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Claude Casey Collection

Identifier: SCU-MUS-0002

The collection includes both manuscript and published sheet music (some of which are autographed), manuscript and typed lyrics, audio recordings (78s, LPs, cassettes, and reel-to-reels) of commercial and personal studio recordings, correspondence from record companies and other musicians, original signed contracts, monographs and periodicals, newspaper clippings, photographs, flyers and programs, and movie scripts.


  • 1930s-1990s

General Physical Description note

12.5 cubic feet (25 boxes)

Restrictions on Access

Materials in the Claude Casey Collection are available for use Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. by appointment only. Please telephone 803-777-5139 or email Jennifer Ottervik at for further assistance.


12.5 Linear Feet (25 boxes, containing mixed materials.)


Materials created by and associated with Claude Casey (1912-1999) during the course of his musical career.

Biographical History

Before country music achieved mainstream appeal, when the genre was defined as “hillbilly music,” Claude Casey went from a poor boy born in Enoree, South Carolina, on September 13, 1912, to a renowned country musician and film star. Not only does the Claude Casey collection focus on the celebrated life of a native South Carolinian, but also serves as a time capsule tracing the developments of a musical genre favored by many Americans.Casey’s musical talents as a singer, guitarist, and songwriter developed while growing up in the Carolinas and Danville, Virginia. His recording career commenced on July 16, 1937, with the signing of the Claude Casey Trio to the American Record Corporation. In 1938, Claude Casey and the Pine State Playboys began recording for Bluebird Records while also performing on radio shows at WFTC in Kinston, North Carolina. By 1941, Casey was performing with the Briarhoppers and Cecil Campbell and the Tennessee Ramblers for WBT in Charlotte. Casey relocated to Augusta, Georgia, in 1951 to work at WGAC, performing with the Sagedusters. He recorded primarily for record labels RCA Victor and MGM, for whom he did his final recording in 1952 with Chet Atkins. In 1961, he founded AM radio station WJES (Johnston, Edgefield, and Saluda) and FM station WKSX, both located in Johnston. In recognition of his contributions to the state, Casey was awarded the South Carolina Folk Heritage Award in 1996. Billed as the Carolina Hobo, Casey also appeared on numerous television shows and in over 10 motion pictures, including Swing Your Partner (1943), Square Dance Jubilee (1949), Kentucky Jubilee (1951), and Forty Acre Feud (1965 [Uncle Foxey Calhoun]). He was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and ASCAP. After a lengthy and very successful career, Claude Casey passed away at the Edgefield County Hospital on June 24, 1999, survived by his wife, Ruth Derrick, whom he married in 1942, and their two children, Leon and Michael. The Claude Casey collection was donated to the Music Library in 2006 by Ruth Casey and contains many items that afford a significant portrayal of the hardships and accomplishments of a leading figure in early country music. Highlights include scores and lyrics, movie scripts autographed by the cast (including Minnie Pearl and Ron Ormond), videos, posters, and signed photographs of famous country musicians. Among the 78s, transcription discs, reel-to-reels, LPs, and audio cassettes are hundreds of demo, commerical, home, and studio recordings. Letters and official performance contracts reveal intriguing perspectives of the business driving the country music and movie scenes.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is arranged into seven series.

Physical Location

This collection is housed in the Music Library, which is located in the School of Music at 813 Assembly Street in Room 208 (on the 2nd floor).

Acquisition Information

Claude Casey's wife, Ruth, and his son, Michael (a 1971 USC graduate), gave the collection to the Music Library in June 2006. Claude Casey's cowboy boots and costumes were officially transferred to the State Museum in August 2006. In July 2007, one reel of film was transferred to the USC Newsfilm Library.

Related Records

Additional materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the University of South Carolina. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

General Physical Description note

12.5 cubic feet (25 boxes)

Digital Collection

Repository Details

Part of the Music Library Repository

813 Assembly Street, Room 208
School of Music, University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA
803-777-1426 (Fax)

Claude Casey Collection University of South Carolina School of Music
Inventory prepared by Kallan Williams.
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