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Archive: 2020 (17 Posts)

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Folksong Collector and Singer Margaret MacArthur

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

Margaret MacArthur (May 7, 1928 – May 23, 2006) was a folksong collector, singer, and player of the Appalachian dulcimer. She performed traditional ballads and songs at the Library of Congress in 2005, one of the first of the American Folklife Center concerts recorded for the web, and the video of that concert is presented …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Caught My Eye: Keepsakes of Motherhood from Bess Bauman Brown Lomax

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

Although the Library of Congress is temporarily closed to the public and staff are, as possible, working from home, the work of the Library continues. It is heartening to see that one of the most labor intensive areas of work, putting archival collections online, continues in spite of the precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic. The …

People wearing Japanese style straw hats stand or climb on carts loaded with sugarcane, some carrying the canes on their backs.

Holehole Bushi: Franklin Odo on the Work Songs of Japanese Sugarcane Workers in Hawai`i

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

Japanese agricultural workers began immigrating to Hawai`i in 1868, primarily to work on sugar plantations. This immigration peaked in the late 19th century. At this time the population of Native Hawaiians was crashing. As Hawaiians had more contact with Europeans they contracted diseases that they had no immunity to. Sugar plantations, mainly owned by American …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Stories from the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic from Ethnographic Collections

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

The Library of Congress collections contain stories of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic as told by ordinary people, documented by folklorists, linguists, and others as they collected personal histories and folklore. Several of these are available online and a selection will be presented here, with links at the end under “Resources” where more can be found. …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Songs for the Easter Season: Polyphonic Singing from the Republic of Georgia

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

Georgian polyphonic singing has a rich and ancient past. It predates Christianity and its pre-Christian roots are alive today in secular songs such as lullabies, harvest, hunting, and wedding songs. The Christian songs survived a dark time while Georgia was part of the Soviet Union, as the tradition was banned from 1921 to 1990. Monks …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Caught My Eye: Reading a Quilt from Maine

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

I recently stumbled on an interesting quilt from Maine as I was looking through collection items in the presentation Quilts and Quilting in America 1978-1996. Quilts are usually made to cover beds and keep warm. They have beautiful designs. Art quilts may be made for beds or made to hang on the wall and are …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Help Folklife Research by Reviewing Lomax Transcripts!

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

When I was writing my blog on “Great Lakes Ships and Shipping” in 2018, I naturally wanted to look at the field notes Alan Lomax wrote when he was collecting these songs. But this was no easy task. His field notes were online, but only as page image scans. The notes were handwritten and they …