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A man sits on a desk in an office lined with books
Archie Green in his office at the University of Illinois, August 1972. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer.

AFC Fellowship and Award Recipients 2024

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The American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress is pleased to announce the 2024 recipients of its competitive annual fellowships and awards programs: the Archie Green Fellowship and the Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund Award. This year, these awards went to six projects throughout the United States, whose proposals were reviewed and selected by internal and external panels at the American Folklife Center.

Archie Green Fellowships

The Archie Green Fellowships were established in 2010 to honor the memory of Archie Green (1917-2009), a pioneering folklorist and labor historian, who championed the establishment of the AFC. The Fellowships are intended to support original, independent field research on the culture and traditions of contemporary American workers and occupational groups. The digital Occupational Folklife Project (OFP) oral history collection is based on AGF fieldwork and preserved in the AFC archive. Interviews from this collection are posted to the LC’s website and used as the basis of AFC’s ongoing America Works podcast and other AFC programming. To date, the Archie Green Fellows have added more than 2,000 substantive oral history interviews to the AFC archive, of which approximately 1,200 are now available through the OFP portal. (Find more information at this link!)

A woman leans on a diesel engine
Anita Hackett is the first female diesel engine mechanic for the Town of Chapel Hill’s transit system. She was interviewed by Katy Clune and Julia Gartrell as part of their Archie Green Fellowship in 2021. Find the interview and photos at this link.

This year, the Archie Green Fellowship panel received and reviewed a diverse and exciting set of applications. After discussion, it awarded funding to these four applicants:

Laurena Davis of Clifton, Colorado, received an Archie Green Fellowship for “Taking Stock: Ranching Women of Western Colorado.” A non-fiction storyteller and herself a member of a multi-generation Colorado ranching family, Davis will conduct in-depth oral history interviews with 12-15 women ranchers who raise cattle, sheep, buffalo, yaks, and elk in the mountains and mesas of western Colorado. “Women make up 36% of all agricultural producers” she notes, and “58% of all farms and ranches have at least one female decision maker.” Working with a small documentary team, she will record the occupational experiences of women ranchers whose “stories are as diverse as their as their stock.”

Dr. Sarah Beth Nelson of Whitewater, Wisconsin, received Archie Green support for “Community Builders: Library Workers in Wisconsin.” Nelson, an Assistant Professor at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, with a PhD in Information and Library Science, will document the professional duties, experiences, and work culture of a diverse group of 20 library workers throughout her state and record in-depth oral histories from librarians working in public and community libraries as well as librarians working in school, academic, archives and special libraries (e.g. prison, church, hospital, and law libraries). She will interview both those library workers with MLIS degrees and those without. While the pandemic and current challenges will be touched upon, the emphasis will be on librarian’s day-to-day work and responsibilities.

Documentary filmmaker Sophie Dia Pegrum of Woodland Hills, California, received an Archie Green Fellowship for her project “Guardians of the Bees.” She will conduct in-depth multimodal interviews documenting the generational knowledge and occupational lives of 20 beekeepers in family-owned businesses in the Western United States. Through semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and creative documentation, the project will document both the ancient practice and traditions of bee-keeping and modern technological adaptation being made by contemporary American apiculturists at this sensitive ecological moment.

Folklorist Kathryn Noval of Silver Spring, Maryland, received funding for her research project “Professional Body Piercers in the 21st Century: Rooted in Passion.” She will interview 20 professional body piercers, primarily from the Mid-Atlantic region, to document their skills, training, work experiences and occupational community. Presently, there is very little documentation on professional body piercers and their art or on the hundreds of shops and businesses across the country solely dedicated to body piercing that have proliferated over the last 30 years.

The Gerald E. And Corinne L. Parsons Fund Award for Ethnology at the Library of Congress

A boat in which one man is standing and one is sitting
AFC folklorist Gerald E. Parsons, Jr. (1940-1995), who endowed the Parsons Fund Award, poles a skiff on Maryland’s Patuxent River, while fellow AFC staffer Carl Fleischhauer records the conversation of nearby hunters. 1984. Photo by Paula Johnson.

The Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons fund was established by AFC reference librarian Gerry Parsons (1940-1995) in honor of his parents Gerald and Corinne Parsons. It enables individuals to come to the Library of Congress to pursue research at the American Folklife Center and other LC divisions with ethnographic holdings. This year, the Parsons Award was split between two innovative projects:

Dr. Sophie Abramowitz, (Brooklyn, New York) is a writer, researcher, and producer engaged with traditional and vernacular American music, who works as the Digital Marketing & Distribution Specialist at Smithsonian Folkways. She received a Parsons Award to support onsite research in AFC collections for the expanded LP reissue of Jailhouse Blues: Women’s a cappella songs from the Parchman Penitentiary, Library of Congress Field Recordings, 1936 and 1939. Her research will provide vital context for the expanded reissue, to be released on the SPINSTER record label. Dr. Abramowitz’s work has been featured in a post on Folklife Today, and she has been a guest on the Folklife Today podcast.

L. Renée, (Virgina), a poet and writer, received a Parsons Award to support her research on Black communities in coal mining and tobacco farming towns of Southwest Virginia and West Virginia. She will spend time at the American Folklife Center researching the George Korson Collection of Songs of Bituminous Coal Miners and the Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project Collection as well as other materials identified during her visit. L. Renée’s research will be used to generate new work for her interdisciplinary manuscript of poems, prose, and archival materials, and be infused in storytelling performances for public audiences.

About the Center and the Library

The American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress was created by Congress in 1976 and designated as the national center for folklife documentation and research. The Center documents and shares the many expressions of human experience to inspire, revitalize and perpetuate living traditions, and is charged with stewardship of archival collections, creation of publications and public programs, and the exchange of knowledge and expertise. The Center’s work demonstrates and encourages diversity of thought and expression, which is an inherent part of the human experience, and fosters community participation in the collective creation of cultural memory. Visit our website for more information, or come to one of our events!

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at, and register creative works of authorship at


  1. WOW! This is a wonderful group of public folklorists who will be adding to the collective knowledge that is preserved in the AFC Archives. Congratulations to all of the winners, and many thanks to the dedicated AFC staff who work so hard to ensure these awards are given each year to further our cultural conservation.

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