There are treasures in the Folk School archives that help us get perspective for understanding the days we live in. Anna Shearouse, who works in our archives, found this item. It is one of the “Monday Morning Messages” of William H. Danforth, who founded the Purina company.  He wrote these to his employees for forty years. This one is dated May 23, 1932:

“Last week I visited the John C. Campbell Folk School at Brasstown, North Carolina.  There the community is taught singing games to bring more joy into the work of each day. It seemed to me that the birds were bursting their little throats, that the cows were more contented, that the roosters crowed louder, that the people were happier than in any other neighborhood that I had been in for a long time.  Why not, when they are living out their slogan: I SING BEHIND THE PLOUGH. An economist writes that we are in the thirty-seventh month of the depression and that if we haven’t already turned upward, we soon will.  Depressions take songs out of our hearts.  While we are all doing our level best to make things better, don’t you think it will help a lot if we can get a bit of song back into our lives?  We can’t sing good times back, but a song of courage on our lips will make our days more fruitful and help brighten the lives of those around us.  I’m not much for Pollyanna stuff, but I’m going to begin each day with a song; and I’m going to try to continue that song all the day long.  I’m going to sing behind my plough. How many of you will join me?”

Jan Davidson
About Jan Davidson