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From “Mule-een” to New Orleans: Just What Was Lead Belly Saying?

Introduction The great American songster Lead Belly, first recorded by John A. and Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1933, is a towering figure in global popular music. In some cases, his influence can be clouded, or hard to understand, because of his own enigmatic personality and because of the fragmentary nature of […]

Tracking Lomax’s 1952-53 Spain trip

Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita is the current scholar in the Jon B. Lovelace Fellowship for the Study of the Alan Lomax Collection, and has been using her time at the Library of Congress to explore materials held at the AFC related to Lomax’s 1952–53 field recording trip to Spain. In this recent guest post on the Kluge […]

Honored and Blessed: My Summer Spent with Arkansas Veterans

The following is a guest post by Victoria Anderson, a summer intern in Sen. John Boozman’s (AR) Little Rock office. History may seem like a row of dusty old books sitting on a shelf, something people pass over because it looks boring, but I want to remind everyone that it is not. History is living […]

Nicholas Ray: frustrated folklorist

This blog post about the filmmaker Nicholas Ray is part of a series called “Hidden Folklorists,” which examines the folklore work of surprising people, including people better known for other pursuits. Nicholas Ray (1911-1979)—iconoclastic filmmaker, writer, friend to trouble, and…folklorist? To those who know the name, Nicholas Ray is most readily recognized as the director who brought […]

World War I Homecomings

The following is a guest post by Irene Lule, a Library of Congress Junior Fellow working with the Veterans History Project (VHP) this summer. In today’s highly visual world, a popular type of YouTube video is the “soldier coming home” video. These clips are fairly basic in their premise. Someone captures the moment a service […]

She Sells Seashells and Mary Anning: Metafolklore with a Twist

A little while back, the internet was abuzz with the inspirational story of Mary Anning, a pioneering 19th-century paleontologist from Lyme Regis in England. Some of my favorite blogs and magazines got in on the act: Atlas Obscura, QI (Quite Interesting), Dangerous Women, Cracked, and Forbes, to name just a few, published versions of the […]

C’est la guerre-That’s the War!

The following is a guest post by Justina Moloney, a Library of Congress Junior Fellow working with the Veterans History Project (VHP) this summer. I own a special collection of letters my father sent to me during his deployment to Afghanistan six years ago, when I was in my second year of college. They were […]

National Storytelling Festival photographer visits the Center

This is a guest post by Todd Harvey, acquisitions coordinator and folklife specialist at the American Folklife Center. Fifteen years ago, a moving van carrying four tons of archival material documenting the National Storytelling Festival arrived at the Library of Congress in the largest single acquisition the American Folklife Center has yet undertaken. The National […]