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VHP’S Newest Online Exhibit: End of WWII: 75th Anniversary

When the war ended, Gladyce “Pepper” Pederson Nypan cried, her tears dripping down into her dinner of mashed potatoes and gravy. Benjamin Cooper wrote a love letter to his wife. Alfred Newman watched his comrades fire off live ammunition, so intense was their celebrating. Jerome Yellin was still high in the sky over Japan, completing […]

Holehole Bushi: Franklin Odo on the Work Songs of Japanese Sugarcane Workers in Hawai`i

Japanese agricultural workers began immigrating to Hawai`i in 1868, primarily to work on sugar plantations. This immigration peaked in the late 19th century. At this time the population of Native Hawaiians was crashing. As Hawaiians had more contact with Europeans they contracted diseases that they had no immunity to. Sugar plantations, mainly owned by American […]

Homegrown Plus: Cedric Watson Trio

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) We’re continuing the series with Cedric Watson, a four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, singer, accordionist, and songwriter. Watson is one of the brightest contemporary talents to emerge in Cajun, Creole and […]

Proverbs, Myths, and “The Bard”: Are We Really “Quoting Shakespeare”?

The popular essay often known as “You Are Quoting Shakespeare,” suggests that many common phrases have their origin in Shakespeare’s works. This post shows that most of those phases were proverbial folklore, known well before Shakespeare’s time. It suggests that attributing them to Shakespeare is a form of what Stephen Jay Gould called a “Creation Myth,” and that the credit for many of the phrases should go to ordinary speakers of English. It argues that part of Shakespeare’s greatness lay in his ability to use such phrases to create natural dialogue.

Bess Lomax Hawes Digital Collection Launches

This is a guest post by reference librarian Todd Harvey, who curates the Lomax family papers at the American Folklife Center. Today, the American Folklife Center announces the launch of the Bess Lomax Hawes (1921-2009) digital collection, now available at this link. A scholar, teacher, performer, writer, and filmmaker, Bess established and stewarded the Folk […]

Words of Wisdom from the Descendant of a Survivor: ‘Stay Home and Play Your Banjo’

The following is a guest blog post by Hope O’Keeffe, an attorney in the Library’s Office of General Counsel, and an ardent supporter of the Veterans History Project. To read a previous guest post about her family’s history of proud military service, go here. This is my grandfather, John McLaughlin, quarantined during the 1918 flu […]

Front Line Perspective

In this time of national crisis, the staff of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) wants our readers and participants to know that our thoughts are with you. We recognize, now more than ever, there is a collective need to look at and remember individual experiences, so that we never forget what sacrifice […]

Stories from the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic from Ethnographic Collections

The Library of Congress collections contain stories of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic as told by ordinary people, documented by folklorists, linguists, and others as they collected personal histories and folklore. Several of these are available online and a selection will be presented here, with links at the end under “Resources” where more can be found. […]