Witness and Response: September 11 Acquisitions at the Library of Congress

On September 12, 2001, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress asked folklorists and other ethnographers across the nation to record the thoughts and feelings expressed by ordinary people following the tragic events of September 11. This audio project echoes one conducted sixty years ago, on December 8, 1941, when Alan Lomax, then in charge of the Archive of American Folk Song, sent an urgent message to folklorists to collect "man on the street" reactions to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declaration of war by the United States.

In reaction to 9/11, the Center received approximately 600 interviews (500 hours of recordings), more than 200 photographs of memorials from twenty-two states, and children’s drawings like these from the third grade class at Sequoyah Elementary School in Knoxville, Tennessee. The online preview exhibition includes several examples of the childrens's drawings and seven of the audio recordings collected by the American Folklife Center.

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  • Sara Deathridge, third grader, Sequoyah Elementary School, Knoxville, Tennessee. ["God Bless America"], 2001. American Folklife Center (178)

  • Eddie Hamilton, third grader, Sequoyah Elementary School, Knoxville, Tennessee. [Statue of Liberty-- "It's Okay"], 2001. American Folklife Center (175)

  • Megan Yoakley, third grader, Sequoyah Elementary School, Knoxville, Tennessee. ["I picked two buildings with fire burning and airplanes crashing . . ."], 2001. American Folklife Center (176)

  • Hannah Beach, third grader, Sequoyah Elementary School, Knoxville, Tennessee. [Twin Towers--"I Can't Take It"], 2001. American Folklife Center (177)

Bookmark this item: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/911/911-folklife.html#objects

Video presentation: Ann Hoog talks about the Library's collection of personal accounts recorded about the events of 9/11/2001. - This video is temporarily unavailable.

Audio Recordings

Carol Paukner (NYPD), part two [audio]. Interviewer: Deidre Vezirov-Kilkenny. Recorded November 27, 2001. New York, New York. Audio; 4 minutes, 6 seconds. American Folklife Center

Don Brennan, part two (Pentagon Police Officer) [audio]. Interviewer: Jennifer Brennan. Recorded November 18, 2001. Arlington, Virginia. Audio; 5 minutes, 6 seconds. American Folklife Center

Wuanita Johnson [audio]. Self Interview. Recorded December 1, 2001. Woodbine, Iowa. Audio; 5 minutes, 10 seconds. American Folklife Center

Heather Michelle Coffman [audio]. Interviewer: Tierza Rose Draper. Recorded October 22, 2001. Norman, Oklahoma. Audio; 2 minutes, 52 seconds. American Folklife Center

Andrew Asadorian [audio]. Interviewer: Norma Asadorian. Recorded October 27, 2001. Granite City, Illinois. Audio; 5 minutes, 51 seconds. American Folklife Center

Lillie Haws, part two [audio]. Interviewer: Sarah Philipson. Recorded November 10, 2001. Brooklyn, New York. Audio; 4 minutes, 11 seconds. American Folklife Center