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Who’s Afraid of Friday the Thirteenth?

Friday the 13th may be considered an unlucky day in some parts of Europe and in North America.   For some, the day can cause great anxiety, called paraskevidekatriaphobia, meaning fear of Friday the 13th. The idea that Friday the 13th is unlucky is not very old. It seems to have arisen in the 19th century. […]

Geraldine Niva Johnson: In Memoriam

Note: the following is a guest post by Carl Fleischhauer, a former staff member who participated in many of AFC’s field projects in the 1970s and 1980s.  This blog celebrates the life of Geraldine Niva Johnson, who passed away on November 16, 2016. Gerri was a folklorist who specialized in women’s crafts, especially woven rag […]

AFC Welcomes John Fenn, New Head of Research & Programs

The American Folklife Center is pleased to welcome John B. Fenn III as the Head of the Research and Programs section.  Fenn will be supervising the members of our staff involved in public programming, publications, research, and training in the field of folklife. John Fenn’s academic training is in folklore and ethnomusicology (Ph.D., Indiana University, […]

AFC acquires the songbooks from your childhood

This is a guest post by Todd Harvey, acquisitions coordinator at the American Folklife Center (AFC). The American Folklife Center is pleased to announce a major acquisition, the Cooperative Recreation Service collection (AFC 2016/051) donated to the Center by fiddler, scholar, and publisher Bruce Greene. The Cooperative Recreation Service is a publishing company founded during […]

The Name of Far Away Moses

Note: This is part of a series of posts about Far Away Moses, a fascinating celebrity of the 19th century, who served as the model for one of the keystone heads on the Thomas Jefferson Building.  Moses, a Sephardic Jew from Constantinople, knew some of the most prominent Americans of his era, including Theodore Roosevelt […]

2016 Mummers Play Video

In our last post, we presented the text and photos of our 2016 mummers play, St. George and the Arrearage Monster: A Mumming in Process.  Below, see a video of the play, shot on AFC’s trusty tablet by Jonathan Gold, our audio engineer.  The acoustics in the Library’s Great Hall make it rather difficult to […]

St. George and the Arrearage Monster: A Mumming in Process

Note: Every year, in the week of the Library’s holiday party, staff members of the American Folklife Center put our research and performance skills into play, bringing collections to life in a dramatic performance that tours the halls of the Library of Congress.  Dressed in costumes that range from striking to silly, we sing, act, […]

Jon B. Lovelace Fellowship for the Study of the Alan Lomax Collection

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress invites qualified scholars to apply for a post-doctoral fellowship for advanced research based on the Alan Lomax Collection. The Lovelace Fellowship, established in 2015 for the study of the Alan Lomax Collection, pays tribute to the 60-year friendship between philanthropist Jon B. Lovelace and James […]

Finding aid to Eleanor Dickinson fieldwork collection now online

The following is a guest post from AFC processing archivist Marcia Segal. The remarkable audio and video recordings in the Eleanor Dickinson collection (AFC 1970/001), recorded circa 1969-1980, capture a moment in time in the years before the Internet and other technological developments changed the way people communicate. The immediacy of religious services, (uninterrupted by […]