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Margaret Mills (MM) Finding Aid

By Patrick Dunn and Kyle Knott

Margaret Mills, c1970 - c2012 


Collection ID: MM  

Language: English 

Physical Description: Two 12x12x18 inch cardboard boxes (one audio, one printed materials) 

Repository/Location: Center for Folklore Studies, The Ohio State University, Hagerty Hall Room 455  


This collection contains scholarly materials from the career of Dr. Margaret Mills, faculty associate of Ohio State’s Center for Folklore Studies from 1998 to 2012. Included are Dr. Mills’ published and unpublished articles, Ph.D dissertation, notes, correspondences, audio lecture recordings, and various research ephemera.  


Biographical and Historical Notes 

Dr. Margaret Mills joined Ohio State’s faculty in 1998 and retired in 2012. During this time, she served as chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and was a faculty associate of the Center for Folklore Studies and the Mershon Center for Strategic Studies. Dr. Mills was previously a tenured faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, where she spent 13 years in the Folklore and Folklife Department. She received her Ph.D from Harvard University in 1978. 


The bulk of these materials, donated by Dr. Mills, pertain to her studies of Afghan folklore and Persian-language popular culture. They reflect Mills’ long-term research interests in gender politics, narrative rhetoric, and oral culture within folk storytelling traditions. Other materials highlight areas where Mills’ interests intersect with the research of peers and colleagues. The collection provides a personal, ground-level record, however incomplete, of Mills’ career and scholarly development. As such, it reflects cultural developments within the fields of Folklore Studies and Near Eastern Studies and shows the evolution of OSU’s folklore curriculum.  

Specific items of note include extensive audio recordings of Mills’ lectures, as well as lectures from her student years, an original print-copy of her completed dissertation, and ephemera tracing institutional processes of publication, presentation, and peer-review.   

Research Strength/Suggestions 

This collection holds primary research materials relevant to the study of folklore, gender, and narrative culture in Persian-language regions – including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and other former-Soviet territories. In addition, the collection reflects the disciplinary trajectories of Folklore Studies, Near Eastern Studies, and Comparative Literature as academic fields. Materials shed light specifically on the institutional development of Ohio State’s Center for Folklore Studies, and of folklore centers at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania.   

These materials may also be relevant for cross-cultural and comparative studies of myth, ritual, and symbol, and for studies of local spirituality across Islamic cultural regions. Select items pertain to gender politics and folk cultures in other geographical areas – including Japan, Bengal, Latin America, Appalachia, and the Himalayas – and to popular cultures of the contemporary Anglophone world.  


Arrangement notes 

Box 1: Printed and handwritten materials organized in labeled folders 

Box 2: Audio cassettes in plastic cases 


CFS Archivist: Dr. Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth 

Archival Assistants: Zahra Abedinezhad and Rhiar Kanouse 

Collection Assistants: Patrick Dunn and Kyle Knott 

Using the collection 

Physical materials can be accessed on-site at the CFS archive, located at 455 Hagerty Hall on OSU’s main campus. Audio tapes can also be accessed on-site. Please contact the archive to schedule an appointment.  

Preferred Citation 

Folklore Archives, Center for Folklore Studies, Ohio State University. Margaret Mills Collection. Box number (when applicable), "Folder Title" (when applicable), "File Number" (when applicable). 


Afghanistan, Persian Folk Cultures, Women and Gender in Folklore, Oral Storytelling, Myth and Symbol, Near Eastern Languages 


Printed and handwritten documents in 36 labeled folders 

1978 Ph.D Dissertation from Harvard University, in small cardboard box 

1993 Poster for University of Pennsylvania Performance-Lecture by Mills

115 audio cassette tapes in 8 plastic cases (audio lectures)