The Stewart Kingsbury Papers

Collection Number: Univ Series 152
Volume: 37 boxes
Inclusive Dates: 1969-1994
Prepared by Robin Kennedy and Marcus C. Robyns

Complete EAD finding aid

Biographical Sketch:

Dr. Stewart A. Kingsbury was born in Wayne, Michigan, in 1923.  He received his undergraduate degree in Naval Science in 1946, his MA on political Science from Georgetown University in 1950, an MA in Russian Area Studies in 1961 and in General Linguistics in 1963 from the University of Michigan, and his Ph.D. in General Linguistics from the University of Michigan in 1968.

In the late 1960's, he became active in a computerized dialect survey of Upper Michigan English.  In 1975, he received a National Bicentennial Award for his design of a computerized data base for the US Place Name Survey, for his work as co-chairman of the US Place Name Survey for the State of Michigan.  His affiliations included the Modern Language Association, the Midwest Modern Language Association, the American Dialect Society, the American Name Society, and the Michigan Linguistic Society.

Dr. Kingsbury taught English as a foreign language at the University of Michigan, held subsequent posts at Olivet College, the University of Indiana and taught English and linguistics at Northern Michigan University from 1969 until his retirement in 1991.  Dr. Kingsbury died 24 October 1994.

Scope and Content Note:

The collection contains papers, data, audio cassettes and open reel tapes of interviews, and books dealing with place names in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, including their origin and folkloric materials dealing with loggers, miners, ethnic groups (Finnish) and Native American.  The collection contains maps and file cards listing place names of all topographical features including cities, towns, and settlement areas in the Upper Peninsula.  It contains copies of papers that describe Dr. Kingsbury’s NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Grant: “Computerization of place names for a place name center in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan;” and documents pertaining to his work as a commissioner of the Place Name Survey of the United States, done in conjunction with the U.S. Board of Domestic Names, USGS (United States Geological Service).

Other materials deal with language studies in the Upper Peninsula: the Computerized Survey of American English conducted in conjunction with Dr. Zacharias Thundy, Department of English, including informant names and survey records.  These materials contain survey forms and papers describing Upper Peninsula English.  Other papers deal with student surveys of slang and Finnish English.

Also included are papers regarding Dr. Kingsbury’s work on “The Slavic Saints Cyrill and Methodius, founders of Slavic literacy and envoys from the Byzantine Emporers Macedonies and Basil in the Ninth Century (to ancient Pannonia).

The collection is divided into eight subseries: 1) Dialect; 2) Folklore; 3) General; 4) History (primarily material pertaining to Upper Peninsula history); 5) Oral History; 6) Place Names; 7) Proverbs; 8) Notecards

Processed, April 1997

Container List:

Subseries I: Dialect

1/1 “American English: History and Dialects: A List n.d. Of Words for Pronunciation Formants of the U.S.A” by Stewart A. Kingsbury
1/2 “American English and the Study of Dialects,”—notes n.d.
1/3 American’s Speaking: A Pamphlet to Accompany the NCTE 1967 (National Council of Teachers of English) Dialect Recordings, by Raven I. McDavid Jr.
1/4 “Analysis Survey of the Grammar and Slang Words of Iron 1971 County as Compared to City People from Lower Michigan,” byJohn Paul
1/5 “Apache Witchcraft,” by Carol Fries 1979
1/6 “Arthur the Rat” Story (includes biographical data) ca.1970-1971