Berea College is a small liberal arts college in Kentucky formed by ardent abolitionists and radical reformers in 1855.
The school’s original mission – that all people deserve an education – continues today, and Berea provides educational opportunities primarily for students from Appalachia, who have great promise and limited economic resources. No student is charged tuition, and all students must work at least 10 hours per week to earn money for books and room and board.
As the South’s first interracial and co-educational college, Berea has generated a rich legacy, with many historical treasures to archive.
The Berea College Special Collections and Archives department houses materials that document the history and culture of Berea College and the Southern Appalachian Mountain region. The collection has particular strength in its sound and video collections; documenting traditional music and mountain culture.
The digital archives being preserved are all non-commercial – one of a kind, stored on a variety of now mostly obsolete formats. They document Appalachian history and culture, as well as the history of Berea College. The collection is especially strong in the areas of traditional music (banjo and fiddle for example), religious expression, spoken lore, radio programs, oral history, and college events and personalities. It includes field recordings from homes and churches by collector, including local and regional folk festivals, student performances, presentations of notable scholars, preachers, and social activists who have visited Berea.
The collection is vast, approaching 100TB due to the inclusion of many of large sound files. The large size of the collection is due to the inclusiveness of the files.