1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Perdue, Jr.

I came to the academic study of folklore by a somewhat peculiar route. My mother was a traditional ballad singer and I grew up singing her songs, learning others, having my head filled and my behavior guided by traditional stories, proverbs, riddles, superstitions, and other forms of folklore. Years later after service in the Army Security Agency during the Korean War, and marriage to Nan, I attended the University of California, Berkeley, and majored in geology. I worked seven years as a geologist in Washington D.C., but found myself more of a bureaucratic "paper pusher" than a geologist and I turned what had become a time consuming hobby for both myself and Nan into a career by returning to graduate school and getting a Ph.D. in folklore at the University of Pennsylvania. In the fall of 1971 I began teaching at the University of Virginia.

Since the early 1970s when Nan and I began working on a history of the people displaced by Shenandoah National Park our interests have moved more toward ethnohistory, the politics of culture, and New Deal cultural programs in Virginia.

The field collection of folklore and the interviewing Nan and I have done in connection with our study of the Shenandoah National Park removals have led us to a deeper interest in life histories, both as an aid to our work and as a very effective teaching method in our ongoing attempts to give students some sort of field experience while at the University of Virginia.

Co-director of Kevin Barry Perdue Archive of Traditional Cultures.

First Name: 
Charles L.
Professor, Emeritus
Computing ID: 
Office Address: 

December 1, 1930 - February 14, 2010


Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania 1971

Sub Discipline/s: 

The politics of culture, traditional music and narrative of the American South, New Deal cultural programs in Virginia.