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Solar Eclipse: A Moment of Awe, Wonder, and Belief

According to Hindu mythology, there is an unseen “planet” out there in the form of the head of a serpent god, Rahu Ketu. This god wanted to gobble up the sun.  To prevent this Vishnu cut off his head. The head, Rahu, and the body, Ketu, became two entities out there circling the Earth (in […]

A Few Examples of Dads’ Traditions

A celebration of fathers and fatherhood took a long time to be established as a nation-wide observance.  Mother’s Day was being locally observed as it was being promoted in the 19th and early 20th century, and became a regular holiday in May in 1914 by presidential proclamation. Father’s Day was locally celebrated around the country […]

A Q&A with new staff folklorist-archivist Kelly Revak

Kelly Revak is a new processing archivist at the American Folklife Center. She has a master’s degree in folklore and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. Cumulatively, she has 20 years of experience in archives, including 7 years in various capacities at the Berkeley Folklore Archive. Since starting her job […]

Agnes Vanderburg’s Outdoor School for Traditional Indian Ways

“A lot of things come out of my chest,” Agnes Vanderburg explained in 1979 when folklorist Kay Young asked about her reasons for starting a school to pass on her knowledge of Salish Indian traditions (recording at the link, go to 1:50 minutes). She had felt frustrated at carrying knowledge that was disappearing as Indians […]

Native American Heritage Month News: AFC’s Judith Gray is an “Honored One”

Judith Gray received the prestigious 2016 Honored One Award from the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums (ATALM), at its annual conference in October. In Judith’s own words, the honor represents one of the most ”deeply significant moments” in her career, which is saying a lot, given the impressive range of her accomplishments to date. Detailing […]

Memoriam for a Code Talker: Joe Hosteen Kellwood

The following is a guest post by Owen Rogers, Liaison Specialist for the Veterans History Project (VHP). In second grade, I asked my teacher why American soldiers were fighting – and dying –in Somalia. Images of GIs slain in Bakaara Market clashed with the invincible G.I. Joes I carried in my knapsack, and in my […]

“Oral Tradition” on the Walls of the Jefferson Building

The following is a guest post by Jennifer Cutting.  A longtime member of the AFC Staff, Jennifer is also a trained docent and leads fascinating tours of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building.  Her post is part of a series of blog posts about the 40th Anniversary Year of the American Folklife Center. Visit this link […]

American Folklife Center Reissues Four Historic LPs

The following guest post by Jennifer Cutting is part of a series of blog posts about the 40th Anniversary Year of the American Folklife Center. Visit this link to see them all! The American Folklife Center (AFC) is pleased to announce the availability online of four titles from our historic series of record albums, Folk […]

Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Goes Online

The following guest post by Ann Hoog is part of a series of blog posts about the 40th Anniversary Year of the American Folklife Center. Visit this link to see them all! The American Folklife Center is pleased to announce a new online presentation of the Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection.  The photos and audio […]