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Cynthia Byrd

Cynthia Byrd

Ph.D. Candidate

Curator and Folklorist
The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art
Salisbury University
909 South Schumaker Drive
Salisbury, MD 21804
phone: (410) 742-4988 ext. 119
fax: (410) 742-3107



University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. Candidate in Folklore
University of Pennsylvania, M.L.A., with Distinction, Folklore & Folklife and Women's Studies, 2001
University of Georgia, Teaching Certification, Science Education, 1996
University of Georgia, B.S., Biology and Chemistry, 1995

Proposed Dissertation Title

"The Folklore and History Surrounding the Diaries and Ephemera of Edith Workman Minnix, Written 1938-1951"

Abstract: The dissertation examines the folklore in and around a series of diaries written between 1938 and 1952 by Edith Workman Minnix, a coal miner’s widow in Lansing, West Virginia.  The diaries are of historical interest for their focus on the lives of women in coal mining communities and the work of American women during World War II, and their contents speak to a literary tradition of personal writing.  My work seeks to examine the diaries in a new way, examining the material culture of the diaries and their accompanying ephemera, their function as performance sites for Edith’s descendants, and their role in the life review process for the writer and her daughter.

Research Interests

Material culture, women's folklore, books and other writings as sites of performance, personal narrative, food traditions, Appalachia, and the American South.

Cindy currently works as curator and folklorist at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art in Salisbury, Maryland. She also serves as editor of the Museum's journal, Wildfowl Art. The Ward Museum was named for famed carvers Lemuel and Steven Ward, whose artistry pioneered the transition of the gunning decoy from a working tool to an expressive sculpture. The Museum features the world's largest public collection of antique working decoys and contemporary wildfowl sculpture. It also supports fieldwork and education programs focused on regional folk and traditional arts as well as environmental studies.


Membership/Professional Affiliations

Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council
National Assembly of State Art Agencies
Salisbury-Wicomico Arts Council
Mid Atlantic Folklife Association
American Folklore Society


"North Georgia Public Folklore," The Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell, eds. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2006.


The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art
National Assembly of State Art Agencies
Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council

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