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Category: Legends

The Royal Exchange in London, mid-19th century

The Legend of Monsieur Omnès

Posted by: Stephen Winick

This post examines the history of buses and of the word "bus," looking closely at a legend about a man named Omnes who was important in the naming of the "omnibus."

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

The Hair-Raising Tale of “The Witch Who Kept a Hotel”

Posted by: Stephen Winick

As we get closer and closer to Halloween, the Library of Congress feels spookier and spookier! Just look at the black cat in our Halloween graphic above! In fact, the Library has just released a new web guide to Halloween resources, which can be found here. The new web page will act as your guide through our rich …

A woman in 19th century attire with a basket and a rock hammer

She Sells Seashells and Mary Anning: Metafolklore with a Twist

Posted by: Stephen Winick

A little while back, the internet was abuzz with the inspirational story of Mary Anning, a pioneering 19th-century paleontologist from Lyme Regis in England. Some of my favorite blogs and magazines got in on the act: Atlas Obscura, QI (Quite Interesting), Dangerous Women, Cracked, and Forbes, to name just a few, published versions of the …

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

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 …

The Name of Far Away Moses

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: This is part of a series of posts about Far Away Moses, a fascinating celebrity of the 19th century, who served as the model for one of the keystone heads on the Thomas Jefferson Building.  Moses, a Sephardic Jew from Constantinople, knew some of the most prominent Americans of his era, including Theodore Roosevelt …

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

Bats: Spooky Superheroes?

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

Bats show up everywhere at Halloween. Often they are playing a bit part, in the background of decorations and advertising as a kind of mascot for the holiday.  But they do show up in their major role in horror movies and television programs, as the dreaded vampire transforms into a bat and flies away. The …