Bookmark this page or copy and paste URL to Email message

Byrd Howell Granger papers, 1945-1990 (bulk 1956-1975)

MS 340

Collection Summary

Creator: Granger, Byrd H.
Collection Name:Byrd Howell Granger papers,
Inclusive Dates: 1945-1990 (bulk 1956-1975)
Physical Description:6.5 linear feet
Abstract:Papers (1945-1990) of Folklorist and University of Arizona professor Byrd Howell Granger. Includes biographical information, correspondence, manuscripts, research notes and audiovisual material. The bulk of the collection represents Granger's scholarly works and activities in the fields of English Literature and Southwestern, particularly Arizona, Folklore.
Collection Number:MS 340
Repository: University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
University of Arizona
PO Box 210055
Tucson, AZ 85721-0055
Phone: 520-621-6423
Fax: 520-621-9733

Biographical Note

Byrd Howell was born to engineer Frank Scott Howell and musician Evelyn Byrd Howell on October 18, 1912 in New Rochelle, NY. The exact origin of her acquired last name is unknown; it is known only that Byrd Howell Granger became her legal name in 1940. By Granger's own account, she was married at one time although to whom and for what period of time is not known. Granger had at least two siblings, Laura Howell Dale (b. 1909) and Frank S. Howell (vital dates unknown).

Byrd Howell Granger's achievements were not only numerous but also quite varied. Though she is perhaps best known for her work as a Southwestern Folklore author and researcher, Granger had found success in several other endeavors before entertaining the idea of a career in scholarly Folklore. In 1934, she received her B.A. in Zoology from Goucher College. She went on to become the Assistant Director of the Advisory Committee for the New York World's Fair from 1937-1940. Almost immediately after this experience, she opened her own public relations firm, Byrd Howell Associates, in New York City. She remained at the firm until 1942 when Granger elected to join the war effort by serving in the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) Squadron. One of the first women to complete cadet flight training, she ultimately became a commanding officer in the Air Transport Command which was responsible for ferrying everything from trainers to bombers to locations throughout the United States.

After the war, Granger attempted to return to her public relations firm only to find that the effects of a ground injury sustained during her WASP service made East Coast winters almost unbearable. It was then that she had thoughts of moving West. After spending some time writing aviation training manuals and articles, Granger finally decided to return to a town she had admired briefly after making an emergency landing there during the war: Tucson, Arizona. She eased into her adopted home by securing a position as Director of Public Relations for the Tucson United Community Campaign. It was during her last year at this agency that she was serendipitously introduced to the notion of a career in English and Folklore. A friend asked Granger if she would be willing to substitute teach an English class at the University of Arizona. Granger agreed and immediately discovered a passion for teaching. Having been a writer both professionally and vocationally, she decided to take a position as an English instructor at the University and went on to receive her M.A. in English from the same institution in 1953.

After receiving her degree, she was identified by the English faculty as an excellent candidate for the considerable task of revising and enlarging Will C. Barnes' 1935 Arizona Place Names. In meeting this challenge, Granger flew, drove, and trekked throughout Arizona, visiting and corresponding with hundreds of people. Arizona Place Names was finally published in 1960. Granger quickly developed a fascination with onomastics (the study of place names) and thus her interest in Folklore was born. By 1962, she had earned her Ph.D. in English from UCLA under the guidance of Folklorist Wayland D. Hand (dissertation title: The Talk of the Place: Folk History of the Place Names and Legends of Places in Arizona, May 1962, 590 pp).

Granger continued as an assistant and, ultimately, a full professor of English and Folklore until her retirement in 1976. In addition to her regular teaching duties, Granger developed the Folklore and Cultural Awareness program, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1968 to 1972. This summer seminar series was designed to give Junior High School teachers a better understanding of the cultural needs of their students and to help integrate folklore and cultural issues into classroom learning. During her tenure Granger was also active in several Folklore societies, including the American Name Society for which she served as President in 1974. Honors were frequently bestowed on this popular teacher and speaker having been thrice chosen as Best Professor on campus and inducted into the University of Arizona Hall of Fame.

Granger's talents and services were not limited to the University campus. She served in many civic organizations including the 99s (a women pilots group), the Cerebral Palsy Foundation of Southern Arizona, Tucson United Community Campaign (United Way), and the Tucson Historical Council/Committee.

Somewhere in the middle of this professional and civic involvement, Granger also pursued her leisure interests which included photography, fishing, and camping. She even found time to build her own home in Tucson doing much of the work herself.

Retirement to Carefree, Arizona did not put an end to Granger's professional productivity. In 1983, she published Arizona's Names: X Marks the Place, a revision of the 1960 Place Names book. Just before her death in 1991, she published a history of the WASP entitled On Final Approach. Earlier in her retirement, she also wrote "Evidences of Military Service of Women Air Force Service Pilots of World War II;" a document which played a role in earning the WASP recognition as military veterans. Retirement also afforded Granger the opportunity to visit the many countries whose culture and lore she had been teaching in the classroom. Her travels took her to such places as Denmark, Greece, Guatemala, Singapore, Sweden, and the United Kingdom to name only a few.

Byrd Howell Granger died June 27, 1991 in her Carefree home. Though she is remembered for many reasons, her most enduring and documented legacy will be her contribution to the understanding and appreciation of the folklore of all peoples. She was particularly influential in bringing the culture, stories, and lore of Southwestern Native Americans to the collective consciousness of Arizona historians. Her initial revision of Arizona Place Names reminded those concerned with the Southwest United States that its history lies also in the folklore of those people who were here long before the Anglo settlers.

Granger believed there was value to be found in all peoples and that the study of Folklore could foster an understanding of this value. Indeed, she was troubled by the term "folklore" suggesting that it might more aptly be called "peoplelore". She firmly believed in the adage which holds that the more we know about one another's differences, the more we learn that we are not so different after all.

Scope and Content Note

Papers (1945-1990) of Folklorist and University of Arizona professor Byrd Howell Granger. Includes biographical information, correspondence, manuscripts, research notes and audiovisual material. The bulk of the collection represents Granger's scholarly works and activities in the fields of English Literature and Southwestern, particularly Arizona, Folklore.

This collection contains biographical information, correspondence sent and received, published and unpublished manuscripts, research notes, and audiovisual material spanning the period from 1945 to 1990. This range of dates marks the period of time from immediately following Granger's military service to one year before her death. The printed material represents primarily the scholarly research and works Granger produced during her tenure at the University of Arizona as a Professor of English and Folklore. The smaller audiovisual portion of the collection has a reverse emphasis, revealing more about her endeavors before teaching as well as her personal life. The bulk dates of the collection, both print and audiovisual material, are from 1956 to 1975.

The bulk of the material itself consists of published and unpublished manuscripts of papers and books. Of particular interest are unpublished manuscripts of creative works and several draft chapters of an unfinished book entitled Legends and Folklore of Indians of the Southwest. The collection also contains a sizable amount of correspondence the majority of which concerns data collection for the 1960 edition of Arizona Place Names. These letters document accounts of place name origins that were not necessarily included in the published book. Also of note are several oral history transcripts which document the history of Tucson, Arizona as well as that of other Southwestern locations.


This collection is organized into six series:
Series I: Biographical, 1955-1985
Series II: Correspondence, 1953-1985
Series III: Manuscripts, 1945-1983
Series IV: Professional Activities, 1967-1976
Series V: Research Notes, 1951-1980
Series VI: Audiovisual, c. 1950-1990




Note: Patrons must use motion picture and audio reels under the direct supervision of the Manuscripts Librarian. Preservation copies of this material are not currently available. Depending upon equipment availability and item condition, users may not be able to view and/or listen to this material.


It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents for the University of Arizona, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Barnes, Will C. (Will Croft), 1858-1936
Goldwater, Barry M. (Barry Morris), 1909- -- Correspondence
Granger, Byrd H. -- Biography
Greenway, Isabella
Hand, Wayland Debs
Jacob, Charlotte Hanson -- Correspondence
Satterthwaite, Frances -- Correspondence
Sonnichsen, C. L. (Charles Leland), 1901- -- Correspondence
Udall, Morris K. -- Correspondence

Corporate Name(s)
Red Feather Campaign
United Way of America
University of Arizona -- Faculty -- Biography
Women Air Force Service Pilots (U.S.)

Geographic Name(s)
Arizona -- History, Local

Names, Geographical -- Arizona
Authors -- Arizona -- Tucson -- Archives
College teachers -- Arizona -- Tucson -- Archives
Folklore -- Arizona
Folklore -- Mexico
Folklorists -- Arizona -- Tucson -- Archives
Indians of North America -- Folklore
Ranches -- Arizona -- Coconino County -- Pictorial works
Women authors -- Arizona -- Tucson -- Archives
Women college teachers -- Arizona -- Tucson -- Archives
Women folklorists -- Arizona -- Tucson -- Archives

Genre Form(s)
Audio Cassettes
Motion Pictures
Reel-to-reel Cassettes

Administrative Information

Credit Line

Byrd Howell Granger papers (MS 340). Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.

Container List

Series I: Biographical, 1955-1985
11 Biographical Sketches and Resumes. , 1970-1977
12 University of Arizona Career. , 1969-1978
13 Periodical Clippings. , 1955-1985
14 Granger's House (Tucson). , c. 1970-1985
15 Personal Photographs. , 1960s-1980s
Series II: Correspondence, 1953-1985
Correspondent Files, 1954-1985
Correspondence sent and received during the course of Granger's career at the University of Arizona. Letters to and from U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, U.S. 2nd District Representative Morris K. Udall, and Frances Satterthwaite document Granger's efforts to secure support and funding for the Folklore and Cultural Awareness program. Also represented is correspondence with C.L. Sonnichsen, editor of the Journal of Arizona History, regarding book reviews Granger was to submit to the Journal. Letters received from Cookie Hanson Jacob address issues related to Jacob's collection of folklore material in Europe for Granger as well as personal matters. The General Correspondents file contains primarily letters received from colleagues, friends, and family.
16 Barry Goldwater. , 1970-1976
17 Charlotte "Cookie" Hanson Jacob. , 1970-1974
18 Frances Satterthwaite. , 1970-1975
19 C.L. Sonnichsen. , 1973-1974
110 Morris K. Udall. , 1970-1975
111 Correspondents - General. , 1954-1985
Correspondence regarding the work Dictionary of American Popular Beliefs and Superstitions, 1962-1983
Correspondence sent and received concerning the Arizona portion of the Dictionary of American Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. Edited by the UCLA Center for the Study of Comparative Folklore and Mythology under the direction of Wayland D. Hand, this cooperative work was intended to document the beliefs and superstitions of people across the United States. The work was never completed; nonetheless, Granger served as the collaborator for the Arizona collection for over twenty years.
112 Dictionary of American Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. , 1962-1983
Correspondence regarding the work Arizona Place Names (1960), 1953-1958
These letters, sent and received, chronicle Granger's task of revising and enlarging Will C. Barnes' 1935 Arizona Place Names. Hundreds of pioneers, historians, Native Americans, political leaders, and other then-current and former Arizona residents share with Granger their knowledge about the origins of place names throughout Arizona.
113 Apache County. , 1955-1957
114 Cochise County. , 1955-1958
115 Coconino County. , 1955-1958
21 Gila County. , 1955-1958
22 Graham County. , 1955-1956
23 Greenlee County. , 1956-1957
24 Maricopa County. , 1955-1957
25 Mojave County. , 1955-1956
26 Navajo County. , 1955-1957
27 Pima County. , 1953-1957
28 Pinal County. , 1955-1956
29 Santa Cruz County. , 1955-1958
210 Yavapai County. , 1956
211 Yuma County. , 1955-1956
212 Arizona Place Names: Proposal. , 1954-1958
213 Arizona Place Names: Corrections & Additions. , 1954-1958?
Series III: Manuscripts, 1945-1983
Articles, Essays, & Papers, 1945-1981
Manuscripts and drafts of published and unpublished articles, essays, and papers. Works from throughout Granger's career are represented, from before her days teaching at the University of Arizona to after her retirement. Most of the writings deal with matters of Folklore and Folklore in literature. A smaller number are instructive or administrative works, such as teaching guides and proposals. One work which stands apart in terms of content is "Ice on My Heels", a narrative account of Granger's airplane ferrying trip from Texas to Alaska.
214 "Arizona Institute: March 1974". , 1974
215 "Arizona, Tucson and the Bicentennial". , 1975
31 "Bicentennial Plan". , 1970-1976?
32 "Review: Black Names in America". , c. 1975
33 "Review: Cowboy Culture". , 1981
34 "Causes and Cures of Cultural Diseases and Disorders in Arizona". , 1975+
35 "Customary Law in America". , 1980+
36 "Emblems in Donne, Herbert, Crenshaw and Bunyan". , 1952+
37 "Expletive Deleted: The Death of Opprobrious Names". , 1970+
38 "Folk Museums". , 1970-1975?
39 "Folk Narrative in the 'Magnalia Christi Americana' of Cotton Mather". , c. 1969
310 "Folklore Along the Colorado River". , 1968?
311 "Folklore and History". , 1972?
312 "Folklore in John Millington Synge's Riders to the Sea". , 1969-1970
313 "The God's Eye in Many Cultures". , 1973+
314 "The Henry Sproul Letters". , 1945
315 "Ice on My Heels". , c. 1950
(See also Box 9/Folder 5 for slides, Box 11/Items 1 & 2 for motion pictures).
316 "Influences on Place Names of the Inverted Mountains of the Grand Canyon of Arizona". , 1969
317 "Isabella Greenway King". , 1953+
41 "Lore of the Moon". , 1980-1981
42 "The Lore of Numbers". , No Date
43 "The Many Faces of Arizona's People". , 1973
44 "The Myth of the Cowboy and Westerner: Names in Some Works by Zane Grey". , c. 1975
45 "The National Place-Name Survey of the United States". , 1973
46 "None Shall Be Nameless: The Lore of Naming". , 1969+
47 "Peoplelore and the Teaching of English". , 1971+
48 "Shrines in Southern Arizona". , 1968-1969
49 "Some Aspects of Folk Medicine Among the Spanish-Speaking Population of Southern Arizona". , c. 1973
410 "Some Notes on Field Collecting". , c. 1973
411 "Teaching English From the Ground Up". , No Date
412 "Thai Customs and Courtesies". , No Date
413 "Witchcraft in the Southwest". , c. 1968
Books, 1960-1983
Primarily drafts of unpublished books. The exception is found in two folders pertaining to Arizona's Names: X Marks the Place (published 1983). These contain administrative information relating to the book as well as original illustrations by Connie Asch. The remaining two books represented are The Grand Canyon and Its Names and Legends and Folklore of Indians of the Southwest. These draft works were never completed or published.
414 Arizona's Names: X Marks the Place : Accounts and Expenses. , 1979-1982
415 Arizona's Names: X Marks the Place: Original Illustrations by Connie Asch. , c. 1983
416 The Grand Canyon and Its Names: Outline and Research Plan. , 1977-1982?
417 Legends and Folklore of Indians of the Southwest: Apache. , 1960s-1970s
418 Legends and Folklore of Indians of the Southwest: Havasupai. , 1960s-1970s
419 Legends and Folklore of Indians of the Southwest: Hopi. , 1960s-1970s
51 Legends and Folklore of Indians of the Southwest: Navajo. , 1960s-1970s
52 Legends and Folklore of Indians of the Southwest: Pima, Maricopa & Papago. , 1960s-1970s
Creative Writings. , c. 1949
Poetry, short stories, and correspondence relating to the submission of the short stories for publication. There is no evidence in this collection or elsewhere to indicate that any of these works were published.
53 Short Stories Correspondence. , 1949
54 Short Stories. , c. 1949
55 Poetry. , No Date
Series IV: Professional Activities, 1967-1976
Files related to Granger's involvement in various academic, professional, and civic activities. Highlights include transcripts from the Tucson Historical Committee's Oral History Project for which Granger served as Chairman. These oral histories contain unique information concerning the history of Tucson as told by both Spanish and English speaking residents. The sound recordings of these oral history interviews are available in the Southwest Folklore Center Field Recordings Collection (SWF 011) where noted. Notes for and correspondence about public speaking engagements are also included.
56 BIA Report: Folklore and Cultural Awareness Program. , 1971
57 National Geographic Society. , 1975-1976
58 People: Their Lore and Cultural Awareness: A Manual for Participants. , 1973
59 People: Their Lore and Cultural Awareness: NEH Grant Report. , c. 1973
510 Tucson Historical Committee: Oral History Project - Administrative. , 1973-1974
61 Tucson Historical Committee: Oral History Project - Transcripts B - H. , 1973-1974
62 Tucson Historical Committee: Oral History Project - Transcripts L - S. , 1967-1974
63 Speeches and Public Appearances. , c. 1970
64 Summer Seminar: The Lore of Peoples - Course Outline. , 1 970
65 University of Arizona International Folk Dance Club: Advising. , 1973-1976
Series V: Research Notes, 1951-1980
Lecture Notes, 1951-1980
Granger's typed and handwritten lecture notes. Various Folklore and Literature topics are represented. The bulk consists of notes for the People: Their Lore and Cultural Awareness program (also known as the Folklore and Cultural Awareness program).
66 People: Their Lore and Cultural Awareness Lectures. , c. 1970
67 General Lecture Topics. , 1951-1980?
Student Notes, 1953-1966
Typed and handwritten notes taken by Granger while earning her Ph.D. in English at UCLA. Some notes represent lectures and courses attended after earning her degree in 1962. Various Folklore and Literature topics are represented.
68 A - F.
71 M - Sh.
72 Sp-V.
General Notes, 1951-1975
These general research files include a transcript of a conversation between Granger and Wayland D. Hand on the topic of Folklore classification. Transcripts of oral histories and interviews on a variety of Arizona and non-Arizona topics are also included; corresponding sound recordings in the Southwest Folklore Center Field Recordings Collection (SWF 011) are indicated where available. Informant cards containing bits of collected folklore from the Southwest, particularly Arizona, provide unique information.
73 Housing - Tucson. , 1968
74 Spanish Proverbs. , No Date
75 Transcript: Dr. Wayland Hand on Classification. , 1975
76 Transcripts: Oral Histories. , 1951-1967
8 Folklore Collecting Cards. , 1960s-1970s
Series VI: Audiovisual, c. 1950-1990
Slides, c. 1950-1990
Approximately 840 color slides taken by and of Granger in personal, recreational, and professional settings.
91 Byrd Howell Granger: Portraits.
92 Granger's Tucson Home.
93 Granger's Tucson Home.
94 Granger's Carefree Home.
95 Alaska Ferrying Trip (See also Box 3/Folder 15 for narrative account and Box 11/Items 1 & 2 for motion pictures).
96 Folklore and Cultural Awareness Program.
97 Folklore and Cultural Awareness Program.
101 Folklore and Cultural Awareness Program.
102 Glen Canyon Dam Construction.
103 Oatman Family Massacre Site.
104 Quarter Circle Double X Ranch? (Williams, AZ - Breasted Family).
105 Santa Rosa Shrine?
106 Talk at El Tiradito (The Wishing Shrine, Tucson).
107 University of Arizona Student Activities.
Motion Pictures, c. 1950-1955
Motion pictures taken by and of Granger in a variety of settings. Highlights include the construction of Granger's home and aerial footage of her airplane ferrying trip from Fort Worth, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska along the Alaska Highway. A notable exception is a commercial film produced by the Red Feather Campaign, forerunner to the network of charitable organizations which has been known through the years by several names including Community Chest, United Community Campaign, and the United Way. The film, likely acquired by Granger through her public relations work for the Tucson United Community Campaign, was intended to encourage the public to make donations to the Red Feather Campaign instead of individual charities.
111 Alaska ferrying trip, (See also Box 3/Folder 15 for narrative account and Box 9/Folder 5 for slides). (16mm, color, 7" reel). , c. 1950
112 See 1-2. (16mm, color, 7" reel).
113 Camping trip in Grand Canyon area, (16mm, color, 2 7/8'' reel). , 1954
114 Fishing trip, (16mm, color, 2 7/8" reel). , 1953
115 Grand Canyon and Havasupai by helicopter, (16mm, color, 3 5/8'' reel). , No Date
116 Granger carrying rocks, (16mm, b/w, 2 7/8" reel). , 1954
117 Granger's Tucson Home: Construction, (16mm, color, 2 7/8" reel). , 1955?
118 Granger's Tucson Home: Construction, (16mm, color, 2 7/8'' reel). , 1955
119 Granger's Tucson Home - Construction, (16mm, color, 2 7/8" reel). , 1955
1110 Granger's Tucson Home: Construction, (16mm, color, 2 7/8" reel). , 1955
1111 Granger's Tucson Home: Construction, (16mm, color, 2 7/8'' reel). , 1962?
1112 "Red Feather Magic", (16mm, b/w, sound, 7" reel). , No Date
1113 Rodeo (Fiesta de los Vaqueros?) and trail ride in high desert area, (16mm, b/w, 7" reel). , c. 1950
1114 Tucson Parades and Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona, (16mm, b/w, and color, 7" reel). , c. 1950
Video, 1970s-1980s
Video tapes of one public speech and two television appearances by Granger.
1115 "Arizona Natives and Native Plants" - Desert Botanical Gardens Docents Meeting, (VHS, color). , late 1980s
1116 "Tucson Today with Mort Beach" - On Beliefs Concerning Evil, (U-Matic, black and white). , 1970s
1117 "Tucson Today with Mort Beach" - On Lost Mines in Arizona, (U-Matic, black and white). , 1976
Cassette Audio, 1969-1980
Oral histories, speeches, interviews and other recordings made by or for Granger. Highlights include a recording of Granger and students of the Folklore and Cultural Awareness program speaking about the program and its effectiveness. Also of note are two tapes of an oral history interview with a Colorado pioneer woman.
121 Conversation with man and woman (Beaudry?) regarding Granger's house, hobbies, and other topics, side 2 only. , No Date
122 Cookie Hanson: Oral correspondence to Granger and Isabella Breasted. , Oct. 25, 1972
123 Folklore and Cultural Awareness Program: Granger speaking about. , 1971
124 Material Culture: Granger interviewing Jane Adams. , No Date
125 "National Geographic Society Food Customs", (See also Box 5/Folder 7). , No Date
126 National Place Name Survey: Granger dictation. , No Date
127 Oral History: Dr. & Mrs. Gennady Platoff in San Antonio, Texas talking about family and world travels. , 1970
128 Oral History: Mrs. Miles - Pioneer woman talking about early life in Colorado. , February 13, 1969
129 Oral History: Mrs. Miles - Pioneer woman talking about early life in Colorado. , 1969
1210 "Random Notes on Mayan Folklore" - Granger speech at Maya Study Group. , April 1980
Reel Audio, 1970s
Primarily speeches given and collected by Granger. Music and correspondence reels are also included.
131 "Apache Culture" - Speech by Billy Kane, (7" reel). , May 1970
132 Corridos performed by University of Arizona student Hector Manuel Martinez Soto. Song list included, (5" reel). , April 20, 1974
133 "Kachinas and the Law of the Hopi" - Granger speech at National Education Secretaries Association Conference in Tucson, (7" reel). , July 24, 1970
134 "Papago Legends" - as told by members of the Papago (now Tohono O'odham), (5" reel). , No Date
135 Unknown Female Correspondent : Oral correspondence to Granger, Side 2 only (5" reel). , No Date
136 Witchcraft and Other Folklore Topics: Granger speech at the Palmdale School in Phoenix, Arizona. Children also tell stories, (5" reel). , No Date