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Category: AFC History

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James P. Leary and Folksongs of Another America

Posted by: Stephen Winick

The following installment in Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus post introduces James P. Leary, a distinguished folklorist and researcher who has published extensively on Library of Congress collections in the American Folklife Center. In addition to his lecture video, it includes photos, audio, and video from AFC's collections of Midwestern folk music, including Croatian, French, Scandinavian, Oneida, English, Welsh, and other ethnic groups. Most of the quotations from Leary in this article come from an email interview we did in July 2015, but I also quote occasionally from the lecture itself, which is also here as an embedded video.

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

Treasures from the AFC Archive Traveling Exhibit

Posted by: Stephen Winick

The American Folklife Center is pleased to announce the arrival of our new traveling exhibit, Treasures from the American Folklife Center Archive. The exhibit is a series of lightweight, colorful vinyl banners containing information about the American Folklife Center, the Library of Congress, and (as the title suggests) some of the treasures found in our …

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

Lead Belly, Alan Lomax and the Relevance of a Renewed Interest in American Vernacular Music

Posted by: Stephen Winick

The following is a guest blog post by Dom Flemons, a musician and singer who currently tours and records as “The American Songster.”  Dom was one of the founders of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, with whom he has played at the Library of Congress’s Coolidge Auditorium, and with whom he won a GRAMMY Award.  Dom …

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

More AFC Recordings on the National Recording Registry

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In my last post for Folklife Today, I shared some of the great recordings on the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry, a program of the Library that honors historically significant recordings and draws attention to the importance of audio preservation and audio archives in the stewardship of American culture and history. Specifically, I discussed …

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

Honoring Vernacular Sounds: AFC Recordings on the National Recording Registry

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Last week, the Library announced this year’s inductees to the National Recording Registry.  There, along with classics by The Doors, Radiohead, Steve Martin, and Joan Baez, was a fascinating AFC collection: The Benjamin Ives Gilman Collection Recorded at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago. This collection of 101 wax cylinder recordings was created by …

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

Moving Day and a Major Anniversary

Posted by: Nicole Saylor

This is a guest post by American Folklife Center’s Judith Gray, an ethnomusicologist who curates the largest body of early recordings of indigenous American songs and stories recorded in the United States. After all the identifying, rehousing, cataloging, labeling, barcoding, and databasing activity on the part of AFC staff over the past year, the actual …

Carlos Núñez Concert Honors Alan Lomax’s Spanish Fieldwork

Posted by: Stephen Winick

As I have mentioned several times on this blog, the 100th birthday of Alan Lomax is fast approaching.  We’ll be celebrating the birthday itself with an exhibit, and then extending our celebrations throughout the year.  However, today I thought it might be fun to show you that we’ve already gotten a jump on our celebrations …

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

Ask Us Anything: Our Most Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by: Kate Stewart

October was American Archives Month, and last Thursday was Ask an Archivist Day. In honor of that event (although a little late), we decided to compile a list of Frequently Asked Questions that we often get– not necessarily reference questions, but those from our own friends and family or when we introduce ourselves as employees …