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Albert and Mary Louise Lord Collection


Albert Bates Lord and Mary Louise Lord’s private libraries were donated by the Lord family to the University of Missouri Libraries in 2010. John Miles Foley, a University of Missouri Classics and English Professor and former student of Albert Lord, secured the collection for use in the University Libraries. 

Albert Bates Lord (September 15, 1912 – July 29, 1991) was a professor of Slavic and comparative literature at Harvard University. Lord authored the book The Singer of Tales, first published in 1960. Albert Lord documented oral tradition world-wide; he was specifically interested in oral performance and composition. He specialized in recording Serbian heroic poems, but also studied Homeric epics, Beowulf and Gilgamesh.  

Mary Louise Lord was a professor of Classics for many years at Connecticut College. She also contributed to her husband’s work through editing and helping him reflect on his work. She completed and edited his manuscript of a posthumous sequel The Singer Resumes the Tale (published 1995).

Scope and Contents

The collection reflects the working interests of Albert and Mary Louise Lord and focuses on oral history, folklore, mythology, and classical literature. 

Holdings: 614 titles


Materials in this collection are divided into two groups: circulating materials housed in the Ellis Library stacks, and Special Collections materials. Special Collections materials do not circulate. Photocopying is permitted subject to the condition of the volume. Books must be used in Special Collections’ reading room during service hours or by appointment. Special Collections items in this collection are stored offsite.  Please allow at least 24 hours notice for research requests.  Contact Special Collections staff to request materials.

All titles are cataloged and available through MERLIN, the University’s online catalog. The collection can be searched in MERLIN through the heading Lord Collection (University of Missouri--Columbia).

Related Materials

The following resources can be freely downloaded from the University's institutional repository:

A bibliography of publications by Albert Bates Lord 

Albert Lord and the study of oral traditions [videorecording]