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Record Group Number: 000158
Series/Collection Number: .S 1709
Creator: Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs. Florida Folklife Archive
Title, Dates: Guy Miles interview files and recordings, 1962-1993.
Amount: 10.00 cubic ft.
1625.00 item
Medium Included: audiotapes
Organization/Arrangement: Subdivided into files, arranged by topic or type of record; reel-to-reel tapes, numerical by donor-assigned number; and cassette tapes, grouped into "Daisy Wright" tapes and "Assorted Talkers" tapes, then numerical by Folklife-Bureau-assigned tape accession numbers.
Restrictions: Restricted:  Because of their fragile condition, access to the original reel-to-reel tapes #1-727 is closed; researchers should consult the digital files in .wav format, available in the Search Room.
Terms Governing Use: Digital files in .wav format are first-use copies for reel-to-reel tapes #1-727; access to originals is closed because of their fragile condition.
Biographical/Historical:     Legislation in 1979 (79-322, SB 1208) transferred the Florida Folk Arts component of the Stephen Foster Memorial to the Florida Department of State. Operating as the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs from ca. 1985 until 1995, the Bureau coordinated the annual Florida Folk Festival and directed such programs as Folk Arts Apprenticeships, Folk Arts in Education, Folk Heritage awards, annual research surveys, and numerous other projects and programs. From 1995 through June 30, 2021, the renamed and reorganized Florida Folklife Program continued the majority of these operations from within the Division of Historical Resources, Bureau of Historic Preservation in Tallahassee. During the 1995 reorganization, the State Archives of Florida acquired the Florida Folklife Collection from the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs’ previously maintained Florida Folklife Archives. Legislation in 2021 (2021-71, L. O. F., HB 909) transferred the Florida Folklife Program and its operations from the Division of Historical Resources to the newly renamed Division of Arts and Culture, previously the Division of Cultural Resources, effective July 1, 2021. The program is charged to "identify, research, interpret, and present Florida folk arts, artists, performers, folklore, traditions, customs, and cultural heritage and make folk cultural resources and folklife projects available throughout the state."

    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, and Guy became a cattle rancher. In 1967, one of their neighbors in Evinston, an elderly Black woman named Eliza Washington, asked Guy to set down what she wanted the community to know about her when she died. Guy recorded her "Talk" and later used her words at her funeral service. This meeting with Miss Liza spurred his interest in inquiring into the nature of "talk". 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.

Summary:     The Miles Collection consists of reel-to-reel and cassette tapes of interviews with "talkers", transcripts of some of these tapes, administrative files, correspondence, and diaries documenting Guy Miles' efforts to record the authentic "talk" of local individuals and his other activities in the 25 years preceding his death. The collection includes several tape indexes created by Guy Miles, or his students, and by the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs.

    The collection includes almost 700 reel-to-reel tapes of "talkers" recorded from 1967 through 1988. The tapes were recorded on both sides and all four tracks, so that one tape might have four talkers, each recorded on a separate track. The collection also includes several indexes to these tapes:  a numerical index listing 717 tapes indicates who is recorded and where on the tape they are recorded; a chronological index lists all of the tapes by date recorded; and an alphabetical name index lists all of the talkers (by first or last name) and the tapes on which they are recorded.

    Administrative records in the collection document Guy Miles' discussions with the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs concerning donation of the collection to the Bureau, establishing the Miles Fellowship to fund work on the collection, and finding suitable students to work on the collection. "Talkers" files contain transcripts of reel-to-reel tapes prepared by Guy Miles and audio tape logs prepared by the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs after acquiring the collection in 1988.  "From the Log" files contain Guy Miles' typed narratives of day-to-day events in his life from 1962 to 1988, the year of his death. A published book entitled "From the Ranch Log," containing excerpts from these narratives, is included in the collection (see container list).

    There are also over 600 cassette tape copies of some of the reel-to-reel tapes, produced by the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs to preserve the information on the deteriorating original recordings. The initial focus of the re-recordings was the "Miss Daisy" Wright recordings, but many cassettes also record "assorted talkers." The Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs produced a cross reference list between the cassettes and the original reel-to-reel tapes and made audio log sheets for the cassette tapes which are helpful in locating subjects covered by the talkers. These are all included in the collection.

    Finally, there are digital copies in .wav format of reel-to-reel tapes numbered 1-727, produced by the Archives to prevent use of the fragile originals, and 281 compact disk backups of the digital files.

Finding Aids: Folder listing available.
Additional Physical Form: Reel-to-reel tapes 1-727 are also available in .wav format in the Search Room.
Reproduction Note:
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
Associated Materials:
Language Notes:
Ownership/Custodial History: Guy Miles donated his collection of tape recordings and interview transcripts to the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs shortly before his death in 1988.  The Bureau's Florida Folklife Archive filed related documentationwith the original Miles Collection, including biographical information about the talkers, donation documentation, indexing instructions, and other related materials.
Publication Note:
General Note:
Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields: Miles, Guy S., 1908-
University of Florida.
Oral history
Oral biography.
Ranches Florida
Farms Florida
African Americans Florida.
Cattle Florida
Machine-readable artifacts. aat
Audio cassettes. aat
Audio tapes. aat
Diaries. aat
Alachua County (Fla.)
Evinston (Fla.)
Micanopy (Fla.)
Added Entries