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The American Folklife Center Participates in “The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America”

What could the songs sung, composed, and/or danced by Americans from the colonial period to the present teach us about the history of the United States? How could U.S. history help us to better understand American songs? These are questions explored in the new online presentation The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America.  […]

Alan Lomax and the Voyager Golden Records

The following is a guest post from Bertram Lyons, the digital assets manager and a folklife specialist at the American Folklife Center’s archives at the Library of Congress. This post originally appeared on the Association for Cultural Equity site and is reposted with permission. Prior to his arrival at the Library, Lyons was the archivist at the […]

Soldier’s Joy: An American Classic

“Soldier’s Joy” is one of our favorite fiddle tunes, and one of the oldest and most widely distributed tunes in the English-speaking world. There are numerous renditions of this piece located throughout Library of Congress collections, many of which are online.  Let’s take a brief tour of this American classic. “Soldier’s Joy”  appeared in late eighteenth-century sheet […]

Computing culture in the AFC Archive

  This week we’re hosting three digital humanities scholars at the American Folklife Center to discuss potential research projects that would draw upon AFC collections. It got me thinking about digital humanities inquiry in developing and understanding the AFC Archives. Across our history, we have embraced new media, explored data- and metric-driven approaches to studying and computing […]

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 […]

Symposium sparks broad discussion of ethnographic archives

In the weeks since The American Folklife Center hosted the Cultural Heritage Archives Symposium at the Library of Congress, we have learned about several collaborations that developed at the event. Fellow panelists are now co-authoring an article, others are creating a consortial grant application, and attendees from the same city who first met at the symposium […]

Indigenous American Cylinder Recordings and the American Folklife Center

As November is Native American Heritage Month, it seems a good opportunity to talk about some of the services the American Folklife Center provides for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, and for those who wish to learn more about them. The archival collections of the Library of Congress include the largest body of […]