Opie collection of children's games & songs
Opie, Iona (5 of 6) Cathy Courtney Oral History Collection
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Opie, Iona 1947- (speaker, male)
Wright, Elizabeth (speaker, female)
Part 5: Relationship between anthropology and sociology and the work of IO & PO; mentions Edmund Leach’s reaction to their work. Mentions that the study of Children’s Folklore now more prominent; funding the Opie Prize in America. Changes in Britain reflected in children’s own culture. Popularity of games comes in waves; handclapping and skipping. Children’s singing and skipping games; origins as courtship games, superseded by newer games. Contemporary children’s toys. Setting up publishing firm (Mason & Balfour) with the paper allowance supplied to each ex-serviceman. Discusses changing opinions of children who became a ‘market’; publication of books aimed at children. Large toy trade in the seventeenth century. IO’s feelings of being overwhelmed by the responsibility of collecting toys and PO’s relaxed attitude; PO’s collection illustrative of every kind of children’s book. Desire to keep PO’s collection intact and in the UK after his death. IO donating half the value to the Bodleian; support from Hugo Brunner and Prince of Wales. Writing to the newspapers in 1950s to encourage donations of school lore. PO involved more in research and IO more occupied with children and housework. Collecting lore directly from children; open questionnaires. Visiting school playgrounds for research. PO lecturing. IO discusses ‘The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes’ and its public reception; disliked adulation. Discusses ‘A Dictionary of Superstitions’ and ‘The Treasures of Childhood’ with Brian Alderson’s introduction; help from RO for ‘Treasures’. Discusses Leotard. Enthusiasm of RO. Impact of PO’s death. Writing the preface for ‘The Oxford Book of Narrative Verse’.
Life story interview with Iona Opie (1923-2017), folklorist.