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Francis Edward Abernethy served as the Secretary-Editor of the Texas Folklore Society for 33 years. He played an integral part in the process of moving the headquarters from the University of Texas to Stephen F. Austin State University in 1971; for more than three decades, he managed the organization’s daily operations and helped it continue to grow—sometimes through lean years, both financially and in terms of academic interest. In addition to fostering many new members and guiding their contributions to folklore scholarship, his editorial accomplishments were substantial. In all, he edited two dozen volumes of the PTFS series, including the three volumes he wrote himself that serve as the Society’s history, from its beginning in 1909 up until the year 2000. While some publications during his tenure as Secretary-Editor may list the name of another writer (for an Extra Book) or a guest editor (for a special-topic PTFS), he most assuredly provided critical and creative input regarding the style, layout, content, and other aspects of the manuscript to make sure it was worthy of being identified as a TFS book. This Publication of the Texas Folklore Society celebrates Ab Abernethy’s many years of leadership and dedication to collecting, preserving, and presenting the folklore of Texas and the Southwest. Ab’s contributions to the Society’s publications cover a variety of topics. Here, they’ve been organized into some basic categories that serve as chapters. The prefaces to some of the more memorable volumes he edited are included, along with articles he wrote on music, teaching folklore, interesting anecdotes about historical figures and events, and a generalized category of articles on “cultural” examinations of the things we hold dear. In all, these pieces tell us what was important to Ab. In part, it also seems fair to say that these topics are what was—and still is—reflective of what’s important to the Texas Folklore Society.
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