Louise Pound, 1872-1958 [RG0912.AM]


RG0912.AM:  Louise Pound, 1872-1958

Papers:  1881-1958
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska:  Educator; folklorist, linguist
Size:  15.75 cu.ft.; 1 reel of microfilm [sketchbook].


Louise Pound was born June 30, 1872, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her parents, Stephen and Laura Pound, had come to Lincoln in 1869; she was the second of their three children. Their mother educated the three children at home until they entered the University of Nebraska preparatory school. Miss Pound graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Arts in 1892 and also earned a Master of Arts degree and a diploma in music there. She then completed a dissertation at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, passing the examination for a doctorate magna cum laude (1900) in two instead of the usual seven semesters.

In 1890, when she was 18, Louise Pound became Lincoln City Tennis Champion. She competed against men for the University of Nebraska title in 1891 and 1892, winning both years. In 1897 she won the Women’s Western Tennis Championship and in 1900 the Championship of Heidelberg. She also played a tie match with the Olympic men’s singles tennis titleholder while at Heidelberg. She won the state golf championship in 1916 and a 100 mile cycling medal in 1906, was a figure skater on ice, introduced skiing to Lincoln, and managed the university women’s basketball team. She is the only woman in the University of Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame.

During World War I Miss Pound served as a staff member of the Women’s Committee of the State Council of Defense; she was acting state head of the National League for Women’s Services in 1918, chairman of Overseas Relief Activities, and a member of the Food for France Committee. She belonged to the DAR, Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Theta Sigma Phi, Chi Delta Phi, Sigma Tau Delta, Delta Omicron, Alpha Lambda Delta, Delta Kappa Gamma, Pi Gamma Mu, and Mortar Board. She was also a member of the Lincoln Country Club, the Lincoln University Club, Copper Kettle, Wooden Spoons, and the Omaha Press Club. In 1955 she was elected the first woman president of the Modern Language Association.

Miss Pound served 50 years at the University of Nebraska, retiring in 1945. She taught American Literature, Contemporary English, and Comparative Literature. During summer sessions she gave courses at other educational institutions including the University of California, Yale, University of Chicago, Columbia University, and Stanford University. She contributed to the Encyclopedia Britannica, American Speech Quarterly, American Literature, Southern Folklore Quarterly, and College English. Her correspondents included H.L. Mencken and Dorothy Canfield Fisher.

Louise Pound died June 27, 1958, at the family home in Lincoln. She was survived by her brother Roscoe, Dean Emeritus of Harvard Law School, and her sister, Olivia, retired Lincoln High School administrator.


This collection is arranged in seven series: 1) Biographical and personal information; 2) Correspondence, 1881-1958; 3) Folklore materials; 4) Literature/language materials; 5) Lectures and speeches; 6) Organizations and activities; and 7) Miscellaneous.

Most of the materials reflect Louise Pound’s lifelong research interest in American folklore, folk songs, dialects, and popular language. They provide details concerning her career at the University of Nebraska and the academic, civic and social organizations to which she belonged.

Miss Pound’s biographical materials, including a complete bibliography of her publications and clippings detailing her accomplishments, are in located in Series 1.

Correspondents whose letters appear in Series 2 include H. L. Mencken, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Mari Sandoz, Mamie Meredith, Ben Botkin, and Catherine LeMaster Eckrich. She maintained a lifelong correspondence with Anni Pfister, a Jewish friend whom she met as a student at the University of Heidelburg. Some of those letters poignantly describe Mrs. Pfister’s sojourn in the Philippines during World War II and the isolated life she led in Switzerland in her later years. (A few additional letters on specific research topics are found in Series 3 and Series 4 with the research notes to which they are related, as Miss Pound had filed them.) Note: Due to their condition, some original correspondence has been photocopied and removed. The original correspondence is restricted for preservation. Researchers must use the photocopies in the collection.

Folklore publications and resource files are in Series 3. In addition to two major works, a section of the Dictionary of Regional Folklore titled “Pioneer Days in the Midwest” and the book Origins of the Ballad, Miss Pound published dozens of short articles on Nebraska and Western folklore topics throughout her life. A number of her articles dealt with tall tales or with the legends recounted about generic sites like lovers’ leaps.

In Series 4 are Louise Pound’s articles and typed presentations on literary and language topics. Some discuss general subjects including contemporary fiction, American speech, and American slang. Others analyze more specific subjects like dream language or patterns of word formation related to a particular part of speech. Still others, generally very brief, demonstrate the uses of a single word or expression (“it,” “darn,” “OK”). Miss Pound stored in her language resource files a lifetime’s clippings from magazines and newspapers in which she had marked examples of popular speech; she continued collecting examples all her life.

Series 5 includes Miss Pound’s files for course lectures and the note cards for her lectures and speeches. The complete text of most of her speeches was handwritten on 3″ x 5″ cards. Her most frequent topics were her folklore and language research interests; in addition, she spoke on several occasions about women’s roles and university life.

Fascinating comments on student activities and groups at the University of Nebraska at the end of the nineteenth century and in the early years of the twentieth century appear in Series 6. Louise Pound took pride in her achievements in tennis and cycling and her involvement in the national social sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma. She took equal pleasure in her participation in Golden Fleece, a group of red-headed University of Nebraska women; and in NUTT (Nu Epsilon Tau Tau), a short-lived honorary society for women created to satirize traditional honorary groups.

Also in Series 6 are materials related to the professional organizations to which Louise Pound belonged: the Nebraska Writers Guild, the American Dialect Association, the Modern Language Association, and Chi Delta Phi.

Series 7 houses miscellaneous materials including social and political articles and clippings. There are a few popular magazines from the 1920s and catalogs from various universities, as well as 1954 centennial sections of the Lincoln Journal-Star.


RG0909: Pound Family
RG0910: Laura Biddlecombe Pound
RG0911: Roscoe Pound
RG0913: Olivia Pound


Series 1 – Biographical and personal information
Box 1

  1. Vita materials
  2. Vita materials, cont., including “Pound family legends”
  3. LP’s early creative writings
  4. Documents: passports, transcript
  5. World War I relief work
  6. Financial records, 1925-1958
  7. LP bibliography on file cards
  8. Reviews of LP’s writing, primarily Origins of the Ballad
  9. Kiwanis Award, 1947
  10. Tributes to LP
  11. Scrapbook A of clippings re LP
  12. Scrapbook B of clippings re LP (see oversize volume #1)
  13. Scrapbook C of clippings re LP

Box 2

  1. Loose clippings re LP
  2. Loose clippings re LP, cont.
  3. Scrapbook re. LP’s performance in sports (labeled “personal”)
  4. Sports materials, mostly re Wimbledon 1927 (LP attended)
  5. University of Heidelburg materials
  6. Miscellaneous biographical material
  7. Miscellaneous biographical material, cont.
  8. Miscellaneous biographical material, cont.

Box 3

  1. Autograph book (University of Nebraska classmates, 1892)
  2. Sketchbook, 1889-1892
  3. Sketchbook, 1894
  4. Sketchbook, 1894
  5. History notebook 7134-857
  6. History notebook 7134-858
  7. Composition/rhetoric notebook 7134-859
  8. English literature notebook 7134-860
  9. Philology notebook 7134-861
  10. History notebook 7134-862
  11. Phonetics notebook 7134-863
  12. Greek notebook 7134-865
  13. History notebook 7134-866
  14. Exam booklets

Series 2 – Correspondence, 1881-1958
Box 4

  1. Correspondence, 1881-1899
  2. Correspondence, 1900 (account of a friend’s European walking trip)
  3. Correspondence, 1900-1909
  4. Correspondence, 1910-1915
  5. Correspondence, 1916-1920
  6. Correspondence, 1921-1929
  7. Correspondence, 1930
  8. Correspondence, 1931
  9. Correspondence, 1932, Jan. – June
  10. Correspondence, 1932, July – Dec.

Box 5

  1. Correspondence, 1933
  2. Correspondence, 1934
  3. Correspondence, 1935
  4. Correspondence, 1936
  5. Correspondence, 1937
  6. Correspondence, 1938
  7. Correspondence, 1939
  8. Correspondence, 1940
  9. Correspondence, 1941
  10. Correspondence, 1942
  11. Correspondence, 1943
  12. Correspondence, 1944
  13. Correspondence, 1945
  14. Correspondence, 1946
  15. Correspondence, 1947, Jan. – Oct.
  16. Correspondence, 1947, Nov. – Dec.
  17. Correspondence, 1948

Box 6

  1. Correspondence, 1949
  2. Correspondence, 1950
  3. Correspondence, 1951
  4. Correspondence, 1952
  5. Correspondence, 1953-1954
  6. Correspondence, 1955
  7. Correspondence, 1956
  8. Correspondence, 1957-1958
  9. Correspondence, n.d.
  10. Correspondence, n.d.
  11. Correspondence and verses, Catherine LeMaster Eckrich, 1950-1955
  12. Correspondence and verses, Catherine LeMaster Eckrich, 1956-1959
  13. Correspondence, Guy H. Williams, Sr., 1953-1957
  14. Correspondence to Benjamin Botkin, 1929-1958 (published in Prairie Schooner)
  15. Correspondence to Frederick Cassidy, 1947-1954
  16. Correspondence to Ruth (Moore) Stanley, 1927-1956
  17. Correspondence re. LP’s book contracts, 1920-1949
  18. Notebook of addresses

Series 3 – Folklore materials: LP’s published/presented folklore research
Box 7

  1. Published folklore articles, A-Nebraska Legends
  2. Published folklore articles, Nebraska Rain-Y
  3. Book reviews on folklore topics
  4. Typescript and manuscript addresses on general folklore
  5. Address on Nebraska folklore
  6. “Pioneer Days in the Midwest” from Regional American Folklore
  7. “Pioneer Days in the Midwest” cont.
  8. “Pioneer Days in the Midwest” cont.
  9. “Pioneer Days in the Midwest” cont.
  10. Typescript articles on ballads/folksongs
  11. Typescript and addresses on ballads/folksongs
  12. Typescript article on Joe Bowers
  13. Typescript article on John Maher’s hoaxes

Box 8

  1. Page proofs and typescript on tall tales
  2. Text on lovers’ leaps

Series 3 – Folklore materials: LP’s notes and resource files

  1. Play-party game texts provided by others
  2. Joe Bowers folksong
  3. Ozark folksongs
  4. Folksong/ballad texts
  5. Folksong/ballad texts, cont.
  6. Folksong/ballad texts, cont.
  7. Folksong/ballad texts, cont.
  8. Folksong/ballad texts provided by Tom A. Little
  9. Folksong/ballad texts provided by other collectors
  10. Miscellaneous folksong/ballad materials
  11. Miscellaneous folksong/ballad materials, cont.
  12. Miscellaneous folksong/ballad materials filed as “scrapbook”
  13. Sources for recorded folksongs

Box 9

  1. LP notes for article on John Maher’s hoaxes
  2. Correspondence and clippings re John Maher
  3. Olof Bergstrom
  4. Buffalo Bill, Yellowhand, Wild Bill Hickok
  5. Tall tales
  6. Drought, rainmaking
  7. Popular superstitions and sayings
  8. Cowboy legends
  9. Indian legends
  10. Folk customs
  11. Specific Nebraska sites
  12. Specific Nebraska sites, cont.
  13. Specific Nebraska sites, cont.
  14. Lovers’ leap legends
  15. Cave legends
  16. Butte legends
  17. Buried treasure legends
  18. Wyoming place names

Series 3 – Folklore materials: other scholars’ work
Box 10

  1. Folklore bibliographies
  2. Articles on play-parties
  3. Typed articles on folklore topics
  4. Offprints of folklore articles, alphabetical by author, Bancroft – Smith
  5. Offprints of folklore articles, alphabetical by author, Thompson-Van den Bark
  6. Student papers on folklore topics
  7. Journal of American Folklore, 1922 (with additional manuscript and typed materials re folksongs originally stored in it)

Series 3 – Folklore materials: general resources
Box 11

  1. W.P.A. guidelines for folklore studies
  2. Folklore Institute of America lectures, part 1
  3. Folklore Institute of America lectures, part 2
  4. Materials from folklore conferences
  5. Brochures from folklore conferences
  6. Folklore materials available for sale
  7. Folklore materials available for sale, cont.
  8. Folklore scrapbook
  9. Folklore scrapbook
  10. Miscellaneous folklore materials
  11. Miscellaneous folklore materials, cont.

Box 12

  1. Miscellaneous folklore materials, cont.
  2. Miscellaneous folklore materials, cont.
  3. Miscellaneous folklore materials, cont.

Series 4 – Literature/language materials: LP’s published and presented work
Box 13

  1. Various literary topics
  2. Contemporary fiction
  3. “Dialect in American literature”
  4. Dream language
  5. “American English After Two Wars”
  6. “American English Today”
  7. American English (various articles)
  8. “The Spoken Word” 1948
  9. “The Spoken Word” 1953
  10. “Chlorophyll Contagion”
  11. “On the Meaning of Humanism”
  12. “Darn”
  13. “It”
  14. “OK”
  15. “Shall We Drop Our R’s?”

Box 14

  1. Plurals-singulars
  2. Articles re parts of speech and word formation
  3. Various short pieces on slang and popular language
  4. Short articles, 1922-1955, mostly published in American Speech
  5. Notes and reviews, 1915-1956
  6. Journals: LP review, 1906; section edited by LP, 1942

Series 4 – Literature/language materials: resource files of others’ work

  1. Chaucer
  2. Melville
  3. Medieval literature
  4. Poetry materials
  5. Poetry materials, cont.
  6. Various literary materials

Box 15

  1. Manuscript on 20th century literature, author not known
  2. Manuscript on literature, author unknown
  3. Manuscript fragments, authors unknown
  4. “The Ride to Crooked Pine,” by Marguerite Cameron McPhee (short story)
  5. Clippings on literary topics
  6. Clippings on literary topics, cont.
  7. Clippings on literary topics, cont.
  8. Articles on language topics
  9. American Speech articles, notes, guidelines
  10. Articles by Virginia Samuels submitted for American Speech
  11. Artemisia Baer Bryson, “Linguistic Invasions of Texas”
  12. Margaret Cannell, “Graveyard Language”
  13. Henry Cremer, “Factors Involved in the Study of Humor”
  14. W. Powell, “American Speech: The Language of Literary Critics”
  15. Gertrude Rulkoetter, “Phraseology Peculiar to Seventh-Day Adventists”
  16. E.H. Thomas, “Chinook Dictionaries”
  17. “Norwegian American in Southern Minnesota” (author not given)
  18. Article and student paper on secret languages (authors not given)
  19. Student papers, Stanford summer session, 1931
  20. Student papers, Stanford summer session, 1931, cont.

Box 16

  1. Student papers, Stanford summer session, 1931, cont.
  2. Student papers, University of Nebraska
  3. Student papers, University of Nebraska, cont.
  4. Student papers, University of Nebraska, cont.
  5. Clippings on dream language
  6. Clippings on euphemisms for death
  7. Language clippings categorized by geography
  8. Language clippings categorized by meaning
  9. Language clippings categorized by grammar
  10. Language clippings re pronunciation variants
  11. Miscellaneous language clippings

Box 17

  1. Miscellaneous language clippings, cont.
  2. Miscellaneous language clippings, cont.
  3. Miscellaneous language clippings, cont.
  4. Miscellaneous language clippings, cont.
  5. Miscellaneous language clippings, cont.
  6. Miscellaneous language clippings, cont.
  7. Miscellaneous language clippings, cont.
  8. Language clippings originally labeled “dialects, language, and expressions”
  9. Reviews of works on popular language
  10. Bibliographies of slang

Box 18

  1. Alphabet, spelling, pronunciation materials
  2. Spelling reform
  3. Webster’s New World Dictionary, 1953 (LP review)
  4. Funk and Wagnalls Editorial Advisory Board materials, 1956
  5. Language surveys (Cassidy and NCTE)
  6. London Times clippings re conference on English, 1927 (LP attended)
  7. H.L. Mencken

Box 19

  1. Correspondence re language, 1932-1955
  2. Language scrapbook 1
  3. Language scrapbook 1, cont.
  4. Language scrapbook 2
  5. Language scrapbook 3
  6. Language scrapbook 4
  7. Language scrapbook 5
  8. Language scrapbook 6
  9. Language scrapbook 7 (also includes section re rainmaking)

Series 4 – Literature/language materials: students’ note cards
Box 20

  1. Language topics arranged phonetically
  2. Miscellaneous language topics

Series 4 – Literature/language materials: complimentary copies of other scholars’ offprints

Box 21   Alexander – Malone

Box 22   Marchand – Zachrisson

Series 5 – Lectures and speeches: files for literature/language courses taught
Box 23

  1. Chaucer materials
  2. Pedagogical materials re literature
  3. Old and Middle English
  4. Old English/Phonetics scrapbook
  5. Phonetics
  6. Phonetics, cont.
  7. Phonetics, cont.
  8. “Old phonetics”
  9. Euphonetic drill charts

Box 24

  1. Pedagogical materials on language, Anderson-Hadley
  2. Pedagogical materials, Hollingsworth-Malone
  3. Pedagogical materials, Mencken-von Erhardt-Siebold
  4. General reference materials on pedagogy

Series 5 – Lectures and speeches: texts on note cards on academic and general topics
Box 25

  1. Folk songs
  2. Literature
  3. Language

Box 26

  1. Women’s roles
  2. Higher education
  3. Miscellaneous

Series 5 – Lectures and speeches: typed/handwritten texts and resource files on general topics
Box 27

  1. Liberal education
  2. Liberal education, cont.
  3. Liberal education, cont.
  4. Women’s rights
  5. A.A.U.P.
  6. “Town and gown”

Series 6 – Organizations and activities: University of Nebraska
Box 28

  1. Sombrero (literary yearbook with LP article and illustrations), 1895
  2. English Club membership and minutes, 1912-1914
  3. Women basketball players, 1896-1906
  4. Kappa Kappa Gamma publications, 1909-1936
  5. Kappa Kappa Gamma publications, cont., 1945-1956
  6. Golden Fleece Dinner of Doubles, 1913
  7. Golden Fleece dinners, 1917-1924
  8. Golden Fleece clippings, 1917-1926 (includes LP article on Golden Fleece in Nebraska Alumnus, 1954)
  9. Golden Fleece correspondence, 1924-1925
  10. NUTT (Nu Upsilon Tau Tau), 1924

Box 29

  1. Valkyries, 1917-1920
  2. Canfield dinner, 1903 (Class of 1895)
  3. University of Nebraska publications, 1918-1954
  4. Tributes to University of Nebraska professors, 1900-1952

Series 6 – Organizations and activities: state level

  1. Nebraska Writers’ Guild publications, 1931-1932

Series 6 – Organizations and activities: national level

  1. American Dialect Society correspondence and mailings, 1936-1941
  2. American Dialect Society correspondence and mailings, 1942-1956
  3. Modern Language Association notebook of congratulations to LP, 1956 (includes additional correspondence)
  4. Modern Language Association printed materials, 1954-1955
  5. Modern Language Association printed materials, 1955

Box 30

  1. Bulletins of Modern Language Association meetings, 1912-1956
  2. Bulletins of Modern Humanities Research Association, 1921-1957
  3. Chi Delta Phi (literary sorority) “Minute Record” book, 1934-1937

Box 31

  1. Chi Delta Phi correspondence and submissions, 1917-1927
  2. Chi Delta Phi publications, submissions, correspondence, 1928-1937
  3. Chi Delta Phi scrapbook, 1921-1937
  4. Miscellaneous Chi Delta Phi materials originally stored in scrapbook (F3), 1926-1938
  5. Other miscellaneous Chi Delta Phi materials, 1931-1933
  6. Phi Beta Kappa materials, 1938-1940, primarily national level
  7. Miscellaneous materials from other organizations, 1945-1958

Series 7 – Miscellaneous
Box 32

  1. Periodical publications re social studies, politics
  2. Political pamphlets
  3. Political columns by Phillips, Pegler
  4. Clippings on social/political topics
  5. Popular magazines, 1920-1930
  6. University catalogs and bulletins
  7. Non-English publications

Box 33

  1. Centennial sections from Sunday Journal and Star, 30 May 1954
  2. Scrapbook of miscellaneous clippings
  3. “The Ideal Scrapbook”
  4. Miscellaneous clippings
  5. Miscellaneous clippings


Subject headings:

Ballads, English — United States
English language — Phonetics
English language — Study and teaching (Higher)
Fisher, Dorothy Canfield, 1879-1958
Mencken, H. L. (Henry Louis), 1880-1956
Pound, Louise, 1872-1958
Sandoz, Mari, 1896-1966
Songs, English — United States
University of Nebraska

01-07-1970   DDS/cr
03-24-1972   DDS/pmc
06-05-1975   APD/ct
07-25-2005   BQ/kfk/tmm
11-09-2020   TMM

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

It’s Too Hot to Sleep Inside!

It’s Too Hot to Sleep Inside!

Cleaning Amelia Earhart’s Sporting License

Cleaning Amelia Earhart’s Sporting License

Marker Monday: Nebraska’s Big Rodeo

Marker Monday: Nebraska’s Big Rodeo

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

Education Digital Learning Resources

Find games, lists, and more to enhance your history education curriculum.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

History Nebraska Services

Digital Resources

Find all of our digital resources, files, videos, and more, all in one easy-to-search page!

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.