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Cooking the Cratchits’ Goose: Urban Foodways in Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”

Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol reveals an interesting fact about Victorian London: many working class people lacked cooking facilities, with only a hearth fire in their homes. In this post, we’ll see some of their strategies for cooking a meal by looking at the Cratchits, the only working class family depicted in the book in a detailed way. We’ll also look beyond the Cratchits to other London families in the same boat, and show how Dickens expresses social and political ideas about foodways through Scrooge and his interactions.

What Scrooge Ate on Christmas Eve: Folk Belief, Folk Medicine, and Foodways in Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”

In this post, we read segments of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol ethnographically, exploring the aspects of cultural context that stand out as different, surprising, and in need of explanation. In particular, this year we’ll examine unusual aspects of Dickensian foodways. In this first post, we’ll find out how to determine what Scrooge ate on Christmas Eve, and discuss supernatural belief and folk medicine along the way.

Sharing Our Story: Carl Chamberlain’s VHP Collection

This is a guest blog post by Michael Chamberlain, whose family recently donated his father’s large WWII photograph collection to the Veterans History Project (VHP). As the executor for my father’s estate, I know how difficult it can be for families to consider handing over what is sometimes the only tangible legacy of a family […]

Beyond 21 Steps

From atop one of the most sacred places in our country, a soldier walks his 21 steps, halts, turns to face our nation’s capital and pauses for 21 seconds. As we close out this chapter of the year, I can’t help but reflect with gratitude on a recent event that the Veterans History Project (VHP) […]

Homegrown Plus: PIQSIQ Inuit-Style Throat Singing

It’s been a while since we posted a Homegrown Plus post! In this ongoing series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both videos together in an easy-to-find blog post. We’re continuing the series with PIQSIQ, an Inuit style throat singing duo who characterize their style as being “galvanized by darkness and haunting northern beauty.”

PIQSIQ is composed of sisters Tiffany Kuliktana Ayalik and Kayley Inuksuk Mackay. These talented performers come together to create a unique duo, performing ancient traditional songs along with new compositions. The two grew up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, with roots in Nunavut, Canada’s northernmost territory. After years of hard work on their music, they have developed their own form, blending haunting melodies and otherworldly sounds. As PIQSIQ, they perform their songs with live improvisational looping, creating a dynamic audience experience that changes with every show. In this blog, you’ll find their November 2020 concert and their February 2021 oral history interview.

Railbirds, Cranberries, and Eels: Foods of the New Jersey Pinelands

The Pinelands Folklife Project Collection is the result of a three-year ethnographic study of the pine barrens of Southern New Jersey focusing on the interconnection of culture with the environment. There is a great deal to be found in this collection, including music, arts, and the many cultural groups in this region. For this blog […]

Explore Native American Event Videos from the American Folklife Center

Native American events sponsored by the American Folklife Center have provided Indians and Native Alaskans opportunities to present performing arts and lectures at the Library of Congress to reach audiences with their cultural arts and inform people about their cultures, languages, and concerns such as preservation of their traditions. This blog will focus on the […]

VHP’s New Research Guide: Post-9/11 Photo Collections

Today, the Veterans History Project (VHP) releases a new research guide focusing on photograph collections contributed by veterans who served in the Global War on Terror following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. One of the Library’s many LibGuides, our new research guide was designed to provide users with a glimpse into a handful […]

Pandemic Folk Architecture: Outdoor Dining Sheds and Urban Creativity on the Sidewalks of New York

The following is a guest post by AFC Senior Folklife Specialist Nancy Groce. Adaptation. New Yorkers are nothing if not adaptable – and creative. Both traits are essential for surviving and flourishing in one of the world’s busiest and most complex cities. The Covid-19 pandemic has only added to the challenges and complexity of New […]