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Category: Sidney Robertson Cowell

A black and white up-close photo of Lottie Espinosa playing her guitar

Celebrating California Gold: AFC’s New Story Map on the Northern California Folk Music from the 1930s Collection

Posted by: Michelle Stefano

The American Folklife Center announces its new Story Map, California Gold: Sidney Robertson Cowell, 1930s California Folk Music, and the American Folklife Center, which follows the folk music collector, Sidney Robertson on her late 1930s trip to document musicians, singers, and their families and communities in California.

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

Election Week Special: “The Dodger” and the Election of 1884

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: this is the third in a series of posts about a classic item from the AFC archive, “The Dodger.” [See the first post here.] [See the second post here.][See the third post here.] Second note: we’ve also created a podcast version of these stories. Download our “Dodger” podcast here! Election Day is less than …

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

More about “The Dodger”: New Evidence about one of Aaron Copland’s “Old American Songs”

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: this is the second in a series of posts about a classic item from the AFC archive, “The Dodger.” [See the first post here.] [See the second post here.][See the third post here.] Second note: we’ve also created a podcast version of these stories. Download our “Dodger” podcast here! In this post, I’ll present …

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

The Candidate’s a Dodger: An Electoral Folksong from Oral Tradition to Aaron Copland

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: this is the first in a series of posts about a classic item from the AFC archive, “The Dodger.” [See the first post here.] [See the second post here.][See the third post here.] Second note: we’ve also created a podcast version of these stories. Download our “Dodger” podcast here! As Election Day draws near, …

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

Documenting California Sounds and Communities

Posted by: Stephen Winick

The following post was written by AFC’s Cathy Kerst. Documenting California Sounds and Communities: The Story of Migration and Settlement from the New Deal Era to the Present The Library’s newly-appointed Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, spent the afternoon of September 9 in the American Folklife Center, with the intent of experiencing some ethnographic materials …

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

The Folklore and Folksong of Trains in America, Part Two

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

This is the second part of a two-part article on the folklore of trains. Part one, focusing on the development of railroads in the United States and related songs and lore can be found here. Part Two: Trains and American Culture The coming of the railroads made profound changes in life and culture in the …

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

James P. Leary and Folksongs of Another America

Posted by: Stephen Winick

The following post introduces James P. Leary, a researcher who has published extensively on Library of Congress collections in the American Folklife Center. Most of the quotations from Leary in this article come from an email interview we did in July 2015, but I also quote occasionally from a lecture he gave at the Library …

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

Songs and Music of Refugees of the First World War

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

War disrupts populations, and refugees fleeing the conflict may leave their country permanently to settle elsewhere. The first World War caused such disruptions throughout Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. Crossing one border was no longer an escape for many of these people on the move. Refugees fled to countries distant from their …

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

The Language of Birds

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

John James Audubon was born on April 26, 1785 in what is now Haiti. His passion for North American wild birds fostered an ongoing interest in birds and bird conservation in the United States. But, of course, interest in birds and birdsong is as old as humankind. This essay will look at some of the …