The Year of Corn and Culture
AC 046


Summary Information

McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections
The Year of Corn and Culture
AC 046
1 Linear feet
Physical Description

Collection is arranged as follows:

Box 1 contains correspondence, budget information, steering committee notes, course proposals and other pertinent information.

Box 2 contains the contents of a deconstructed scrapbook commemorating The Year of Corn and Culture and various photos.


Located in locked compact shelving, level 1.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], The Year of Corn and Culture Collection, Special Collections, McConnell Library, Radford University, Radford, VA.

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Biographical/Historical Note

The Year of Corn and Culture was a campus-wide celebration of corn that included classes taught by various Radford University faculty members, and cultural events throughout the year. Some of the many important events of the year include a large display of Huichol art, lectures and demonstrations by Juan Negrin; an original play by Kathryn Obenshain-Three Ears of Corn; a Corn and Culture Symposium. The idea of the year-long event was closely associated with the Selu Conservancy and its donor, John Bowles.

Selu Conservancy is a 380 acre area that borders the Little River. It is comprised of two main tracts of land donated by members of the Bowles family, the first 185 acre tract was donatd by John Hargrove Bowles in 1989, and several years later the remaining 195 acres were donated by other members of the famliy. At the time of the initial donation, Mr. Bowles communicated several wishes as to how the land should be used and then worked closely with a university Steering Committ and several of the university community to develop and plan the land useage.

The name Selu was suggested by Marilou Awiakta, a Cherokee author, and friend to the university. Selu traditionally refers to the Cherokee "grandmother corn spirit". The name was accepted in part because Mr. Bowles wished for some sort of representation of the Cherokee people who had traditionally used the land for hunting and gathering.

In the years since 1989, a retreat center, a science lab, an observatory, a living history museum, numerous trails, a boat dock, etc. The land is frequently used as an outdoor classroom by biology, geology, appalachian studies, physical education, anthropology and other departments on the Radford University campus. Meetings are held there by both campus and non-campus organizations in either the retreat center or a large multi-use "barn" that is attached to the science lab and observatory.

This material had been collected generally by Grace Toney Edwards and Ricky Cox, both of who were very highly involved with every aspect of the planning the events making up The Year of Corn and Culture.


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Scope and Contents

This collection consists of Steering Committee minutes, course proposals, correspondence, photographs, budget information etc. The original order and filing categories of this collection have been preserved as received from the Appalachian Regional & Rural Studies Center.


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Administrative Information

Publication Information

McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections

McConnell Library
PO Box 6881
Radford, Virginia

Restrictions to Access

An appointment for research is required. The collection is open for research. No interlibrary loan.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The documents are available for free personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided the proper citation is used (e.g. McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections, Radford University, Radford VA).  Any commercial use of the materials, without the written permission of the Radford University, and the copyright holder, is prohibited.  Please refer to the McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections website for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

All materials were donated to Radford University Archives and Special Collections by Dr. Grace Toney Edwards.


Further accruals may be coming, but at this time, none are expected.

Existence and Location of Originals

Archives and Special Collections, McConnell Library

Related Archival Materials

Selu Collection

Collection Inventory


Box 1: Folder 1: Corn and Culture Steering Committee

Box 1: Folder 2: Corn and Culture Course Ideas

Box 1: Folder 3: Honors Program

Box 1: Folder 4: John Bowles

Box 1: Folder 5: Awiakta

Box 1: Folder 6: Juan Negrin

Box 1: Folder 7: Logo and Publicity

Box 1: Folder 8: Corn and Culture Symposium Correspondence

Box 1: Folder 9: Corn and Culture Presentation Information

Box 1: Folder 10: Print Resources and References for The Year of Corn and Culture

Box 1: Folder 11: Inquires

Box 1: Folder 12: Three Ears of Corn, a play by Kathryn Obenshain

Box 1: Folder 13: Budget- General Budget Information

Box 1: Folder 14: Budget- Special Projects Funding Information

BOX 2.

Box 2: Corn and Culture Symposium Booklet

Box 2: Deconstructed Scrapbook

Box 2: Photographs- Shucking Corn in Front of McConnell Library

Box 2: Photographs- Panel Members, Students; Corn Planting on Campus; Garden at Selu with Ricky Cox and John Bowles.

Box 2: Photographs- Corn and Culture and Appalachian Awareness Day Featuring Kitty Obenshain (who wrote Three Ears of Corn).

Box 2: Photographs- ARSC Center; Setting up for the Year of Corn and Culture; Tracy Sewell, Administrative Assistant; Setting up a Classroom for an Event.

Box 2: Photographs- Festival of Corn on Campus; Stone Grinding Corn Meal with Sammie Phillips; Other Craftspersons Displaying their Corn Related Wares.

Box 2: Photographs- Corn and Culture Symposium Panelists; Selu Retreat Center; John Bowles Log House and Little River Dock under Construction.

Box 2: Photographs- The Year of Corn and Culture Symposium; April 1997.

Box 2: Photographs- Rayna Green, Year of Corn and Culture Speaker.

Box 2: Photographs- Corn and Culture Symposium Brochure.

Box 2: Negatives- Corn Shock in front of Lucas/McConnell; Corn and Culture Library Display; Selu.