{ subscribe_url:'//blogs.loc.gov/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/folklife.php' }

Our First Podcast Episode–and a Halloween Lecture by Jack Santino!

A skeleton dressed in Mexican attire dances on top of skulls with a knife in his hand. Other skeletons dance behind him.

This is an image by the Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada, in the tradition of Calaveras, which Jack Santino discusses at 16:15 of his lecture below.  Find more Calaveras broadsides at this link.

The Folklife Today Halloween Podcast is Live

As we hope you’ve come to expect, we have something very special in store this Halloween. As I mentioned in our last post, we’re launching the Folklife Today Podcast on October 29, and hey…that’s today! The first episode is called “Haunting Tunes for Halloween.” It’s hosted by John Fenn and me, and it shares some great songs and tunes with comments and recollections by the two of us, along with Nancy Groce, Carl Fleischhauer, Jennifer Cutting, Nicole Saylor, and Gerret and Jeff Warner.  It also includes a clip from Jack Santino’s classic 1982 lecture on Halloween, of which I’ll say more in a moment.

Find the podcast at this link, and use the “listen to podcast” link to hear it.

Find its home on iTunes at this link.

Some of the songs in the episode have already appeared on the blog with somewhat different curatorial commentary. We’re proud of the interviews we did scaring up the opinions and recollections of our guests, but you can find our previous takes on these tunes at the following posts:

Ghost Stories in Song for Halloween.

More Scary Songs for Halloween.

Turkey in the Straw.

We’ll be adding episodes about once a month for the time being, with a plan to create more frequent episodes if time allows in the future.

Bonus Audio: Jack Santino’s Lecture

As I mentioned, “Haunting Tunes for Halloween,” features a short clip from Jack Santino’s 1982 lecture on the holiday, which was held right here at the Library of Congress. In honor of the holiday, we’re presenting the full-length lecture here on the blog. Find it in the player below.

A head-and-shoulders portrait of Jack Santino.

Jack Santino. Image courtesy of Jack Santino.

Jack makes an interesting point at the beginning of the talk: the lecture became part of his own way of honoring the holiday. That has become true for us as well: Jack’s lecture is an annual tradition for us. We published a shorter form of the lecture as an essay, and reading and re-reading it, thinking about it, and even responding to it have become important parts of Halloween for us at AFC. Our first blog post here at Folklife Today was in response to Jack’s article, and was posted 5 years ago tomorrow.

Speaking of anniversaries, today is the 36th anniversary of Jack Santino’s lecture, which was held in our Whittall Pavilion (downstairs from the room where I write this) on October 29, 1982. Jack was then working for the Smithsonian Institution as a folklorist, but moved on to chair the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University, to be president of the American Folklore Society, and to author two books about Halloween and another about holidays in American life. Because of all this, I thought it would be fun to digitize the audio of Jack’s 1982 lecture and present it on the blog. Now that I’ve listened to it, I’m delighted (but not surprised) to report that it’s a treasure, and I’m sure I’ll be listening to it at least annually from now on.

Throughout the lecture, Jack refers to slides he is displaying on a screen. In some cases, the images are proprietary, and his descriptions are full enough that you don’t need to see them anyway, but in some cases we had the pictures on hand, or a good substitute. Below the player find a selection of the images.  In the captions, I’ll put in the time code of where Jack mentions each image. The image at the very top of the post is from the Mexican tradition of Calaveras, which Jack discusses at 16:15.  You can see more such images from Library of Congress collections at this link.

Dr. Jack Santino holds a professorship in Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University and is Director of the Bowling Green Center for Culture Studies. His work focuses on the practices of American holidays, celebrations, and festivals; as emergent rituals and memorialization; as well as occupational culture and popular music. From 1996 until 2000, Dr. Santino was the editor of the Journal of American Folklore. From 2002 to 2003, he was the President of the American Folklore Society. He has worked on ethnographic films, notably the multiple Emmy Award-winning Miles of Smiles, Years of Struggle: The Story of the Black Pullman Porter. He has published scholarly articles in major folklore journals, and is the author or editor of many books, including The Hallowed Eve: Dimensions of a Calendar Festival in Northern Ireland; Halloween and Other Festivals of Death and Life; All Around the Year: Holidays and Celebrations in American Life; New Old-Fashioned Ways: Holidays and Popular Culture; Signs of War and Peace: Social Conflict and the Uses of Symbols in Public; and Spontaneous Shrines and the Public Memorialization of Death.

So now we recommend you make yourself some hot mulled cider or other seasonal treat. (Remember, there was no such thing as pumpkin spice latte in 1982.) Then get comfy by the fire and listen to our podcast (above), and Jack Santino’s fascinating, touching, and at times prescient commentary on the holiday of Halloween (below). You’ll find images directly beneath that.

Audio

Images

 

A table covered with candles, framed photographs, flowers, and small skulls, used as a Day of the Dead altar.

Jack references a Day of the Dead Altar at 16:36.  This one is from 2009 at the Burien Interim Art Site. Photo by John B. Shared on Flickr with a Creative Commons License.

 

Six children dressed as creepy adults

We believe the “turn of the century” photos referenced by Jack at 18:32 are this set of “Thanksgiving Maskers” from the 1910s, by an unknown photographer from the Bain News Service. I’ve put a couple in the blog, but you can see them all at this link, with full bibliographic metadata.

 

Two children in scary masks

We believe the “turn of the century” photos referenced by Jack at 18:32 are this set of “Thanksgiving Maskers” from the 1910s, by an unknown photographer from the Bain News Service. I’ve put a couple in the blog, but you can see them all at this link, with full bibliographic metadata.

 

This photo called "Halloween" shows three boys on porch steps cutting faces in pumpkins.

This photo called “Halloween” shows three boys on porch steps cutting faces in pumpkins. It was a copyright deposit from 1917 whose copyright was not renewed, and its reproduction number is LC-USZ62-79501. Referenced by Jack at 19:20.  Find the original here.

 

Black and white engraving of a hobgoblin's face

This engraving of a hobgoblin by Francisco Goya is referenced at 25:43.  Jack Santino’s slide showed this detail from the original engraving.  The work was published in 1799 and is in the Public Domain.

 

Sepia engraving showing Three Hobgoblins eating and drinking

This engraving of hobgoblins by Francisco Goya is referenced at 25:43.  Jack Santino’s slide showed a detail from this original engraving.  The work was published in 1799 and is in the Public Domain.

 

Sepia engraving of a witch who seems to be killing a man. They are surrounded by a skull, a small cauldron and two cats. A giant ram looms behind them.

This engraving of a witch by Francisco Goya is referenced by Jack at 33:25. It was published in 1799 and is in the Public Domain.

 

Engraving showing three men, one on his knees with a saintly halo, another dressed in armor and cloak, a third in a hooded cloak carrying a candle. On a table in the background, disembodied hands seem to tend a lit candle.

This frontispiece is referenced at 37:20. It is from the book Saducismus Triumphatus: Or Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions (1681)

 

An adult dressed as a witch, with a scary mask and hooded cloak, walking with a cane.

The 1939 photo “Winner of masquerade at Halloween party. Hillview cooperative, Osage Farms, Missouri” by the great photographer Arthur Rothstein, is mentioned by Jack at 41:00. Its LC Reproduction Number is LC-USF34-028969-D Find the original here.

 

A farmer and a child hold up a Jack O'lantern which is lit from within. A second child holds up his hat in celebration, but the youngest child seems frightened, and flees into his mother's arms. In the background, another farmer holds up a pumpkin.

The engraving “The Pumpkin Effigy” by L.W. Atwater is referenced by Jack at 42:20. It was published in 1867 and is in the Public Domain.  

 

Two Jack O'Lanterns on the porch steps outside a house.

Jack O’Lanterns illuminated from within are mentioned by Jack at 43:15.  This Photo by Birrell Walsh was shared to Flickr with a Creative Commons License.

 

Harvest figure made of old clothes, with a smiling Jack O'Lantern for a head.

This photo of a harvest figure is referenced by Jack at 43:40. It was supplied by Jack Santino.

 

A giant rod puppet of a skeleton is held up high above the heads of a crowd on a city street.

This image of the New York City Greenwich Village Halloween parade 1981 was supplied by Jack Santino. It’s the only image in the collection referring to the parade, which he discusses extensively at the end of the lecture. Courtesy of Jack Santino.

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.