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Category: AFC History

A group of women watch a woman who stands next to a monitor on which a photo is displayed

Swedish Women’s Education Association Visit Swedish Treasures from Library of Congress Collections

Posted by: Stephen Winick

This blog post details a visit by members of the the Swedish Women's Education Association of DC (SWEA DC) to the Library of Congress. Curators from the European Reading Room, the Manuscript Division, and the American Folklife Center presented treasures related to Swedish and Swedish American history, literature and folklore. In the post you can read more about these treasures, and follow links to view many of them for yourself.

A woman dances wearing a crown

“Re-writing America”: AFC Symposium on the Federal Writers’ Project, June 16, 2023

Posted by: Guha Shankar

A June 16th Library symposium entitled Rewriting America: Reconsidering the Federal Writers' Project 80 Years Later will bring attention to the enduring legacy and importance of the archival materials and mansucripts produced by a small army of unemployed writers, historians, librarians, teachers, and others for the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) of the 1930s. The symposium will illustrate how this Library collection continues to inform and inspire public outreach and interdisciplinary scholarship in fields ranging from public and oral history to journalism to ethnic studies and folklore. Dr. Alessandro Portelli will deliver the keynote address, which will be livestreamed. Learn more about the in-person symposium and how to attend, as well as how to attend the livestreamed keynote address, in this blog post.

Half-length portrait of a young man playing guitar

Ten Thousand Cattle for Our One Thousandth Post

Posted by: Stephen Winick

It's hard to believe, but this is the 1000th published post here at Folklife Today! To celebrate, we'll talk about one of the songs on the Archive's 1000th disc. It reveals a lot about the history of the archive, the methods of Alan Lomax, and the development of a well known cowboy song. It also introduces us to "Daca," a little-known folksinger active from the 1920s through the 1940s, whom we'll profile in a later post. This track is known as AFS 1000 B2, and is Alan Lomax, then Assistant-in-Charge of the archive, singing "Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle." In the blog you can hear the song, read about where Lomax learned it, find out about its roots in "The Virginian" by novelist Owen Wister, and examine the influence of Lomax's version on the song as it was later sung by cowboys.

Woman playing a banjo onstage

Caught My Ear: The Pineconers Live at Albert Hall, 1983!

Posted by: John Fenn

Every so often I dive into our online collections in search of interesting fieldwork materials to share, especially anything from the large-scale field surveys that the Center facilitated from the late 1970s on through the mid- 1990s (visit an interactive Story Map about these projects). Just the other day I visited the Pinelands Folklife Project collection, used the faceted search options to pull together all audio files also tagged as “songs” and started listening. One particular 32-minute field recording caught my ear, so I’ve shared it in full in this blog.