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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 […]

Songs of the Winter Season Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell

There are many examples of songs of the winter season available among the online presentations from the American Folklife Center’s archive, but the largest group of these is found in California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties, a documentary project of the California Work Projects Administration headed by Sidney Robertson Cowell from 1938 […]

Buttered Fresh Frozen Lima Beans: Commemorative Holiday Menus in the Veterans History Project

Chow, c-rations, MREs—no matter the form it takes or the name given to it, food is important in military life. Materials within the Veterans History Project (VHP) collections are peppered with culinary references: the monotony of military rations, the ache of hunger when food was scarce, and often the longing and anticipation for home-cooked meals […]

The Veterans History Project

Within the vast array of recordings housed at the American Folklife Center (everything from sea shanties to slave narratives to street cries), you can also find voices that are a little different from the rest: the narratives of over 90,000 American veterans—all part of the Veterans History Project. Created by Congress in 2000, the Veterans […]