Finding Aids to Collections Organized by Topic in the Archive of Folk Culture
ZORA NEALE HURSTON:
RECORDINGS, MANUSCRIPTS, PHOTOGRAPHS,
THE ARCHIVE OF FOLK CULTURE AND OTHER DIVISIONS OF THE LIBRARY
Compiled by: Laura K. Crawley and Joseph C. Hickerson
Editor: Ann Hoog
Revised: July 2005
For additional information about Archive
of Folk Culture collections, contact the Folklife
Reading Room. To request copies, see our webpages regarding audio
materials and photographic materials.
Please refer to the AFC and/or AFS numbers when requesting information.
All indications of time duration listed in this finding aid are estimates.
PLEASE NOTE: This finding aid lists collections in several
different divisions of the Library of Congress. When requesting materials
please note the division headers which are highlighted in the center of
AFS 309-535: Two hundred twenty-seven 12-inch discs of songs, stories,
and instrumentals recorded in Florida and Georgia by Mary Elizabeth Barnicle,
Hurston, and Alan Lomax, summer 1935.
AFS 377 B1: One disc containing "Bella Mina" sung by
group led by Hurston, recorded in Chosen, Florida, June 1935. (One minute;
tape copy on LWO 4872 reel 27A)
AFS 1877-1936: Sixty 10-inch discs of songs, stories, and instrumentals
recorded in Haiti by Alan Lomax, December 1936--January 1937.
AFS 1879 A1-3: One disc containing three American Negro children's
game songs and explanation, sung and spoken by Hurston. Recorded in Petionville,
Haiti, December 21, 1936. (Hurston was in Haiti conducting independent
research.) (Three minutes; tape copy on LWO 4872 reel 132B)
AFS 1879 A1: "Bluebird."
AFS 1879 A2: "Bama, Bama."
AFS 1879 A3: "There Stands a Bluebird," with explanation.
AFS 2735-3153: Four hundred nineteen 12-inch discs of songs, stories,
and instrumentals recorded in several southern states by Herbert Halpert,
March 15--June 15, 1939, under the joint sponsorship of the Library of
Congress and the Folk Arts Committee of the W.P.A. This collection can
be accessed through the American Memory online presentation entitled Florida
Folklife from the WPA Collections, 1937-1942.
AFS 3135-3136; 3137B-3139; 3144B: Six discs containing eighteen
songs, stories, and explanations sung and spoken by Hurston. Recorded
in Jacksonville, Florida, June 18, 1939. (Forty- five minutes; tape copy
on LWO 4872 reels 208B- 209A)
AFS 3135 A: "Gonna See My Long-Haired Babe." Railroad
spiking song with explanation.
AFS 3135 B1: "Let's Shake It." Railroad lining song
AFS 3135 B2: "Dat Old Black Gal." Spiking song with
AFS 3136 A: "Shove It Over." Lining song with explanation.
AFS 3136 B: "Mule on the Mount." Lining song also
used in other work, with explanation.
AFS 3137 B1-2: "Georgia Skin" and "Let the Deal
Go Down." Spoken description of a card game interspersed with
a gambling song, with explanation.
AFS 3138 A1: "Uncle Bud." "Jook" song with
AFS 3138 A2: "Oh, the Buford Boat Done Come." Dance
song with explanation.
AFS 3138 B1: "Ever Been Down." Blues song with explanation.
AFS 3138 B2: "Halimuhfack." "Jook" song
AFS 3139 A1: "Tampa." Song Hurston says she learned
as a child, with explanation.
AFS 3139 A2: "Po' Gal." Blues song with explanation.
AFS 3139 B1: "Mama Don't Want No Peas, No Rice." Bahaman
song with explanation.
AFS 3139 B2: "Crow Dance." Bahaman dance song with
AFS 3144 B1: "Wake Up, Jacob." Camp rousing song
AFS 3144 B2: "Oh, Mr. Brown." Dance song with explanation.
AFS 3144 B3: "Tilly, Lend Me Your Pigeon." Bahaman
song with explanation.
AFS 3144 B4: "Evelina," with explanation.
AFS 9829-9868: One 12-inch and thirty-nine 16-inch discs of songs
and instrumentals recorded at the National Folk Festival in Washington,
D.C., by the U.S. Recording Company, May 1938.
AFS 9845 A1-6: One 16-inch disc containing six songs sung by
a choir led by Hurston, recorded May 6, 1938. The choir was sponsored
by the Rollins College Folklore Group of Winter Park, Florida. (Eleven
minutes; tape copy on LWO 5111 reel 266B)
AFS 9845 A1: "Can't You Line It." Lining song similar
to AFS 3136 A.
AFS 9845 A2: "Mule on de Mount." Spiking song similar
to AFS 3136 B.
AFS 9845 A3: "Dat Old Black Gal." Spiking song similar
to AFS 3135 B2.
AFS 9845 A4: "Oh Lula, Oh Gal." Spiking song similar
to AFS 3135 A1.
AFS 9845 A5: "Somebody's Knockin' at My Door." Blues
song with guitar.
AFS 9845 A6: Unidentified song.
AFS 19,536-19,539: Four 7-inch tapes of an interview with Mary
Elizabeth Barnicle and Tillman Cadle recorded in Townsend, Tennessee, by
Michael Clark and Gene Moore, January--February 1977. Subjects include
personal and family history; Barnicle's career as a folklorist; friendships
with Zora Neale Hurston, Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, Alan and
John A. Lomax, and Aunt Molly Jackson; fieldwork in Kentucky; and a Harlan
AFS 19,536A: One tape that includes (about two-thirds of the
way through) Barnicle discussing Hurston, the Lomaxes, and the 1935 expedition
to Florida, Georgia, and The Bahamas. (Twenty minutes; LWO 12,983 reel
There is more information about Zora Neale Hurston in the Archive's vertical
files, including correspondence with and about Hurston, articles, and other
A selection of plays by Zora
Neale Hurston, and related articles, can be viewed online in the American
Memory presentation entitled Zora
Neale Hurston Plays at the Library of Congress.
Franz Boas Papers
Microfilm Reels 27-33, 37, 43: Includes letters to and from Hurston,
which are arranged by date.
1. Thirteen letters from Hurston to Boas spanning the period of March
29, 1927, to April 1940.
2. Sixteen letters from Boas to Hurston spanning the period of March
24, 1927, to April 1, 1935.
3. One letter from Hurston to Otto Klineberg dated October 22, 1929.
4. One letter from the Julius Rosenwald Fund to Hurston dated December
Other letters that mention Hurston or her work may be included in
this collection. Check the published guide to the microfilm edition
of the Boas Papers in the Manuscript Reading Room.
Countee Cullen Papers
Microfilm Reel 1: Includes two letters from Hurston to Cullen
dated March 11, 1926, and March 5, 1943.
Margaret Mead Papers
Container C5: Includes thirty-seven page Hurston manuscript
titled "Ritualistic Expression from the Lips of the Communicants
of the Seventh Day Church of God, Beaufort, South Carolina" and
a letter to Hurston from Mead dated May 20, 1940, in Folder H, 1940.
Container O20: Includes several letters from Hurston to Jane
Belo, and from Hurston to Jane Belo and Frank Tannenbaum.
1. Four letters from Hurston to Jane Belo dated December 3, 1938;
March 20 and May 2, 1940; and October 1, 1944.
2. Two letters from Hurston to Jane Belo and Frank Tannenbaum dated
October 14 and October 18, 1944.
3. One letter from Norman Chalfin and co- signed by Hurston to Jane
Belo dated May 20, 1940.
Container P94: Includes five photographs of Hurston in folder "Jane
Belo Photos--Portrait File."
Group I: Walter White's personal correspondence file is located
in this collection. The bulk of White's personal correspondence (containers
90 through 112) has been reproduced on thirteen reels of microfilm. There
is no exact listing of the number or dates of letters to or from Hurston
contained in White's correspondence. One letter has been documented,
from White to Hurston dated March 14, 1934 (container C104, reel 29).
Lawrence Spivak Papers
Container 37: Includes six-page page proof titled "You
Don't Know Us Negroes" submitted to American Mercury magazine.
This article was never published in the magazine. According to the author
index cards in Container C3 of the Spivak Papers, Hurston's published
articles were titled: "Story in Harlem Slang" (July 1942); "The
`Pet Negro' System" (May 1943); "High John de Conquer" (October
1943); "Negroes Without Self-Pity" (November 1943); "The
Last Slave Ship" (March 1944); and "Rise of the Begging Joints" (March
G. Woodson Papers
Microfilm Reel 3: Woodson's correspondence is arranged
alphabetically. One undated letter from Hurston to Woodson has been identified
reel (the letter and enclosure are filed in the "H" miscellany
folder in container 5 of the collection).
W.P.A. Federal Writers Project
Container A591: Includes under "Traditional Folklore Project--Florida;
Negro Lore," folders containing Hurston manuscripts: "Negro
Folk Tales" (two pages); "Negro Legends" (7 pages); "Negro
Religious Customs" (8 pages); and "Negro Folk Customs and
Folk Lore" (26 pages); "Negro Work Songs" (57 pages), but difficult to determine how much is Hurston's work beyond the first 5 pages.
Container A875-A876: Includes under "Negro Studies Project--
Florida," folders containing three Hurston manuscripts:
"Eatonville (When You Look at It)" (2 pages), in "Contemporary
Culture-- Lifestyle" folder.
"The Sanctified Church" (6 pages), in "Contemporary
Culture--Religious Organizations" folder (same as "Negro
Religious Customs" in Container A591).
"Negro Work Songs" (5 pages), in "Folklore--Songs,
Ballads, and Rhymes" folder. This same document in its entirely (57 pages) is found in Container A591. It is difficult to determine how much is Hurston's work beyond the first 5 pages.
BROADCASTING AND RECORDED SOUND DIVISION
MOTION PICTURE AND TELEVISION READING ROOM
VBF 3411: "Hurston, Zora Neale." Thirty-minute silent
film footage in the Margaret Mead Collection taken by Hurston in the field
ca. 1927-29. Contents include a barbecue; baseball crowd and boy dancing;
children dancing and girl rocking on a porch; children's games and baptism;
man with an axe; "Kissula--Last of the Takkoi Slaves"; logging.
VBG 6995-6996: "Zora is My Name!" Ninety-minute video
recording of February 14, 1990, American Playhouse television broadcast
of Ruby Dee's stage production.
Note: There is additional Hurston material
not listed here. Contact
the Motion Picture and Television Reading Room for more information.
RECORDED SOUND REFERENCE CENTER
RWC 6858B: One 10-inch tape of Mary Margaret McBride interviewing
Hurston on WEAF radio, January 25, 1943. Topics include Dust Tracks
on a Road, Hurston's experiences while writing Jonah's Gourd Vine,
and a description of zombies in Haiti. Hurston also briefly describes her
first experiences in the field gathering folklore (listening copy is R-Dat
cassette RGA 4836).
These and other photos of and by Hurston can be viewed online via the Prints
and Photographs Online Catalog.
Biographical File: Includes photograph of Hurston standing outdoors
against a city building, wearing a hat. (Negative #LC-USZ62-62394)
Lomax Collection: Includes several photographs of and by Hurston.
These can also be viewed online in the American Memory online presentation
Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Collection.
Lot 7414-C, N94: Taken in Eatonville, Florida, 1935, of Hurston
seated on a porch with Rochelle Harris and Gabriel Brown playing his
guitar. (Negative #LC-USZ61- 1777)
Lot 7414-C, N109: Taken in Eatonville, Florida, 1935, of Hurston,
wearing a hat, standing outdoors with children.
Lot 7414-G, N300: Hurston, wearing a hat and laughing, standing
outdoors. (Negative #LC- USZ61-1859)
Lot 7414-G, N301: Hurston wearing a hat and standing outdoors;
similar to N300.
Lot 7414-G, N318: Taken in Belle Glade, Florida, 1935, of Hurston
standing outdoors with field and building in the background.
Carl Van Vechten Photographs: Includes photograph taken in 1938
of Hurston, wearing a hat, seated before a zig-zag patterned backdrop in
a studio. (Negative #LC-USZ62-79898)