Collection 0009 - Helen Creighton collection

Title proper

Helen Creighton collection

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Sound recording

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Reference code

CA MtA 0009

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  • 1943-1971 (Creation)
    Creighton, Helen

Physical description

1.5 cm of textual records
10 audio reels

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Name of creator

(b. 1899)

Biographical history

Born on 5 September 1899, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Mary Helen Creighton was a song collector, folklorist, writer, and lecturer. She traveled throughout Nova Scotia listening to and transcribing folk songs. She worked as a chauffeur during World War I, following which she began writing articles and stories for Canadian magazines. Temporary teaching jobs provided minimal finances until she achieved academic recognition and received fellowship awards from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Canada Council to finance her writing and research.

After collecting for the Library of Congress Helen Creighton joined the National Museum of Canada in 1940, where she worked for 20 years. She lectured throughout North America, helped organize folk choirs, and assisted in Canadian Broadcasting Corporation presentations of folk music.

She was a member of the Order of Canada, received 5 Honourary doctorates (including an LLD from Mount Allison University, May 1957) and the Canadian Music Council Medal. She was also involved with organizations such as the Canadian Folk Song Society (as national president) and the Canadian Authors Association (as the Maritimes vice-president)

She wrote several books, such as "Folklore of Lunenburg County" (1950), "Bluenose Ghosts" (1957), "A Life in Folklore" (1975), and a study of the survival of German folklore in Canada, published by the National Museum of Canada (Bulletin 117, Anthropological series no. 29).

Custodial history

Given to the Mary Mellish Archibald Memorial Library collection by Helen Creighton at the request of Raymond Clare Archibald. Transferred from Mary Mellish Archibald Memorial Library Collection, Ralph Pickard Bell Library to the Archives, 1974.

Scope and content

Collection contains copies of notes on the traditional, folk, and Gaelic songs, from the Maritimes, contained on the discs made by Helen Creighton for the Archives of Folklore Division, Library of Congress, Washington, 1943-44, and 10 audio reels, on which the songs are recorded.

Also includes thank you letter from George Proctor, Professor and Head of Music Department, 1971, to Helen Creighton, for a letter and the transcriptions of the songs collected.

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Ray Mabee, 1974


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Originals in Archives of Folklore Divison, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

The tapes in the original donation are not available for use. Researchers must use the reference copies which are located in the Audio Room, Tape 219.

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Inventory available at repository

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General note

Internal reference no: Accession 7427

Physical description

Audio reels are 10.5", Scotch 3M.

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