Collected by Ruth Ann Musick and Walter Barnes

Edited by Judy Prozzillo Byers

Illustrated by Patricia Musick along with Noel W. Tenney and John Henry Randolph

Mountain Mother Goose is a collection of jingles, jangles, rhymes, riddles, games, and lesson stories chanted and sung on the playgrounds of Central Appalachia, recited in one-room schools, and echoed in backyards and schoolyards throughout the small villages and farms that dotted the hills and valleys of West Virginia. Stretching through most of the 20th Century, this collection of melodies traces the regional attitudes and traditions of American children at play. As early progressive educators and folklorists, Dr. Walter Barnes and Dr. Ruth Ann Musick painstakingly gathered a rich harvest of child lore. Dr. Barnes encouraged Dr. Musick to pluck the folk ways and narratives of youngsters by sharing with his younger colleague the many examples that he had heard from children in the rural schools around the state. The features in the eight chapters of the book move from childhood to teens with such sections as nonsense, taunts, and teases; act-out games; counting-out rhymes; riddles; jump rope rhymes; lesson stories; play-party games; and autographs and epitaphs. Illustrated with the lively sketches and paintings of Pat Musick along with works by Noel W. Tenney and John H. Randolph, this collection is sure to delight the infant being read to in her mother’s lap, to enliven the play of the older child, and to bring a smile to the older reader who recalls similar games and songs from his youth. Enjoy this celebration of being young in age and young at heart.

Judy Prozzillo Byers

A Fairmont native, Dr. Byers is an educator, folklorist, and storyteller affiliated with the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Teaching Project, the Appalachian Studies Association, and the Assembly on the Literature and Culture of Appalachia for the National Council of Teachers of English. She received her B.A. in English and social studies education from Fairmont State College and her M.A. and Ed.D. from West Virginia University in English pedagogy with emphases on folklore and creative dramatics, along with postgraduate study at the International Folklore Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington. She was mentored by Dr. Ruth Ann Musick and was named executrix of Dr. Musick’s folklore archives. In this effort, she has researched, published, and collaborated on cultural curricula and multicultural studies; co-edits Traditions, formerly West Virginia Folklore Journal; and is a member of the Hill Lorists, a storytelling trio. Through her leadership, she helped to establish and directs the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center and is Abelina Suarez Professor, English and Folklore, Senior Level, at Fairmont State University. She returns to her fascination with the verbal expressions and narratives of youth abounding in Mountain Mother Goose: Child Lore of West Virginia.

Patricia Ruth Musick

Patricia Ruth Musick's work encompasses illustration, calligraphy, teaching, research on early manuscripts, making murals of glass fused to metal, and artist residencies in national parks. A Colorado-based artist, writer, and educator, she is the niece of Dr. Ruth Ann Musick and shares the affection and admiration her aunt felt for West Virginia’s people, lore, creatures, and land.

For information on how to obtain your copy, please call (304) 367-4403 or e-mail

Pictures from our Open House and Book Signing

Contact Info

The Frank and Jane Gabor
West Virginia Folklife Center

on the campus of Fairmont State University
1201 Locust Avenue
Fairmont, WV 26554
(304) 367-4403

Pat Musick
Pat Musick
, Interim Director
Frank & Jane Gabor WV Folklife Center
(304) 333-3606


FSUNow Stories

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Kestrel: A Journal of Literature and Art, the Fairmont State University Department of Language and Literature and the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center will host a two-day Celebration of Issue 35.

Ten Kestrel contributors will be on campus to participate in a panel discussion, as well as give readings from their own work.

On Friday, Sept. 23, from 1 to 1:50 p.m. in Jaynes Hall 304, Dr. Elizabeth Savage will moderate a panel discussion on the topic, “Accessibility,” featuring visiting writers. Admission to the event is free and open to the public.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University will officially open a new exhibition, “From Mountain Roots….” in its Ruth Ann Musick Gallery from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9.

Admission to the opening reception and the exhibit is free and open to the public. The exhibition will be on view through mid-February 2017. For more information, call (304) 367-4403.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University will host “Film & Fiction Italian Family Style: An Afternoon of Italian Heritage” from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18.

Diana Pishner Walker will read from her children’s books, and her sister Anna Pishner Harsh offer a premier screening of “La Danza-Bridging Time Through Dance,” an Italian dance documentary. Walker and Harsh’s paternal grandparents were from Caulonia, Italy, (Reggio Calabria), and their maternal grandparents were from San Giovani in Fiore, Provence of Cosenza, Italy.

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