Witness and Response: September 11 Acqusitions 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/exhibit/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. - To view this presentation, you must have the Real Player installed which may be downloaded, free of charge, from the RealNetwork Web site (external link).

Audio Recordings

The following audio recordings are presented in the RealAudio format. To use RealAudio, you must have the Real Player installed and a 14.4 K-bps (kilobits per second) or faster Internet connection for your computer. If you don't already have it, you can download a "free" version of the Real Player (external link) from the RealNetwork site.

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

Don Brennan (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

Reanna Stout [audio]. Interviewer: Walid Chaaban. Recorded September 20, 2001. Orlando, Florida. Audio; 3 minutes, 24 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 [audio]. Interviewer: Sarah Philipson. Recorded November 10, 2001. Brooklyn, New York. Audio; 4 minutes, 11 seconds. American Folklife Center