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Tracing the Long Journey of “We Shall Overcome”

Although folksingers Pete Seeger, Guy Carawan, and Frank Hamilton registered copyright on “We Shall Overcome” in 1960, the song has a long and fascinating history with contributions from many activist-singers. We can trace it back to two separate songs from over a hundred years ago, the lyrics from “I’ll Overcome Some Day” written by the […]

The American Folklife Center Participates in “The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America”

What could the songs sung, composed, and/or danced by Americans from the colonial period to the present teach us about the history of the United States? How could U.S. history help us to better understand American songs? These are questions explored in the new online presentation The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America.  […]

Alan Lomax and the Voyager Golden Records

The following is a guest post from Bertram Lyons, the digital assets manager and a folklife specialist at the American Folklife Center’s archives at the Library of Congress. This post originally appeared on the Association for Cultural Equity site and is reposted with permission. Prior to his arrival at the Library, Lyons was the archivist at the […]

Soldier’s Joy: An American Classic

“Soldier’s Joy” is one of our favorite fiddle tunes, and one of the oldest and most widely distributed tunes in the English-speaking world. There are numerous renditions of this piece located throughout Library of Congress collections, many of which are online.  Let’s take a brief tour of this American classic. “Soldier’s Joy”  appeared in late eighteenth-century sheet […]

Computing culture in the AFC Archive

  This week we’re hosting three digital humanities scholars at the American Folklife Center to discuss potential research projects that would draw upon AFC collections. It got me thinking about digital humanities inquiry in developing and understanding the AFC Archives. Across our history, we have embraced new media, explored data- and metric-driven approaches to studying and computing […]

Auld Acquaintance for the New Year: Burns’s Auld Lang Syne

As the Old Year turns to the New Year, thousands of people around the world will sing along to “Auld Lang Syne,” a Scottish song that has come to be firmly associated with New Year’s celebrations. The song has a fascinating history, and we’re lucky at the Library of Congress to have several unique items […]