wav files, available for public use in the Florida State Archives research room.

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