Richard M. Dorson Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Dorson, Richard M., (Richard Mercer), 1916-1981
Richard M. Dorson papers
undated, circa 1939-1956, 1966
0.5 Cubic feet

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: "Item title, Collection title, Collection Identifier, Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan."

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Biographical Note

Richard Mercer Dorson was the author of 24 books about folklore and was responsible for coining the terms "urban legend" and "fakelore." Dorson was born in 1916 in New York City. From 1929 to 1933, he attended Phillips Exeter Academy. He earned his A.B., M.A., in history, and his Ph.D. degree in the History of American Civilization in 1942 from Harvard University. Dorson taught at Michigan State University from 1944 to 1957, at which time he took a position at Indiana University. He taught at Indiana University until his death in 1981.

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Scope and Content

This collection contains galley proofs and drafts of two of Richard M. Dorson's books: Davy Crockett: American Comic Legend (1939) and  Negro Folktales of Michigan (1956).

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections July 2012

Conrad Hall
888 Wilson Road, Room 101
East Lansing , MI, 48824

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Michigan State University. Libraries. Special Collections Division.


  • Galley proofs
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Manuscripts


  • Folklore

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Collection Inventory

Davy Crockett: American Comic Legend 1939 

Box Folder


4028 1-2

Drafts with Revisions 

4028 3


4028 4-6

Proofs - Illustrations 

Box Folder

Draft with Story Boards (Bound) 

4027 1

Crockett Almanacs (photocopies) 1836-1856 

4027 2

Negro Folktales in Michigan 1956 

Box Folder

Drafts with Revision 

4027 3-5
Box Folder

Correspondence - to MSU librarian regarding Dorson's archival materials 1966 

4027 6