Carlton Haney: A Life and Legacy in Bluegrass and Country Music

Carlton Haney: A Life and Legacy in Bluegrass and Country Music is now on display in the Belk Library 4th Floor Atrium. The exhibit features photographs, documents, posters, and programs from the collection of Carlton Haney.

Carlton Haney (September 19, 1928, Reidsville,   Carolina- March 16, 2011, Greensboro, North Carolina) was a noted festival organizer, promoter, and manager in the fields of Bluegrass and Country music. Nicknamed “The P. T. Barnum of Country Music,” Haney provided the prototype for modern Bluegrass music festivals and worked with many of the popular Country artists of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Haney was a driving force in Bluegrass and Country music and left a legacy remembered by many who attended his festivals and shows. As evidenced by his business card, Carlton Haney was a key player in the music industry, so much so that he barely needed an introduction—“Carlton Haney: ‘Nuff Said.”

Poster for the 1965 Fincastle Blue Grass Festival, the first multi-day bluegrass festival, from AC.815: Carlton and Charles Haney Papers. The collection was donated by Carlton's brother, Charles, and daughter, Bonnie.

Under Construction: Carlton Haney Exhibit

Currently under construction is an exhibit on Bluegrass and Country music promoter Carlton Haney. Featured items will include photographs and posters from Haney's "Blue Grass Music" festivals at Fincastle, Virginia and Camp Springs, North Carolina. The exhibit will also feature promotional materials from Country Music events presented by Haney as well as acts booked by Haney including Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, Reno and Smiley, and Merle Haggard. This page will be updated when the exhibit is completed and on display in the 4th floor atrium of the Belk Library.

Photograph of Bill Monroe and bass player Tommy Franks from AC.815: Carlton and Charles Haney Papers. Thanks to Jordan Laney for her detective work to identify Tommy Franks.

Roan Mountain Hilltoppers

The Roan Mountain Hilltoppers were featured in an earlier post highlighting the photographs of Bill and Joe Birchfield contained in AC.850: Jack Jeffers Photography Collection and AC.877: The Plow (Periodical) Collection. One of the most respected and revered groups in the history of Appalachian string bands, the Hilltoppers continue to gain worldwide attention for their style of old time dance music. In honor of Bill Birchfield, who recently passed away at age 69, we feature some rarely seen footage of the Hilltoppers from AC.862: Joseph R. Murphy Audiovisual Recordings and Papers. The Birchfields-- Joe on fiddle, Bill on guitar, Creed on banjo, and Janice on washtub bass-- were captured by Murphy's camera while playing at the Mountain City Fiddlers Convention, August 31, 1985. Murphy filmed the Hilltoppers in the midst of shooting his documentary Doc and Merle, a portrait of the family and music of Doc and Merle Watson.

You can watch the Hilltoppers at Mountain City Fiddlers Convention on our Digital Collections page:

For the digital collections page with details on the recording:

Katuah Journal

Katuah Journal (1983-1993) was a quarterly publication devoted to the bioregion of former Cherokee land in Appalachia. AC.870: Katuah Journal Records cover the production history of Katuah Journal through the entire decade of its publication. Contained within the records are correspondence, publication information, article submissions, and financial information. The editorial layouts for issues 12 through 39 are included as are a full run of the Journal spanning nearly a decade. Also included are photographs of events related to the Journal and a film on the publication.

This image is of a maypole celebration held in Transylvania County, North Carolina in 1991, one of the many Katuah gatherings captured on film and preserved within AC.870: Katuah Journal Records.


Carlton Haney

Carlton Haney (September 19,1928, Reidsville, Carolina- March 16, 2011, Greensboro, North Carolina) was a noted festival organizer, promoter, and manager in the fields of Bluegrass and Country music. Haney began his career booking and promoting shows for Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys from 1953 through 1955. He managed bluegrass act Reno and Smiley from 1956 until 1965 and collaborated on several songs with the group including "Jimmy Caught the Dickens (For Pushing Ernest in the Tubb)" which reached number 27 on the Country Charts in 1961. From 1956 through 1964 he produced the New Dominion Barn Dance which broadcast on WRVA-AM, Richmond, Virginia.

In 1965, Haney organized The Blue Grass Festival held at Fincastle, Virginia on Labor Day weekend, September 3-5. The event was the first multi-day festival dedicated to Bluegrass music. Among the performers at the festival were Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys, Clyde Moody, Don Reno and the Tennessee Cut-Ups, Red Smiley and the Bluegrass Cut-Ups, The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Mac Wiseman, and Doc Watson. A highlight of the event was a program called The Story of Bluegrass which reunited Bill Monroe with his former sidemen to reenact his musical career. The festival continued at Fincastle in 1966, then at Berryville, Virginia in 1967 and 1968, before moving to Camp Springs, North Carolina in 1969. Haney went on organize and promote festivals at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Escoheag, Rhode Island. In addition to the Labor Day Festival, Haney founded the Newgrass Music Festival at Camp Springs in 1972.

Throughout his career Haney both worked with and managed a number of influential Country and Bluegrass artists including Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, The Osborne Brothers, Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, Ray Price, Kitty Wells, and Norma Jean. He appears as an emcee on two live Merle Haggard albums, Okie From Muskogee (1969) and The Fightin' Side of Me (1970), as well as performing the recitation portion of Conway Twitty's "Papa Sing A Song For Me" (1969). Haney published two magazines for Bluegrass enthusiasts Muleskinner News (founded 1969) and Grassound (1974). His 1971 Labor Day Festival at Camp Springs was captured in the 1971 film Bluegrass Country Soul, directed by Albert Ihde. He was presented the International Bluegrass Music Association's Award of Merit in 1990 and was inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 1998. During his later years Haney stepped away from the music business and ran The Bluegrass Two Market in Reidsville, North Carolina.

Photographs and biographical information from AC.815: Charles and Carlton Haney Papers. The collection was donated by Charles Haney, Carlton's brother and the person who first introduced Carlton to Country and Bluegrass music. Top left: Carlton picking strings while Charles frets a chord,  top right: Charles Haney and Merle Haggard, bottom: Carlton Haney at the first Fincastle Festival, 1965.

Snow From Not So Long Ago

In honor of the snowy day outside here in Boone, we are featuring selected photographs from the Great Blizzard of '93, a weather event that caused record cold temperatures in the southeast and in the central and southern Appalachians.  The photographs are from the Jefferson Post's coverage of the event in Ashe County, North Carolina. As copied from a report from the National Climatic Data Center here are some snowfall totals in several Appalachian locations: 56 inches on Mount LeConte, TN, 50 inches on Mount Mitchell, NC (14-foot drifts), 44 inches in Snowshoe, WV,  36 inches in Latrobe, PA (10-foot drifts), 30 inches in Beckley, WV, 25 inches in Pittsburgh, PA, 24 inches in Mountain City, GA, 20 inches in Chattanooga, TN, 19 inches in Asheville, NC, 17 inches near Birmingham, AL (6-foot drifts), and 16 inches in Roanoke, VA.

Images from AC.1097: Jefferson Post Records.

In A Nutshell

The two-year grant project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to processthe backlog of the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection was successfully completed last month. Running from September 2012 to November 2014, the grant provided funding for a full-time processing assistant and for the purchase of archival supplies. The processing was completed by Project Archives Assistant Trevor McKenzie (the grant-funded position) and Processing Assistant Anita Elliott under the direction of Processing Archivist Cynthia Harbeson, who served as project manager.

As a result of this project, a total of 1,917.14 linear feet of previously unprocessed, and therefore inaccessible, materials were processed. This total was 707.14 linear feet (or 58%) more than the 1,210 linear feet outlined in the grant proposal. The project also resulted in the creation of 456 new finding aids (or guides to the collections) and the revision and enhancement of finding aids for an additional 75 selected collections. These finding aids are all online and searchable through our Special Collections website. The collections themselves are available for use in the Dougherty Reading Room, located on the 4th floor in Special Collections.

The image seen here is from AC.806: Charles Town (West Virginia) in a Nutshell, 1900. It was one of the collections processed through the grant project. Text by Cyndi Harbeson.

The Two [West] Virginias

From the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, the State of Virginia existed as two separate entities: the Confederate allied government in Richmond and the Union allied government in Wheeling. Following the Second Wheeling Convention in July 1863, the 48 northwestern counties of the Old Dominion formed the State of West Virginia. Despite this political shift, new lines drawn on the map changed little of the personal loyalties which existed from township to township, household to household. Above is a roll of West Virginians who continued to serve the Confederate cause despite the fact that their homes were once again within the borders of the United States. 

Many of the soldiers listed on this Roll of Honor died on familiar soil in the vicinities of White Sulphur Springs, Scary, and Guyandotte. The latter locale was the only town on the Ohio River to vote for secession and formed a strong opposition to their Union neighbors in the community of Ceredo. Unionists within the state rejoiced when Guyandotte was captured by Federal troops and razed to the ground. One reporter for the Wheeling Intelligencer remarked, "It ought to have been burned two or three years ago." A century and a half later, Guyandotte and Ceredo are practically united by the expansion of the City of Huntington, which now covers the ground once fought for by neighbors with different visions of the same home.

Image from AC.892: Roll of Honor of West Virginia Soldiers Who Fought for the Lost Cause, 1883.

Old Seldom and Doubly Dear

Dr. Fred Delp was a dentist and illustrator from Rural Retreat, Virginia. Delp and his wife, Dorothy, used the medium of charcoal to preserve and create scenes of country and small town life, childhood, and fables. His works were featured in A Bit O' Sunshine, a book of poetry by hardware salesman and fellow Rural Retreatian James McChensey Prickett. The collection contains originals of Delp's charcoal sketches used in Prickett's book as well as several other original pieces.

Images from A Bit O' Sunshine by James McChesney Prickett (1928). AC.897: Fred Delp Artwork contains matted originals of Delp's charcoal sketches. "Rural Retreatians" is a correct term in common use and known by this author, who is a native Rural Retreatian. 

You Can't Go Home Again (At least not with these matches. . .)

Matchbox advertising the Braden-Hatchett Thomas Wolfe Collection found in AC.1098: John Idol, Jr. Papers. Originally located in Memphis, Tennessee, the collection was gifted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by William Hatchett and Eva Braden Hatchett.  The collection contains personal and professional correspondence and financial papers from the desk of novelist Thomas Wolfe as well as an extensive clippings file of articles on Wolfe and his works. For more on the collection, now housed at Wilson Library, Chapel Hill, click here.