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South-Central Georgia Folklife Project Is Now Online

Truck with peaches

Fruit stand in Ocilla, Georgia, ca. August 18, 1977. Photo by David Stanley.

This is a guest post by AFC folklorist Ann Hoog, who has been the division coordinator for a mass digitization and access project to reformat and make accessible online a large body of American Folklife Center field projects from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s.

The American Folklife Center is pleased to announce a new online presentation of the South-Central Georgia Folklife Project collection. This collection is the third in a continuing series of online field survey collections released by the American Folklife Center in an initiative that began last year and will continue for several years to come.  Find the collection online at this link!

Between 1977 and 1997, AFC conducted approximately 25 ethnographic field projects and cultural surveys in various parts of the United States, resulting in a rich body of visual and aural documentation of our nation’s cultural heritage. In celebration of the AFC’s 40th anniversary in 2016, the Library is making these ethnographic collections available online to the public. By the time all these materials are online, they will total over a quarter million new items.

Sculpture of woman sitting

“Gold Star Mother,” from Mrs. Pope’s Museum, Pelham, Georgia. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer, ca. August 25, 1977. The residence once included more than 200 sculptures and reliefs created by Laura Pope Forrester. They were largely destroyed shortly after these photos were taken and no longer available for viewing.

The South-Central Georgia Folklife Project collection resulted from an ethnographic field project conducted in the summer of 1977 by the American Folklife Center and the Arts Experiment Station of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia. The eight-county area chosen for the study is in the center of the “Wiregrass” region of Georgia.

This presentation includes approximately 376 sound recordings, 14,300 photographs, pen-and-ink drawings of vernacular architecture, and the logs and field notes that provide further details and context to the materials.

Rich and high-quality documentation includes hymn singing, fiddle and banjo music, vernacular architecture, quilts, boat building, occupations, foodways, jokes, and stories from the region.

Perhaps most striking is the visual documentation capturing the landscape and material culture that has changed dramatically in the past 40 years in the region of south-central Georgia.

Sketch of house

One of many pen-and-ink drawings created by Howard “Rusty” Marshall documenting vernacular house and barn types found in south-central Georgia.

This online presentation includes only the sound recordings, photographs and selected manuscripts in the collection. There are additional manuscripts, small publications, ephemera, planning documents and more available in AFC’s Research Center in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. A finding aid to the entire collection is available at this link. [See the note below.]

The American Folklife Center is excited to share these seminal field project collections more widely by making them available online. We hope you enjoy this cultural journey through the Georgia Wiregrass region!

Note: The permanent handle for the Finding Aid is [hdl.loc.gov/loc.afc/eadafc.af014001]

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