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Archive: 2024 (59 Posts)

A man sits on a desk in an office lined with books

AFC Fellowship and Award Recipients 2024

Posted by: Stephen Winick

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. Laurena Davis of Clifton, Colorado, received an Archie Green Fellowship for “Taking Stock: Ranching Women of Western Colorado.” Dr. Sarah Beth Nelson of Whitewater, Wisconsin, received Archie Green support for “Community Builders: Library Workers in Wisconsin.” Documentary filmmaker Sophie Dia Pegrum of Woodland Hills, California, received an Archie Green Fellowship for her project “Guardians of the Bees,” featuring interviews with beekeepers. Folklorist Kathryn Noval of Silver Spring, Maryland, received Archie Green funding for her research project “Professional Body Piercers in the 21st Century: Rooted in Passion.” Dr. Sophie Abramowitz, (Brooklyn, New York) 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." Finally, 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.

View of museum exhibition

AFC and VHP Collections Featured in the New Exhibition, “Collecting Memories: Treasures from the Library of Congress” in the New David M. Rubenstein Treasures Gallery

Posted by: Douglas D. Peach

On June 13th, a new exhibition titled, “Collecting Memories: Treasures from the Library of Congress,” opened to the public in the new David M. Rubenstein Treasures Gallery in the Thomas Jefferson Building. This post highlights items from the collections of the American Folklife Center and the Veterans History Project featured in the exhibition.

A man speaks to an audience

Cormac Ó hAodha and the Múscraí Gaeltacht: Botkin Plus Podcast!

Posted by: Stephen Winick

We're back with another entry in the Botkin Plus series AND another episode of the Folklife Today podcast! In this entry, we'll provide the video of a Botkin Lecture and a podcast interview, both of them featuring Cormac Ó hAodha. Cormac is the most recent Lovelace Fellow (aka Lomax Scholar) at the Library of Congress's John W. Kluge Center. That's a fellowship established within the Kluge Center especially for the study of the Alan Lomax collection, one of the American Folklife Center's signature collections. Cormac comes from the village of Cúil Aodha in the Múscraí Gaeltacht of Co. Cork in Ireland, a recognized heartland of the Irish language and traditional Irish-language singing. He is conducting in-depth research on the material Lomax collected some 73 years ago from singers in the Múscraí singing tradition, the same singing tradition Cormac grew up in and is a part of. Some of the people recorded by Lomax are Cormac's relatives, and his research seeks to illuminate their songs, their language, and their traditions. Follow the link to the post, the video, and the podcast!

Two head-and-shoulders portraits of the same man

Caught My Eye: “Iron Head” Baker and “The Mighty Blue Goose”

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In or about 1942, Alan Lomax sketched out a draft or proposal for a children's picture book, "The Story of the Mighty Blue Goose." The book, which Lomax planned to have fully illustrated by an artist, was to be based on "The Grey Goose," a song he had recorded for the archive alongside his father in 1934. Lomax credited the singer as the book’s main author: “Iron Head” Baker, a Texas prison inmate and trusty who sang about 60 songs for the Lomaxes. In 1936, Baker was paroled and spent three months collecting songs across the South with John A. Lomax, returning to prison in 1937. Like many of Alan Lomax’s projects, the book appears to have been interrupted by World War II and his departure from the Library of Congress. This is a shame, because Lomax was clearly onto something. "The Story of the Mighty Blue Goose" would have been inspirational on several levels. An homage to African American culture credited to a Black man and his white assistants, it would have been an inspiring children's book and a significant accomplishment in the legacies of the Lomaxes and of Iron Head Baker.

Join Us at the Treasures Family Festival on June 15, 2024!

Posted by: Nicole Saylor

If you love to dance, jump, sing and clap, the June 15 Family Day at the Library of Congress is for you! The Treasures Family Festival “Treasures of American Communities” is a free, drop-in program that will run from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The event will showcase both the new David M. Rubenstein Treasures Gallery, highlighting gems from the Library’s vast collection, and the treasures of human creativity and cultural expression. The American Folklife Center (AFC) is thrilled to be a part of these festivities, which kick off with a sing-along lead by our wonderful Board of Trustees member, Natalie Merchant. Natalie is not only an amazing musician but also an evangelist for getting children to learn and love traditional songs and games. The festival is included with the daily timed-entry tickets required to visit the building, but portions of the event require preregistration. Find the links and more information in this blog post!

Side by side head and shoulders portraits of two women.

Announcing a New Cohort of AFC Summer Interns

Posted by: Nicole Saylor

The American Folklife Center is pleased to announce the selection of three summer interns who will work on public programs, outreach activities and descriptive access work. One intern comes to us from the Utah State University folklore studies program, and two are supported by the AFC Internship Fund. Hanna Salmon is a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research examines how Palestinian storytellers foster affective atmospheres through their performances. Maggie Jones has just graduated magna cum laude from First Nations University of Canada’s Indigenous Languages Program with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics. They have an interest in Algonquian languages, Indigenous oral history, language revitalization, and journalism. Melanie Kimball is earning an MA in folklore studies at Utah State University. Her research interests include supernatural legends, folk beliefs, vernacular religion, and ethnomusicology. Her thesis investigates how people use music as an apotropaic and folk remedy for fear. Since 2017, the AFC Internship Fund has supported 12 paid internships. It was started by a generous donation from the late Peter Bartis, a former staff member. As the American Folklife Center approaches its 50th anniversary in 2026, we are committed to building this fund to help train a new generation of cultural workers.