Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Burt Feintuch, Lynwood Montell, Jim Miller

Degree Program

Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Formation, expression, and function of world view were examined in the life and compositions of folk musician, Katherine O'Neill Peters Sturgill. It was seen that the institutions of home, loved ones, and heaven were dominant themes in the formation of her world view. When twenty-two of Kate's gospel and sentimental song compositions were examined for thematic content, they were found to reflect the predominant formative influences in Kate's life. An interpretive model was developed showing home, loved ones, and heaven to be unified themes in a concept of sacred order--a concept which stood to oppose and defend against the banal chaos of the real world. Gospel and sentimental songs were examined in the context of the chaotic nineteenth century mainstream society from which they emerged, and they were seen to be functional entities corresponding strongly to Kate's songs, created out of her immediate context. The functionality of Kate's performance was interpreted in terms of a rhetorical theory of folklore performance.


Anthropology | Arts and Humanities | Folklore | Music | Musicology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology