Skip to main content

Dell Turner/John T. Meader Collection

Identifier: MF131

Scope and Contents

A series of interviews conducted by John T. Meader with and about his grandfather, Dell Turner. Topics covered in the interviews include Dell's life, woods cooking, lumber camps, farming, and fishing stories.


  • Creation: 1980-1982

Conditions Governing Access

For digitized items free from access restrictions, we are working to upload this material (pdfs, mp3s, jpgs) for public access, but it is an ongoing project. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, contact Special Collections (

Conditions Governing Use

Rights assessment remains the responsibility of the researcher. No known restrictions on material.


9 items

Language of Materials



NA1327 Dell Turner, interviewed by John T. Meader for AY 122, spring 1980, Fairfield, Maine. Series of interviews with Turner about his life, woods cooking, lumber camps, farming, fishing stories.

Text: catalogs and oral autobiography of Turne, 170 pp. total Recording:mfc_na1327_t1448_01, mfc_na1327_t1448_02, mfc_na1327_t1449_01, mfc_na1327_t1449_02, mfc_na1327_t1450_01 Photos: P04662 - P04667

T 1448: Topics covered include leaving home at age 9 and becoming a hobo; the hobo lifestyle; learning to cook at Spencer Mountain; building outhouses; tending hogs; pay; learning to cook; cooking in Patten; riding the tramway; log driving on the Roach River and Chamberlain Lake; working with Bill Russell, Archie McDonald, Lewy McDonald, Tom Kelly, Al McNeil, Lester Turner, Earl McNeil-Neil, George Turner; potato farming on the Christly Farm in Aroostook County. Fishing with Maurice Libby on Duck Lake, Mud Brook, Coldstream, Wilson Pond, among others; staying at Nugent's camp on Chamberlain Lake; Chamberlain Farm; baking fish on Stragely Lake; saltwater fishing; sea sickness.

T 1449: Topics covered include his service in the United States Army during World War I at the age of 21; fighting at Ginney Ridge, France, and getting injured; being sent home injured to Camp Davis outside of Boston; the flu epidemic at Camp Devans; being drafted; finding his uncle while traveling in Scotland; working for his second cousin George Turner in Mapleton; meeting his future wife Crystal in 1922; working with horses; a barn fire. Barn fire; working with horses; working for Lewly Turner; the death of Lewly Turner; working for John Washburn on his ice cart in Fairfield; traditional medicine and a woman healer; birthmarks.

T 1450: Topics covered include working for Guilford Carter in Mapleton on his potato farm; Guilford Carter's attempted suicide; cooking in a logging camp; bean hole beans; teaching a head cookee; cooking at a sawmill in Masardis on the Blackwater; working for Cooboth and Anderson near Haystack Mountain; working at 9-14 [possibly T9-R14]; log haulers; G-poles; tag chains.

NA1397 Chrystal Turner, interviewed by John T. Meader for AY 125, fall 1980, Fairfield, Maine. Turner talks about her husband, Dell Turner; her family; spiritualist meetings; the KKK (Ku Klux Klan).

Text: 41 pp. catalog Recording: mfc_na1397_t1534_01, mfc_na1397_t1534_02, mfc_na1397_t1696_01 2 hours

NA1398 Joyce Meader, interviewed by John T. Meader AY 125, fall 1980, Fairfield, Maine. Meader talks about her father, Dell Turner; spiritualist meetings.

Text: catalog Recording: mfc_na1398_t1535_01, mfc_na1398_t1697_01 2 hours

NA1399 Mary Pearl McEachern, interviewed by John T. Meader AY 125, fall 1980, Bangor, Maine. McEachern talks about her brother, Dell Turner; his early years; moving to Maine from New Brunswick; home life.

Text: catalog Recording: mfc_na1399_t1537_01 1 hour

NA1528 Dell Turner, interviewed by John T. Meader (grandson) for AY 124, spring 1980 (paper May 4, 1981). Paper titled “How Limited Must a Transcript Be?” goes over the process of transcribing onto paper from an oral source; experiment Meader conducted with a story told by Dell (about Dell and Maurice going out fishing and the boat tipping over) and two different versions of that transcript read by Robert Burke; detailed instructions on how to go about reading the transcript orally; the three transcripts.

Text: 30 pp. paper with transcripts Recording: mfc_na1528_t1627_01 18 minutes

NA1543 Michael Meader, interviewed by John T. Meader (brother) for AY 198, October 17, 1981, Fairfield, Maine. Meader talks about the deep and personal relationship with his grandfather Dell Turner: stories Turner told; how others saw him; his death; his relationship with his wife (Sissy); his personality; his education; his morals; Meader’s own experiences with emotion and family issues; working at the mill, Keyes Fibre Co. of Shawmut, Maine.

Text: 27 pp. catalog Recording: mfc_na1543_t1643_01 46 minutes

NA1544 Glen Meader, interviewed by John T. Meader (nephew) for AY 198, October 18, 1981, Skowhegan, Maine. Meader talks about his father-in-law Dell Turner: fishing stories; his interactions with others; how other people viewed him; how he dealt with other; meeting him for the first time; his drinking; his love of tea.

Text: 28 pp. catalog Recording: mfc_na1544_t1644_01 64 minutes

NA1545 Daryl Buck, interviewed by John T. Meader for AY 198, November 28, 1981, Fairfield, Maine. Buck talks about knowing Dell Turner from working in Hillman’s Bakery which Turner frequented: stories that Turner told; Turner impact on the community; personal impact from Turner; Turner’s reputation as an independent person; how Turner related to other people in the bakery.

Text: 18 pp. catalog Recording: mfc_na1545_t1645_01 42 minutes

NA1565 Earl Doody, interviewed by John T. Meader, winter 1982, Fairfield, Maine. Doody talks about Dell Turner’s life views and stories; working on the mill’s pulp machines; cutting ice and hauling it to the ice house to store; working in the woods; working as a farmer.

Text: 19 pp. transcript Recording: mfc_na1565_t1666_01 52 minutes

Existence and Location of Originals

Located at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress: AFC 2012/047

Materials Specific Details

Audio files are the primary source material. Transcriptions are the transcriber's best effort to convert audio to text, but should be considered secondary to the audio.


Guide to Dell Turner/John T. Meader Collection
In Progress
Thomas Libby
May 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States