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No Depression Features Zora Neale Hurston

We’re happy to announce a new venture in getting our stories out there! We’re working with No Depression, The Journal of Roots Music, which is published by the nonprofit Freshgrass Foundation.  They’ll be publishing a column called Roots in the Archive, featuring content from the American Folklife Center and Folklife Today, over at their website. […]

Split This Rock! Poems Inspired by the American Folklife Center Archives

Members of the Washington, D.C. Youth Slam Team of Split This Rock performed poems inspired by recordings, photographs and field notes from the American Folklife Center archives on June 08, 2019 in an event co-sponsord by the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center. The video of these remarkable young poets is now available. This […]

Songs for the Easter Season: Polyphonic Singing from the Republic of Georgia

Georgian polyphonic singing has a rich and ancient past. It predates Christianity and its pre-Christian roots are alive today in secular songs such as lullabies, harvest, hunting, and wedding songs. The Christian songs survived a dark time while Georgia was part of the Soviet Union, as the tradition was banned from 1921 to 1990. Monks […]

Podcast: Episode 17, on Transcribing Lomax with By the People, is Ready for Listening!

Episode seventeen of the Folklife Today Podcast (or Season 2, Episode 5) is ready for listening! In the episode, John Fenn and Stephen Winick talk about a campaign called “The Man Who Recorded the World: On The Road with Alan Lomax.” It’s an effort to crowdsource transcriptions Alan Lomax’s fascinating field notes. Through this campaign, you can help out the Library of Congress and music fans worldwide by increasing access to Lomax’s field notes through transcribing and reviewing pages. Anyone can get involved at the link provided in the blog. The podcast and blog feature music from throughout Lomax’s career as well as descriptions of his notes.

Flashbulb Memories: Where Were You When…?

Flashbulb memories are those vivid, autobiographical memories that form when we learn of a particularly surprising, traumatic or impactful event. These kinds of memories burrow themselves deep into our memory banks, and often remain dormant until triggered to resurface. An image. A sound. A scent. Anything, really, can be the catalyst that sets the wheels […]

The American Folklife Center Is On the Job!

Out of an abundance of caution due to COVID-19, all Library of Congress buildings and facilities are closed to the public, and American Folklife Center staff are currently teleworking. In such uncertain times, we wanted to reassure our followers on social media, as well as those who use our collections and services in other ways, that we remain committed to serving the public as fully and as long as we can. Although most of us on the American Folklife Center staff have been staying away from our beloved Jefferson and Adams Buildings, we are on the job! In this blog, you’ll find all the ways you can connect with us and enjoy our collections while you’re staying safe at home.

Pandemic: A Woman on Duty

She had already made it five years past the century mark when she finally sat down to share her story for the Veterans History Project (VHP) in 2002. Less than six weeks later, she was gone. Alice Leona Mikel Duffield was a beater of odds. A trailblazer. A go-getter. A caring soul. I’d say that […]

Coronavirus COVID-19 Impact: Veterans History Project Updates

During this global pandemic, the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) continues to meet its mission of collecting, preserving and making accessible the wartime remembrances of U.S. military veterans. While we recognize during normal circumstances what we do is incredibly important, currently we have taken steps to modify the way we work because the […]

Ready for research: Documentation of Southern pottery, Southeast Asian cultures, and Armenian folk crafts

This is a guest post by American Folklife Center archivist Jesse Hocking, who is part of a new cohort of archives staff across the Library who were hired to help bring collections out of the processing backlog. The American Folklife Center is excited to announce that the collection of Nancy Sweezy (1921-2010), noted folklorist, potter, […]