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Category: AFC History

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Guthries, Lomaxes, and Seegers

Posted by: Todd Harvey

The "Great Folk Scare" of the 1930s-1950s had few surnames more prominent than Guthrie, Lomax, or Seeger. They were multi-generational families who today continue to practice folk music and illuminate tradition bearers. The American Folklife Center holds archival collections documenting these families and so we have produced guides to aid research access. This blog post explains and introduces the new guides.

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Nicole Saylor Is the New AFC Director

Posted by: Stephen Winick

The American Folklife Center is delighted to announce that Nicole "Nicki" Saylor has been appointed the fourth Director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, effective May 22, 2022. Followers of the American Folklife Center will remember Nicki as the head, and then director, of the Archive of Folk Culture, which is AFC's archive, from 2012 to 2021. "The Center's work of preserving and presenting stories, songs and living traditions from all over the world is more important than ever," Nicki says. "The staff is so innovative and committed to the work. It's a dream job and I am excited!"

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AFC Director Betsy Peterson Has Retired After 10 Years

Posted by: John Fenn

The American Folklife Center is bidding a fond farewell to Elizabeth “Betsy” Peterson, who has retired from the position of Director after ten years in that role.  Her leadership engaged all facets of the Center’s activity–from stewardship of the collections to expansion of public programming and outreach–and she routinely anchored that leadership in an ethos …

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AFC Welcomes a New Director of Archives!

Posted by: John Fenn

Please join the American Folklife Center in welcoming our new Director of Archives, Michael Pahn! He’s only just started with us in this position---his official first day was May 9—but has a long relationship with the Center, going all the way back to an internship he held in the 1990s! He’s also worked with many AFC staff over the years in his capacity as Head of Archives and Digitization at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), the position he held prior to joining the Library of Congress.

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AFC Announces Monica Mohindra as Director of Veterans History Project

Posted by: John Fenn

The American Folklife Center is happy to announce that Monica Mohindra has been named Director of the Veterans History Project (VHP). Monica has served as Acting Director since June 2021. Since then, she has been ably leading the Project’s adaptation to a changing world. This includes an extensive website transformation which is improving discoverability of …

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Outgoing Archive Director Leaves Big Shoes to Fill

Posted by: Stephen Winick

From late December 2012 through early June 2021, Nicole Saylor led a team of archivists, ethnomusicologists and folklorists that curates the nation’s largest ethnographic archives. She worked to preserve the American Folklife Center’s collecting legacy while accelerating the transformation of an already well-established archives for the digital age. She recently took a position at the Library as the Chief of the Digital Innovation Lab, a position established to lead the Library’s innovation with digital collections and to support its digital transformation. As she began her new position, we interviewed her about her time at AFC.

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Crowdsourcing Transcriptions: “At the Library and in the Field: John and Alan Lomax Papers”

Posted by: John Fenn

This guest post comes from Todd Harvey, a Reference Specialist and the curator of Lomax collections at the American Folklife Center. To the Librarian of Congress March 21, 1940 Alan Lomax has in Washington with him today and tomorrow a folk singer for whose excellence he vouchers. This singer, Woodie Guthrie by name, is willing …

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Chicago Blues and Jazz: A New Story Map on the Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection

Posted by: Michelle Stefano

In May, I wrote about a project that was keeping me busy, and providing a nice escape from the mental confines of my well-worn, Baltimore couch. While I cannot believe it is already August, I am happy to announce that the project is all set and ready to share! Chicago Blues and Jazz: Selections from …