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Category: AFC History

Two men seated, one playing guitar, the other playing fiddle.

“No One Can Ever Forget It”: Stavin’ Chain’s Performance of “Batson”

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: This is the second in a series of posts about the murder ballad “Batson.” This one discusses the performance recorded by John A. and Alan Lomax from a trio of musicians including Wilson Jones, a.k.a. Stavin’ Chain, in 1934. A little while back, I presented for the first time anywhere a version of the …

A man on a horse, accompanied by the caption "'General' Harrison at the Grand Canyon."

“Oh, Mama”: A Mother’s Love and the Murder Ballad “Batson”

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: This is the first in a series of posts about the murder ballad “Batson.” This one discusses previously unpublished versions of the song from manuscript collections at AFC. The ballad “Batson,” collected by John and Alan Lomax from Wilson Jones (whose nickname was “Stavin’ Chain”) and two accompanists, has long been a well-known and …

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

South-Central Georgia Folklife Project Is Now Online

Posted by: Nicole Saylor

This is a guest post by AFC folklorist Ann Hoog, who has been the division coordinator for a mass digitization and access project to reformat and make accessible online a large body of American Folklife Center field projects from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s. The American Folklife Center is pleased to announce a new online presentation of the South-Central …

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

Folklife and Fieldwork, Fourth Edition

Posted by: Stephen Winick

If you’ve been following the American Folklife Center’s website or our Facebook page (you can “like” it here to receive daily folklife inspiration!), you may have noticed an updated version of our classic fieldwork manual, Folklife & Fieldwork. For decades, this handy small book has offered guidance to people interested in documenting folklife who don’t …

Headline proclaiming "Far Away Moses Dead" with a crawler stating "Mark Twain Shocked...Paul McCartney Tweets: 'Live and Let Die.'"

Fake News, Folk News, and the Fate of Far Away Moses

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: this is the fifth, and probably the last, post on Folklife Today concerning Far Away Moses, a nineteenth century Jewish guide and merchant whose face was the model for one of the “keystone heads” sculpted in stone on the outside of the Library of Congress’s Thomas Jefferson building. For the other posts about Moses, …

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

Beyoncé, Paul Bowles, and More: Current GRAMMY Nominees with AFC Connections on the Library of Congress Blog

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: This is just a teaser for a fuller post over at the Library of Congress Blog. Read the full story there! This year the GRAMMY awards promise to be exciting for music fans everywhere, but especially fans of the American Folklife Center.  At least four of the nominees have connections to the AFC archive: …

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

Memories of Alan Jabbour in the Field: Visiting the Hammons Family

Posted by: Stephen Winick

This recollection is in memory of the Center’s founding director, Alan Jabbour, who died on January 13, 2017, and whose career and contributions are described in this blog post.  Today’s text and photographs are by Carl Fleischhauer, a retired American Folklife Center staff member and a colleague of Alan’s for 46 years. Alan Jabbour and …

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

Caught My Eye: Nagra Field Recorder

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: This is a guest post by John Fenn.  John is the new head of the Research and Programs section of the American Folklife Center. My first weeks here at the American Folklife Center have been a whirlwind of meetings, trainings, and orientations to all aspects of the Library of Congress. As I’ve wandered through …