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Some Songs for Mother’s Day

The tradition of a national celebration of Mother’s Day in the United States grew out of reactions to the aftermath of the Civil War. Poet, suffragist, and author of the lyrics of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Julia Ward Howe attempted to unite women in the cause of peace, beginning with her “Appeal to […]

From Cornwall to the Ozarks: More May Celebrations

  As you can read in Stephanie Hall’s Post “May Day: A Festival of Flowers,” on May Day, or May 1, people in Europe traditionally celebrated the coming of summer with songs, dances, and ceremonies.  But confining our understanding to one day alone would limit the materials we can share with you regarding springtime holidays, […]

Narratives of Women and Girls: the Center for Applied Linguistics Collection

For Women’s History Month, I thought it would be interesting to highlight some examples of interviews with women and girls in American English Dialects: The Center for Applied Linguistics Collection. This online collection is one of several dialect collections in the American Folklife Center archive. With a little digging, such collections can yield exciting examples of […]

Songs of US Presidents

For Presidents’ Day, take a look at the new presentation The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America. [1] This article will provide links giving you a start. George Washington had songs written for him while he was a general.  An example is “General Washington,” which was printed on a single side of a […]

Love Songs at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century

For Valentine’s Day, let’s examine love songs in the light of historical changes of the early twentieth century, through the new presentation The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America. As the nineteenth century gave way to the twentieth, love underwent many changes: young people wanted relationships without much involvement from parents and elders, […]

Auld Acquaintance for the New Year: Burns’s Auld Lang Syne

As the Old Year turns to the New Year, thousands of people around the world will sing along to “Auld Lang Syne,” a Scottish song that has come to be firmly associated with New Year’s celebrations. The song has a fascinating history, and we’re lucky at the Library of Congress to have several unique items […]

St. George and the Data Dragon: A Digital Assets Mumming

St. George and the Data Dragon: A Digital Assets Mumming Performed by American Folklife Center Staff with Guests Script drawn from multiple plays in the James Madison Carpenter Collection. Compiled by Stephen Winick, with additional material by Stephen Winick, Jennifer Cutting, Theadocia Austen, Hope O’Keeffe, and the company. Digital assets jargon courtesy of Bertram Lyons.  […]

Mumming at the American Folklife Center

Every year, in the week before Christmas, staff members of the American Folklife Center put our research and performance skills into play, bringing collections to life in a dramatic performance that tours the halls of the Library of Congress.  Dressed in costumes that range from striking to silly, we sing, act, rhyme, and dance for […]