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Historic Bibliographies and Reference Aids

American Snake-Handling Sects: A Selected Bibliography

Compiled by: Marsha Maguire
Publication Date: September 23, 1980

Books and Articles

Alther, Lisa. "They shall take up serpents." New York times magazine, June 6, 1976; 18-20, 28, 35.
Interview with minister of a Holiness church in Carson Springs, Tenn., and two members of his congregation.

Ambrose, Kenneth P. Survey of the snake-handling cult in West Virginia. 1970.
Master's thesis—Marshall University, Huntington, W. Va.

Carden, Karen W., and Robert W. Pelton. The persecuted prophets. South Brunsick, A. S.
Barnes, 1969. 188p.
BX7990.H6C28 1976

Clements, William M. "The Jolo serpent handlers." Journal of American folklore, v. 92, Jan./Mar. 1979; 127-128.
GR1.J8, v.92
Film review.

Clements, William M. Review essay: snake handlers on film. Journal of American folklore, v.90, Oct./Dec. 1977: 502-506.
GR1.J8, v. 90

Daugherty, Mary L. Serpent-handling as sacrament. Theology today, v. 33, Oct. 1976: 232-243.
BR1.T62, v.33

Dickinson, Eleanor, and Barbara Benzinger. They shall take up serpents. In their Revival. New York, Harper & Row [1974] p. 127-143.

Dorough, C. Dwight. Sensationalism and excesses. In his The Bible Belt mystique. Philadelphia, Westminster Press [1974] p. 144-173.

Gerrard, Nathan L. The serpent-handling religions of West Virginia. Transaction, v. 5, May 1968: 22-28.
H1.T72, v. 5

Holliday, Robert K. Tests of faith. Oakhill, W. Va., Fayette Tribune, 1966. 104 p.

Kane, Steven M. Aspects of the Holy Ghost religion: the snake handling sect of the American Southeast. 1973.
Master's Thesis—University of North Carolina.

Kane, Steven M. Holy Ghost people: the snake handlers of Southern Appalachia. Appalachian journal, v. 1, spring 1974: 255-262.
F216.2A66, v. 1

Kane, Steven M. Ritual possession in a Southern Appalachian religious sect. Journal of American folklore. v. 87, Oct./Dec. 1974: 293-302.
GR1.J8, v. 87

Kerman, Keith. Rattlesnake religion. In Jones, Lealon N., ed. Eve's step-children: a collection of folk Americana. Caldwell, Idaho, Caxton Printers, 1942. p. 93-102.

La Barre, Weston. The snake-handling cult of the American Southeast. In Goodenough, Ward H., ed. Explorations in cultural anthropology; essays in honor of George Peter Murdock. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Co. [1964] p. 309-333.

La Barre, Weston. They shall take up serpents; psychology of the Southern snake-handling cult. New York, Schoken Books [1969] 208 p.
BL441.L3 1969
Reprint of the 1962 ed., with a new introd. by the author.

Pelton, Robert W. and Karen W. Carden. Snake-handlers: God-fearers? Or, fanatics? Nashville, T. Nelson, 1974. 110, [49] p.

Schwarz, Berthold E. Ordeal by serpents, fire and strychnine; a study of some provocative psychosomatic phenomena. Psychiatric quarterly, v. 34, July 1960: 405-429.
RC321.N52, v. 34

That old time religion: a catalog from the exhibit, That old time religion, a documentation of Protestant revivalism, by Eleanor Dickinson. [Oakland, Calif.] Oakland Museum, History Dept., 1979. 38 p.

Thomas, Jeannette B. New Light. In her Blue Ridge Country. New York, Duell, Sloan and Pearce [1942] p. 164-167.

Wigginton, B. Elliot, et al. [Snake-handling] Foxfire, v. 7, spring 1973: 2-87.
PS1.F68, v. 7
Special issue chiefly describing activities of a mountain church whose members practice snake-handling.

Wilson, Bryan R. Thaumaturgic sects—healers and snake handlers. In his Religious sects: a sociological study. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Co. [1970] (World university library) p. 174-176.
BR157.W54 1970


The Holy Ghost people. Blair Boyd. Released by Contemporary Films/McGraw-Hill, 1968. 53 min., sd., b&w, 16 mm.

The Jolo serpent-handlers. New York, Karen Kramer Films, 1977. 40 min., sd., col., 16 mm.

The People who take up serpents. G. Robinson Productions, 1974. 53 min., sd., col., 16 mm.

They shall take up serpents. WKYC-TV, 1973. 24 min., sd., col., 16 mm. (Montage)

Background Sources on Revivalism in America

Boisen, Anton T. Religion in crisis and custom; a sociological and psychological study. New York, Harper [1955] 271 p.

Clark, Elmer T. The small sects in America. Rev. ed. New York, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press [1949] 256 p.
BR515.C57 1949

Cobb, Alice L. Sect religion and social change in an isolated rural community of Southern Appalachia. 1965.
Thesis (Ph.D.)—Boston University

Dayton, Donald W. The American Holiness movement; a bibliographic introduction. Wilmore, Ky., B. L. Fisher Library, Asbury Theological Seminary, 1971. 59 p. (Occasional bibliographic papers in the B. L. Fisher Library)

Gerrard, Nathan L. Churches of the stationary poor in Southern Appalachia. In Photiadis, John D., and Harry K. Schwarzweller, eds. Change in rural Appalachia; implications for action programs. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1970. p. 99-114.

Hollenweger, Walter J. The Pentecostals. London, S.C.M. Press, 1972. xx, 572 p.
BX8763. H613 1972b
Translation of Enthusiastisches Christentum.

Holt, John B. Holiness religion: cultural shock and social reorganization. American sociological review, v. 5, Oct. 1940: 740-747.
HM1.A75, v. 5

Jones, Charles E. A guide to the study of the Holiness movement. Metuchen, N.J., Scarecrow Press, 1974. xxviii, 918 p. (ATLA bibliography series, no. 1)
Z7845.H6J65 no. 1

Jones, Charles E. Perfectionist persuasion: the Holiness movement and Amerian Methodism, 1867-1936, Metuchen, N.J., Scarecrow Press, 1974. xxviii. 918 p. (ATLA bibliography series, no. 1)

Jones, Charles E. Perfectionist persuasion: the Holiness movement and American Methodism, 1867-1936. Metuchen, N.J., Scarecrow Press, 1974. xx, 242p., 242 p. (ATLA bibliography series, no. 5)

Kendrick, Klaude. The promise fulfilled; a history of the modern Pentecostal movement. Springfield, Mo., Gospel Pub. House [1961] 237 p.
Based on the author's PH.D. dissertation.

Synan, Vinson. The Holiness-Pentecostal movement in the United States. Grand Rapids, Mich., W. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. [1971] 248 p.

Weatherford, Willis D. and Earl D. C. Brewer. Life and religion in Southern Appalachia; an interpretation of selected data from the Southern Appalachian studies. New York, Friendshp Press [1962] 165 p.

Weisberger, Bernard A. They gathered at the river: the story of the great revivalists and their impact upon religion in American. Boston, Little, Brown [1958] 345 p.

Weller, Jack E. Yesterday's people; life in contemporary Appalachia. [Lexington] University of Kentucky Press [1965] xx, 163 p.

Wood, William W. Culture and personality aspects of the Pentecostal Holiness religion. The Hague, Mouton, 1965. 125 p.

There are numerous journalistic accounts of snake-handling in the United States, particularly in relation to legal problems and deaths resulting from the practice. These may be located by consulting popular literature indexes such as Readers' Guide and the New York Times Index from 1938 to date under the headings SNAKE CULTS, SNAKE-HANDLING, and SERPENT HANDLING.



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