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American Folklife Center Announces 2018 Fellowships & Awards Recipients

The American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress is pleased to announce the 2018 recipients of its three competitive annual fellowships and awards programs: the Archie Green Fellowships; the Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund Award; and the Henry Reed Fund Award. This year, these three competitive awards went to nine researchers throughout the United States, whose proposals were reviewed and selected by internal and external panels at the American Folklife Center.

Archie Green Fellowships

Archie Green wearing his Library of Congress Living Legend Award. Photo by Derek Green, August, 2007.

The Archie Green Fellowships were established to honor the memory of Archie Green (1917-2009), a pioneering folklorist who championed the establishment of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Green documented and analyzed the culture and traditions of American workers and encouraged others to do the same. Archie Green Fellowships are designed to stimulate innovative research projects documenting occupational culture in contemporary America. This year, Archie Green Fellowships went to four researchers in four different states:

Candacy Taylor, an independent scholar from Denver, Colorado, received funding for “The Business of the Green Book: Documenting and Celebrating African American Entrepreneurs.” Her project will interview people who work in more than 30 contemporary businesses that were listed in The Green Book, a travel guide published between 1937 and 1967 that listed businesses—e.g., restaurants, hotels, barbershops, taverns, drug stores, and garages–that welcomed African American customers. Only 3% of the 9,500 businesses listed in The Green Book are still in operation and Taylor’s will interview their current owners and staffs to document their histories, explore how their work cultures, and examine the business’s current relationships to their changing communities. This project is part of a larger project on The Green Book that Taylor has undertaken with support from a number of prestigious institutions, including Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution. The resulting interviews will enrich AFC’s occupational folklife archives and supplement the Civil Rights History Project that AFC recently completed in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History

Meredith A.E. McGriff, a folklorist from Bloomington, Indiana, received funding for “Production Potters of the Midwestern United States.” Her project will document the occupational folklife of production potters in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The researcher will focus on commercial production potters who are working full-time in this regional craft-based profession, with particular emphasis on those who participate in guilds or pottery tours, to explore how these workers balance individual craftsmanship and artistry with the need for developing and maintaining an occupational community.

Virginia Nickerson, an independent scholar and documentarian from Montpellier, Vermont, received funding for “Trash Talk: Workers in Vermont’s Changing Waste Management Industry.” She will document the occupational stories and experiences of people engaged in different sectors of the waste management chain–trash collection, sorting, marketing, processing, management, and regulation–to provide a picture of the daily lives of workers in an economically and environmentally important, but often hidden industry during a time of significant change.

Charitie Hyman, an independent folklorist and mental health worker from Madison, Wisconsin, received support for her project “Power Place, and Prestige: The Occupational Folklore of Psychiatric Nurses in Wisconsin.” Drawing on her substantial knowledge and experience in the fields of both folklore and mental health, Hyman will document work-related narratives from a diverse group of nursing professionals, and explore issues of race, power, and prestige in workplace relationships. The highly skilled traditional occupation of nursing is not currently well represented in the AFC archive and this project will help correct this oversight.


Gerald E. And Corinne L. Parsons Fund Awards

The Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons fund was founded by AFC reference librarian Gerry Parsons (1940-1995) in honor of his parents. Parsons Fund Awards, which provide support to bring people to the Library of Congress to make use of primary ethnographic materials housed at AFC and elsewhere at the Library, were awarded to:

Folklorists Ann Ferrell (Western Kentucky University) and Diane Goldstein (Indiana University) for a one-week research trip to utilize AFC collections in support of a book-length project exploring key moments in the field of folklore from the late-1960s through the mid-1980s.

Emily Hilliard, West Virginia’s State Folklorist, for one-week research trip to research AFC’s collection of sound recordings, photographs, field notes, and ephemera related to West Virginia, focusing particularly on archival content related to African Americans and other cultural communities whose “presence and contributions are often marginalized in historical and vernacular culture narratives of the Mountain State.” Her research will inform ongoing and future work of the West Virginia Folklife Program and culminate in a series of multimedia blog posts.

Charlotte Rogers (University of Virginia), for a trip to the Library to utilize AFC collections in support of a book project called Dancing Through the Storm, which focuses on creative cultural expressions– including music, dance, literature, and photography — inspired by and in response to hurricanes and other storms in the Caribbean region.

Henry Reed Fund Award

The Henry Reed Fund was established in 2004 in honor of old-time fiddler Henry Reed (1884-1968) with an initial gift from founding AFC director and fiddler Alan Jabbour (1942-2017). It provides small awards to support activities directly involving folk artists, especially when the activities reflect, draw upon, or strengthen the collections of the American Folklife Center.  The 2018 Henry Reed Fund Award went to:

Jamie Fox, of Hays, Montana, for her project “Preserving Métis fiddling on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Montana.” A respected Métis fiddler herself, Fox will present workshops in fiddle and dance traditions for the Fort Belknap community of Hays, Montana, as well as to digitize her family’s personal collection of Métis fiddlers from Hays.

All American Folklife Center fellowships and awards are competitive and have an annual spring deadline. To find out more about past recipients, current projects, and how to apply for next year’s awards, please visit our research awards page.


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