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The American Folklife Center was created in 1976 by the U.S. Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, publication, and training. The Center incorporates the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in the Music Division of the Library of Congress in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.
Peggy A. Bulger, Director
Doris Craig, Administrative Assistant
Gene Berry, Assistant to the Director
Michael Taft, Head, Archive of Folk Culture
Acquisitions and Programs
David A. Taylor, Coordinator
Research and Programs
Processing and Cataloging
Sarah Bradley-Leighton, Processing Technician
Catherine Hiebert Kerst, Archivist
Maggie Kruesi, Cataloger
Judy Ng, Processing Technician
Valda Morris, Processing Technician
Marcia Segal, Processing Technician
Nora Yeh, Archivist, Coordinator
Theadocia Austen, Coordinator
Andrew Wallace, Coordinator
Jennifer A. Cutting, Folklife Specialist
Judith A. Gray, Folklife Specialist, Coordinator
Stephanie A. Hall, Automation Specialist
Todd Harvey, Folklife Specialist
Ann Hoog, Folklife Specialist
Matthew Barton, Audio Engineer
Jonathan Gold, Audio Technician
John Barton, Specialist
Myron Briggs, Specialist
Veterans History Project
Diane Kresh, Director
Peter T. Bartis, Senior Program Officer
Anneliesa Clump Behrend, Public Affairs Specialist
Jeffrey Lofton, Public Affairs Specialist
Debra Murphy, Special Assistant
Sarah Rouse, Senior Program Officer
Timothy Schurtter, Program Officer
Eileen Simon, Archivist
Taru Spiegel, Program Officer
Administrative OfficeFax: 202 707-2076
Reference ServiceTel: 202 707-5510
Tom Rankin, Chair, North Carolina
Jane Beck, Vice-chair, Vermont
Norma Cantú, Texas
Kojo Nnamdi, District of Columbia
Tom Rankin, North Carolina
Daniel Botkin, California
Penn Fix, Washington
Mickey Hart, California
Dennis Holub, South Dakota
William L. Kinney Jr., South Carolina
Judith McCulloh, Emeritus, Illinois
Marlene Meyerson, New Mexico
Kay Kaufman Shelemay, Massachusetts
David Wayne Anderson, Assistant Secretary of the Interior. Indian Affairs
Cynthia R. Church, Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs
Fran Mainella, Director, National Park Service
Sonya E. Medina, Assistant Director of Projects, Office of the First Lady, The White House
Ex Officio MembersJames H. Billington, Librarian of Congress
Tood Harvey, Ann Hoog, & David A. Taylor, Acting Editors
David A. Taylor, Editorial Advisor
Sheryle Shears, Designer
Peggy Pixley, Production
The American Folklife Center’s Web site provides full texts of many publications, information about AFC projects, multi-media presentations of selected collections, links to Web resources on ethnography, and announcements of upcoming events. The address for the home page is http://www.loc.gov/folklife/ An index of the site contents is available at http://www.loc.gov/folklife/az-index.html
The Web site for The Veterans History Project provides an overview of the project, an online “kit” for participants recording oral histories of veterans, and a brief presentation of some examples of video- and audio-recordings of veterans’ stories. The address is http://www.loc.gov/vets/
The Folkline Information Service is now a cooperative announcement program of the American Folklore Society and the American Folklife Center. It is available on the American Folklore Society’s server: www.afsnet.org. The service provides timely information on the field of folklore and folklife, including training and professional opportunities, and news items of national interest.
Cover Image: Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, and the Foggy Mountain Boys
perform during the 1960s. Performances are featured in footage recently made
available at the Archive of Folk Culture (Ray M. Lawless Collection)
String ties and Stetsons, band members crowding around a single microphone to chime in on a chorus, and commercial s ending with the signature slogan “Goodness gracious, it’s good!” are all part of the wonderful time capsule that is the Martha White Flour television shows fronted by Grand Ole Opry stars Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. Beginning in 1955, these fast-paced, half-hour weekly shows were performed live. At some point, the shows began to be videotaped and this continued until Flatt and Scruggs broke up in 1969.
In the late 1970s the Archive of Folk Culture acquired two of the programs that were taped in 1968. They feature, of course, Flatt and Scruggs, but also Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, and Carl Perkins. AFC is pleased to announce that the re c o rd i n g s a re now available for viewing in the Folklife Reading Room. Correspondence between AFC reference librarian Gerry Parsons and Martha White producer Alan Hines dates the arrival of the tapes to 1979. Hines wrote:Yes, Martha White would be very Interested in having the remaining Flatt and Scruggs Shows preserved in the Archive of Folk Song. All that remains of this granddaddy of all country music television shows is [sic] two 30-minute programs which were recorded about 1968. Videotape was expensive, and there was an enormous storage problem, so we reused the masters. The only reason we have two left is that on that particular recording night, Johnny Cash was the guest star and he brought the Carter Family with him—Mother Maybelle, June, Helen and, I believe, Anita—making them rather special shows. I set them aside, feeling that one day they might have some special value.
Video formats are notoriously ephemeral, and the two-inch, high-band, quad format was something the Library of Congress could store but not easily play. For that reason, the two tapes, in bright-aqua cases, rested unnoticed for many years on shelves in a humidity and temperature-controlled area, deep in the Archive’s stacks, until retired archive head Joe Hickerson mentioned them in the “Notes and Queries” section of the November 2002 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited. The citation generated a deluge of inquiries for the Center ’s reference staff , who had to explain to many disappointed fans that neither the dates nor content of the shows could be verified because the Library did not have an appropriate player to view them. In December 2003, however, funding was secured to have an outside lab transfer the tapes to digital and analog formats.
Fans of Flatt and Scruggs and the Martha White Flour Shows will be happy to know that they can now view copies of shows #383 and #384, from 1968, in the Center’s Folklife Reading Room between the hours of 8:30 and 5 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday (excluding federal holidays); appointments are not necessary. Unfortunately, because of copyright restrictions , the American Folklife Center cannot provide copies of the shows. A preliminary list of the shows’ contents is as follows
Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and the Foggy Mountain Boys
“Martha White Flour Song”
“The Getaway” (with Randy Scruggs)
“A Picture of Bonnie”
“It Was Only the Wind”
Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three
“Folsom Prison Blues”
“I Still Miss Someone”
“Orange Blossom Special” (with Carl Perkins)
“Jackson” (with June Carter Cash)
“Country Boy’s Dream”
Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and the Foggy Mountain Boys
“Another Ride with Clyde” (with Randy Scruggs)
“Baby You’ve Gotta Quit That Noise”
Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three
“Big River” / “The Rebel - Johnny Yuma”
“Don’t Take Your Gun to Town”
“Long-Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man”(with June Carter Cash and Carl Perkins)
“Blue Suede Shoes”
Image: Johnny Cash performs “Folsom Prison Blues” during a 1968 Martha White Flour Show (Martha White Flour Show Collection).
Center Moves to New, Permanent Home
The American Folklife Center staff and administrative offices, and the Archive of Folk Culture’s reading room, have moved to permanent space in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building. Benefits of the move include more space than before, new furniture throughout, new listening stations for researchers, and new security equipment. Quite simply, these are the nicest, most spacious quarters the Center has ever had. Staff offices are now located in LJ G51–52, the Folklife Reading room is located in LJ G53, and administrative offices are in LJ G49, the former location of the reading room . Staff phone numbers and the Center’s mailing address remain the same.
The move was made necessary by the impending completion of the Capitol Visitor’s Center (http://www.aoc.gov/cvc/index.cfm). Part of the massive CVC project is a tunnel between the Capitol and the Jefferson building that has caused occupants of the ground floor offices on the west and south side of the building, including the American Folklife Center, to shift. Construction on Capitol Visitor’s Center will be completed in spring 2006.Image: Archive of Folk Culture staff in the new reading room. Left to right: Todd Harvey, Judith
Patent medicines are often associated with quackery and exploitation—the exploitation of American Indians,AfricanA m e ricans, and other “exotic” p e oples or “noble savages” whose images were often featured on productlabels.Aswell, they are associated with gullible customers who may have purchased nothing more than alcohol, sugar, and flavorings when they bought patent medicines from traveling salesmen, hawkers at medicine shows, or young women and boys dressed up in Indian costumes who canvassed small American towns in the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century.
From our twenty-first century perspective, we can see the tragic ironies in some patent medicine advertising labels. Louden & Co.’s “Indian Expectorant,” dated 1848 and sold in Philadelphia, claimed to treat tuberculosis, whooping cough, and bro nchitis—deadly diseases that claimed hundreds of thousands of American Indian lives. The images and text on labels for these “Indian” patentmedicines p roduced in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries contain much interesting informat ion. Most manufacture r s claimed that their products contained “secret” medical recipes that had been “given” to themby Indian chiefs or medicine men. Indeed, because there was no requirement for listing ingredients in proprietary medicines, the formulas were secret, and they were usually not patented. The “patent” or copyright was actually held for the labels or trademarks, not for the formulas. The collection of these labels in the Library of Congress came about through copyright deposits. Not until the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, and subsequent federal legislation, were the re requirements for listing the ingredients in patent medicines on labels.
Particularly intriguing are patent-medicine labels that depict exchanges of plant ingre d ients between Indians, or depict American Indians giving the medicine to European settlers. There are two arenas referenced here, the commercial marketplace for the patent medicine product and a gift economy, or an imagined gift economy, wherein the healing ingedients are depicted as a “gift” from the Indians to white people. The analysis of the cultural meanings of gifts and gift giving helps illuminate some of what these labels connote. For example, in his influential book, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property (1983), Lewis Hyde uses anthropological studies, including Marcel Mauss’s The Gift (1954), to explore the differences between traditional societies, where gift exchange is the primary means for the distribution of goods, and Western capitalist economies. Hyde discusses the cultural misunderstandings that led to the use of giver.” In early encounters with settlers, American Indians offered gifts that they expected would stay in circulation — the gift would be returned or an equivalent gift would be given. European settlers kept these gifts, sold the gifts, or sent them to museums, all of which took them out of circulation and out of a social and spiritual economy where relationships were built on reciprocity.
Another irony in “Indian” patent-medicine advertising is that consumers were led to believe that they were participating in or gaining benefits from the “gift” of Indian medicine, although there was no return gift or payment to American Indians. Patent medicines, for the most part, were not based on American Indian medical knowledge at all, and, of course, there was no gift involved, just increasing profit for the manufacturers and distributors of the medicines. In many healing systems—in traditional or folk systems as well as institutionalized medicine—payment for services coexists with a spiritual exchange or gift exchange. In some cases, the story of how a person was healed is offered as a gift or testimony. These testimonies to the efficacy of patent medicines we re incorporated into the advertising for the product, especially in almanacs and in newspaper advertising. Again, stories, which would have served as a medium for gift exchange within a traditional group, were pressed into the service of selling a commodity, but they still had the power to make the consumer feel as if he or she was participating in the healing power of gift exchange, a technique still used in advertising today.
The collections of the Library of Congress include many resources for a folkloric and social history of patent medicines. For example, the Prints and Photographs Division has a collection of patent medicine labels and advertisements. The Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) collection, also in the Prints and Photographs Division, includes photographs, taken by Marion Post Wolcott and Ben Shahn, of patent-medicine salesmen and medicine shows during the Depression. The Manuscript Division’s manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project collections include reminiscences of Grace Crowder, recorded in 1939, who married a patent medicine salesman and was brought into the business. She made the medicines herself and sold them while dressed in an “Indian” costume. Another WPA life history, from 1938, is that of Clement Flynn of Nebraska, a farmer, Irish fiddler, and part-time maker and seller of a patent medicine he called the “Great Remedy.” The Rare Book Division has a substantial collection of American almanacs, some of which were printed by patent medicine companies and served as advertising. The Science, Technology, and Business Division has many resources for studying American health practices, including a subject guide for Complementary & Alternative Medicine. Some of these images and resources including those reproduced here, are available online through the Library of Congress’s American Memory Digital Library Project.
The collections of the American Folklife Center include the program for a recreation of the Indian medicine show, “The Vi-ton-ka Medicine Show,” produced by the American Place Theatre in 1983. Folk music, minstrelsy, and vaudeville routines were important components of medicine shows. Harmonica player Peg Leg Sam (Arthur Jackson) and Chief Thundercloud (Leo Kahdot, a Potawatomi from Oklahoma), along with Pink Anderson, performed in medicine shows at tobacco warehouse sales in North Carolina, and at fairs and midways in the South, selling patent medicines until the 1960s. AFC’s collections include an interview with Peg Leg Sam, conducted in 1975; he is also feat u red in original medicine show footage in the documentary “Born for Hard Luck” (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1976). AFC collections also include several performances related to medicine shows collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell in various parts of the United States in the 1940s and 1950s. Medicine-show routines continue to be revived by storytellers and musicians, and the Center’s International Storytelling Collection includes recordings of contemporary Tennessee storyteller Doc McConnell’s medicine show.
One reason that the history of patent medicines still fascinates today is that similar medicines, and the controversies that surround them, continue to be used. Patent medicines fro m China, India, and other places a round the world, as well as over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, and vitamin therapies, are all part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices. Home remedies and family medical knowledge are still often the first and last resort for people facing illness and death. And people still refer to health and healing as “gifts.”
Anderson, Ann. 2000. Snake Oil, Hustlers and Hambones: the American Medicine Show. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.
Harvey, James Young. 1992, expanded ed. The Medical Messiahs: A Social History of Health Quackery in Twentieth -Century America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Hyde, Lewis. 1983. The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property. New York: Random House.
McNamara, Brooks. 1995, rev. ed. Step Right Up. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi
This short article is based on a lecture Margaret Kruesi delivered at the Library of Congress on August 31, 2004.
Images: Louden’s Cherokee Liniment. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, accession number LC–USZ62–55633.
Louden & Co’s Indian Expectorant. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, accession number LC–USZ62–47347.
Guide to Storytelling Collection Presented
Members of the American Folklife Center staff attended the National Storytelling Festival, in Jonesborough, Tennessee, in October. Todd Harvey and Valda Morris presented Jimmy Neil Smith, president of the International Storytelling Center, the guide to the recently completed International Storytelling Collection. The collection was donated to the Center in 2001.
This collection, which is now available to the public, contains extensive documentation of the storytelling revival that gained momentum during the 1970s and 1980s. Central to the collection are the sound recordings , video recordings, and photographs made at the National Storytelling Festival from its inception in 1973 to the present day; there are approximately 420,000 items in the collection. The Archive of Folk Culture invites scholars and enthusiasts of storytelling to explore this rich material. Fall 2004
Image: Valda Morris announces the completion of the American Folklife Center’s extensive researchers ’ guide to the International Storytelling Collection to a large audience at the National Storytelling Festival, as festival founder Jimmy Neil Smith looks on. (Photo by Fresh Air Photographics)
In November 2004 the Arizona Heritage Project (AHP) held its second annual planning and review meeting at the facilities of the Arizona Historical Society, in Tempe, Arizona. In attendance were teachers and students re p resenting the five high schools affiliated with the AHP for the 2004–05 school year, along with Dan Shilling, the A H P executive dire c t o r, Guha Shankar, AFC folklife specialist and liaison with the AHP, and the meeting’s host, Vicki Berger, director of the Historical Society. The meeting provided a setting for students to present initial findings on their research about the folklife and cultural history of the local communities they had set out to investigate at the beginning of the school year.
The students’ presentations, and the subsequent day-long discussions re regarding the aims and scope of the individual projects, spoke to the range and diversity of local experiences and traditions extant in the state. As well, they highlighted the dedication and creativity of the students who carried out research in their own communities. The largely student-directed projects reflect the sorts of community-centered, school-based activities that were envisioned when the AHP was established as an annual initiative in 2003, and a collaboration between the Center and its Arizona institutional partners— beginning with the initial sponsor, Salt River Project, and continuing with the Center’s current partner, Sharlot Hall Museum.
Students and teachers participating in AHP projects are asked to explore their community’s place in national and world events, its cultural heritage as expressed in traditions and celebrations, its literature and arts, its relationship to the global e c o n o m y, and its everyday life. Accordingly, this year, teacher Barbara Hatch’s students, at Cactus Shadows High School (Cave Creek), are researching how military veterans and their families have enriched the communities of Cave Creek, Carefree, Scottsdale, and Fountain Hills. Their project will include interviews with veterans and their families for a DVD, book, traveling exhibit, and public presentation honoring the veterans that will be completed by the end of the school year. Students from the American Indian Club, at Casa Grande High School, working with their adviser Fritz Fisher, are investigating the history and culture of the Akimel O’odham and Tohono O’odham people. Their project will feature interviews with elders and analysis of historical documents that will both be used as the basis for an art exhibit and garden of native plants. Roxanne May-Thayer’ s students at Cesar Chavez High School (Laveen) are conducting research on the history of the Maricopa (Pee-Posh) pottery tradition and how it has been sustained over time. The students will interview elders and attend pottery workshops. They hope to produce a gallery opening at the school featuring their own work and that of the community artists.
Students in Eric LaDuke’s Social Sciences Club, at Corona del Sol High School, are doing a comparative study of growth and development among ethnic, neighborhoods in Tempe and s u r rounding communities fro m the 1930s onward. Their project will focus on migrant workers’ social, economic, and education al experiences in Tempe, and will result in a traveling exhibit and Website. Finally, students in Ben Anderson’s service class at the Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy will examine how food cultivation and preparation traditions have shaped Hopi community, culture, and identity. Students have already interviewed a few elders and have learned how to repair traditional bread ovens. They aim to construct a traditional Hopi bread oven at the Northern Arizona Museum in Flagstaff as one aspect of their final project. Their research will also be folded into a training manual for docents at the museum.
Aims and Scope, Brief History of AHP
Modeled on the AFC’s highly successful partnership with the Montana Heritage Project (See Umphrey1997, 2002; also consult http:// www.edheritage.org), the AHP re p resents the Center ’ s most recent effort to develop educational programs involving research into the folklife and cultural history of local communities by students in middle schools and high schools.
The basis for the Arizona Heritage Project was formed in 2000, when U.S. Representatives J.D. Hayworth and John Shadegg, from Arizona, nominated the educational project initiated by the Salt River Project (SRP), one of the West’s largest utilities, for inclusion in the Library of Cong ress’s Bicentennial “Local Legacies” project. Following the conclusion of the Local Legacies p roject, SRP and the American Folklife Center further developed the Arizona Heritage Project in order to serve the entire state (Bartis 2003). SRP funded A H P activities during the 2003– 04 school year and provided day-to-day management of the project through the efforts of its Community Services staff.
Soon after the culmination of the first AHP, Dan Shilling, noted Arizona scholar and former head of the Arizona Humanities Council, came on board as the project’s executive director. Also in the summer of 2004, Sharlot Hall Museum, a highly respected Arizona heritage institution located in Prescott, assumed day-to-day control of the Heritage Project . Shilling and Richard Sims, the museum’s director, are actively seeking funding to develop and. expand the AHP to include more school districts outside the Phoenix metropolitan area in future years.
Role of Partners and Role of Center
The Center and the AHP share the goal of providing educators and students with the means and motivation to become cultural researchers and historians of their own communities. The AHP program staff is chiefly responsible for recruiting local schools for the year-long project, helping affiliate schools locate local experts and liaisons who can facilitate community-based research, and providing the financial and technical resources educators and students need to carry out their projects. Participating teachers receive grants of approximately $5,000, which they may use to buy recoding equipment, computer and exhibition supplies, or other materials for their projects. (The details of AHP’s mandate and operations are available at http://arizonaheritageproject.org/). Members of the American Folklife Center’s staff play an active role in a weeklong, intensive Summer Training Institute that affiliate teachers and selected students attend. Institute participants are exposed to a range of educational issues and practical research concerns. AFC and AHP staff teach participants basic concepts in folklife and oral history research, provide training in audio recording and photography, and conduct workshops on organizing and preserving research materials. Additional topics covered range from integrating the study of local history into a classroom curriculum to designing Websites, multimedia public exhibits, and other educational activities. The workshops also stress the importance of finding a community-based liaison in order to conduct field work within a particular community. Future workshops may include a focused introduction to accessing the Library of Congress’s digitized primary-source materials via the Internet, techniques for documenting community cultural traditions, and comparing national and world events with local ones by means of a timeline.
For more information about AHP, contact Dan Shilling, Executive Director, at the Sharlot Hall Museum ([email protected]; (928–445–3122 ext. 31) or Guha Shankar at the Center ([email protected]; 202-707-4430) .
Bartis, Peter. “New Arizona Heritage Project Inspired by Montana Heritage Model,” Folklife Center News 25, no. 3 (summer 2003):12–13.
Umphrey, Michael. “The Power of the Real: The Montana Heritage Project After Seven Years,” Folklife Center News 24, no. 4 (fall 2002):3–8.
——. “Montana Heritage Education Project Brings Schools Back Into Community,” Folklife Center News 19, nos. 3–4 (summer-fall 1997):3–9.
Image: Students and teachers from the Flagstaff, Arizona, Arts and Leadership Academy listen to community liaison Susan Secakuku (center) as she explains Hopi crop-cultivation techniques during a field trip to the Hopi reservation in fall 2004. (Photo by Guha Shankar)
In just four years, the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center, with support from Congress and AARP, has collected more than 23,000 wartime oral histories through the Veteran’s History Project. On Veteran’s Day the Library of Congress, in association with National Geographic Books, published the first book based on the collections of the Veterans History Project, Voices of War: Stories of Service From the Home Front and the Front Lines, edited by To m Wiener. Voices of War showcases the extraordinary tales of courage, friendship, and sacrifice collect ed by the Veterans History Project, the Library’s congressionally mandated initiative to preserve the stories of America’s war veterans. It includes an Introduction by former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) and an Afterword by Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), both Vietnam veterans, who, along with others, co-sponsored legislation in the Senate to create the Veterans History Project. Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisc.), who introduced the legislation in the House, wrote the Foreword.
Selected from an enormous number of compelling oral histories, letters, photographs, and personal diaries in the Veterans History Project collection, the material in Voices of War provides a unique eyewitness re c o rd of twentieth century America at war. Personal accounts of more than 70 veterans and civilians fromWorldWar I to the Persian Gulf War are organized into seven thematic Voices of War relives the totality of war in the chapters that address many aspects of military and civilian life. Through the book, readers meet soldiers and sailors, pilots and M.A.S.H. nurses, officers and enlisted men—each with a story to tell about such things as the mix of excitement and fear, the delight of a letter from home, and the sorrow at the death of a friend. Readers also meet the civilians who supported them, like Marion Gurfein, who sent a hand drawn series of family newspapers titled “The Goofein [sic] Journal” to her husband at the front during World War II. A companion Website provides the complete stories of the veterans featured in Voices of War. Visitors to the site – http://www.loc.gov/voicesofwarhttp://www.loc.gov/voicesofwar, can read letters and memoirs and listen to full interviews.
The Veterans History Project also partnered with New York City’s American Place Theatre (APT) to produce “Voices of War: A Vietnam Nurse’s Journey.” The theatrical adaptation premiered at the Library in., honor of Veterans Day, on Friday, November 12, in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Thomas Jefferson Building.
The live performance is adapted from the memories of a courageous Army nurse who served in Vietnam, Capt. Rhona Marie Knox Prescott. Her story is one of many featured in the book Voices of War. The November 12 evening also included a special 45-minute performance of selections from Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam War novel, The Things They Carried, first published in 1990. O’Brien and Prescott participated in a panel discussion following the performance.
Written and directed by APT’s founding director, Wynn Handman, “Voices of War” features Annie McGreevey as Prescott and Dashiel Eaves in the role of O’Brien in The Things They Carried. These performances are part of APT’s innovative education program, “Literature to Life.” This nonprofit, performance-based literacy program connects students to reading and the theater through professionally staged and acted adaptations of American literature from current school reading lists.
To conclude Veteran’s Day week, the Library of Congress unveiled a city bus painted with images of veterans. The bus’s paint job and trip to Washington were sponsored by the LYNX/ Central Florida Transportation System. As part of a LYNX public-service campaign to honor veterans, the bus will spend a year promoting the VHP while doing its normal route in Central Florida.
Authorized by legislation passed in 2000, the Veterans History Project calls upon veterans and their families to re c o rd their stories and contribute personal documents to a growing collection at the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress. Founding sponsor AARP and hundreds of other organizations have joined the Library of Congress in this effort.
Those who are interested in becoming involved in the Veterans History Project are encouraged to e-mail the office at [email protected] to request a project information kit. The kit is also available on the Veterans History Project’s Website, at http://www.loc.gov/vets, or by calling the toll-free message line, (888) 371–5848. Voices of War, a 336-page hard cover book with more than 175 black-and-white and color photographs and illustrations, will be available for $30 in bookstores nationwide and also through the Library’s Sales Shop. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682–3557. Online orders can be placed at www.loc.gov/shopwww.loc.gov/shop. The book is also available in an unabridged audio version, either as six cassettes ($30) or eight CDs ($35).
Images: Voices of War is the first book of stories drawn from the collections of the Veterans History Project. Illustrated with photographs, drawings, and paintings from the Project’s own collections, words of the men and women who experienced it, through their oral history interviews, memoirs, diaries, and correspondence
Specially painted city bus, in Orlando, Florida’s, fleet, helps spread the Veterans History Project’s message. The bus visited the Library during the week of Veterans Day. (Veterans History Project photo)
On January 24, the American Folklife Center will release a new American Memory online presentation called The September 11, 2001, Documentary Project. The presentation captures the heart-felt reactions, eyewitness accounts, and diverse opinions expressed by Americans and others in the first few months that followed the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the attack on the Pentagon. Patriotism and unity mixed with sadness, anger, and insecurity are common themes expressed in the sound and video recordings, written narratives, poetry, photographs, and songs that comprise the presentation.The day after the 9/11 attacks, the American Folklife Center called upon the nation’s folklorists and other ethnographers to document reactions across the United States. The project was modeled on a similar initiative from sixty years earlier, when folklorist Alan Lomax was serving as “assistant in charge” of the Archive of American Folk Song. On December 8, 1941, Lomax telegrammed an urgent request to folklorists around the United States to collect man-on the-street reactions to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war by the United States. These field recordings were sent to the Library of Congress and were used in a series of radio programs, which were distributed to schools and radio stations a round the country. This unique documentary collection is still housed at the American Folklife Center and is featured in American Memory’s After the Day of Infamy: “Man on the Street” Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor.
Only a portion of the Center ’s 9/11 collection is included in the online presentation; the complete collection is available in the Center’s Folklife Reading Room. It consists of over 400 sound and video recordings representing some 800 interviews, 421 graphic items (photographs and drawings), as ell as news clippings, written narratives, e-mails, and artifacts. The voices of men and women fro m many cultural, occupational, and ethnic backgrounds are re presented. Some of the interviews are from people who were in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon during the attacks. The majority, however, are from other parts of the country, and include the reactions of people who first heard the news on television or radio, and from teachers, friends, family, and other members of their communities. In all, materials were received from 27 states and a U.S. military base in Naples, Italy.
Image: “No, No.” Drawing by Meagan Yoakley. (September 11, 2001, Documentary Projec
Sense of place was a central issue during the American Folklife Center’s seventh field school for cultural documentation—“The Fruits of Their Labors”—held at Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, from July 11 to 31, 2004. The field school was co-sponsored by the Center and BYU. Participants in the field school had the opportunity to document the history, traditions, and multiple meanings associated with orchards in Utah Valley, in the vicinity of Provo.
The field school participants conducted their research at a time when Utah Valley orchards—known mainly for apples, apricots, peaches, and pears—have come to symbolize cultural loss as a result of change. In Provo, as in many towns and cities around the United States, population g growth has accelerated residential development, which has, in turn, led to the loss of agricultural land. Loss of agricultural land and the concomitant loss of the way of life associated with it, not to mention the loss of agricultural production, is keenly felt in Provo and neighboring communities. This is especially the case not only because Utah Valley’s orchards were once a very prominent feature of the natural landscape, but also because their development can be traced back to the area’s Mormon pioneers, who used orchards, and other forms of agriculture, to make their new home bountiful. As well, the orchards are seen to reflect the pioneers’ work ethic and self-reliance. Furthermore, many current residents of the are a have had direct involvement with orchards because they contributed volunteer labor to orchards that were operated by the Mormon church for charitable purposes.
Although a number of orchards are still in operation in the Valley, they are diminishing rapidly. Thus, the field school’s documentation of the orchard s was seen to be timely and important by members of orchard families and many others.
As with the Center ’s previous field schools, “The Fruits of Their Labors” field school was divided into two parts. During the first half of the course, participants received instruction, through lectures and hands-on workshops, on such topics as research ethics, orientation to the study area and the research topic, preliminary research, archival considerations, project planning, documentary photography, sound recording, interviewing, ethnographic fieldnotes, and teamwork. During the second half, participants were organized into five three - person teams and then proceeded to carry out field research using the various techniques they had learned in the classroom.While all five teams explore d the topic of orchards in Utah Valley, each one came at it from a different angle. For example, the teams explored foodways, teams church - sponsored orchards, farm stands, values, and orchard families, respectively. Each team interviewed several people with knowledge of its sub-theme and also photographed relevant people and scenes. Throughout the fieldwork phase, all participants wrote daily fieldnotes about their research experiences, and did their best to stay on top of writing catalogs of the interviews they conducted and the photographs they took.
Following the conclusion of fieldwork, the teams worked with BYU exhibition designer Shaun McMurdie to create large exhibition panels, featuring text they w rote and photos they took, that presented a summary of their research findings. When brought together, all five panels constituted an attractive exhibition that was erected beside the entrance to the special collections department of Brigham Young University’s library. On the evening of the penultimate day of the field school, an opening reception was held for the exhibition, which was attended by field school participants and faculty, many of the people who had been interviewed by the participants, and numerous others from the community. One of the high points of the field school, the opening showcased participants’ work and provided a welcome opportunity for the researchers and their informants to meet one last time and discuss the work that had been accomplished . The field school’s fifteen participants were people with a strong interest in learning how to document local culture, but with little or no previous experience in this area. They included: Maria Avery (Baltimore, MD), Russel Bachert (Hendersonville, NC),Diane Call (Provo),Harlow Clark (Provo), Nancy Jagelka (Washington, DC), Derek Jensen ( Provo), Howayda Kamel (Cairo, Egypt), Nicole Long (Baltimore, MD), Catherine McIntyre (Salt Lake City), Essam el Gharib Mohamed (Cairo, Egypt), Al Schorsch (Chicago), Sarah Siebach (Orem , UT), Gloria Throne (Lawrence, KS), Mike Watowa (Topeka, KS), and Gina Wurtz (Provo).
The field school’s directors were AFC folklife specialist David Taylor and BYU folklorist Kristi Bell. Other faculty members were folklorists Ilana Harlow and Michael Taft, from the Center; documentary photographer Rich Remsberg, from North Adams, MA; and exhibition designer Shaun McMurdie, fro m BYU. Guest lectures were presented by a number of Utah folklorists, including Jill Terry Rudy (BYU), Jacqueline Thursby (BYU),William A.Wilson (BYU), Elaine Thatcher (Utah State University), Carol Edison (Utah Arts Council), Craig Miller (Utah Arts Council), and Ronda Walker Weaver. BYU faculty members April Chabries, Gary Daynes, and Richard Kimball discussed their documentary film about Utah Valley orchards, “The Best Crop.” Three BYU undergraduates ably served as course assistants, and their work involved considerable advance fieldwork with orchardists. The assistants were Raven Haymond, Christina Thomas, and Webster.
During the summer of 2005, a second field school for cultural documentation will be held at BYU. This time the topic of the field research will be the history, cultural meanings, and uses of Provo Canyon, just north of the city of Provo. It will run fro m July 17 to August 6. In addition to the BYU field school, the Center will also be co-sponsoring, with Salisbury University, another field school in 2005, which will be held in Salisbury, Maryland, from June 12 to July 3. The theme of this field school will be the foodways of Maryland’s eastern shore. Additional information about both field schools, including tuition fees and application procedures, will be posted on the Center’s Website (http://www.loc.gov/folklife/events/) in due course.
Image: Members of one of “The Fruits of Their Labors” research teams plan their research strategy. Left to right: Ben Webster (course assistant), Nancy Jagelka, Howayda Kamel, and Essam el Gharib Mohamed. (Photo by David A.Taylor)
Field school participant Nicole Long conducts fieldwork with worker at West Mountain Orchards. (Photo by David A. Taylor)
The American Folklife Center’s board of trustees held its fall meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, October 1–2. It was hosted by b o a rd member Marlene Meyerson. The board met with representatives of local Santa Fe organizations with missions to preserve and present aspects of cultural heritage. AFC board chair Tom Rankin and director Peggy Bulger noted with enthusiasm the opportunities brought about by these meetings to effectively leverage the resources of our like-minded partners to preserve American folklife in its myriad forms.
Betsy Peterson of the Fund for Folk Culture, Jim Hare of Cornerstones Community Partnerships, and Inee Yang Slaughter of the Indigenous Language Institute gave presentations that focused on their organizations’ efforts to preserve folk culture, including vernacular architecture of the Southwest and indigenous Native American languages at risk. Tours of the School for American Research and the Museum of International Folk Art, as well as meetings with local folk artists and folklorists, contributed to the education of the board members concerning the unique cultural heritage of the Southwest and how the AFC might support cultural efforts there .
Trustee Fran Mainella, Director of the National Park Service, arranged a tour of Bandelier National Monument and shared her goal that the National Park Service preserve, protect, and share with the public a sense of place. Ranger Gary Roybal, Ranger Mary Slater, and Cecilia Shields provided a tour that gave the board a sense of Bandelier, its history, and its indigenous people. As board member Bill Kinney noted, the National Park Service’s goals parallel those of the American Folklife Center. Coming after the Community Cornerstones Partnerships presentations on the preservation of Southwestern historic structures, Ranger Mary Slater’s tour of the buildings, furniture, and fixtures at Bandelier that resulted from Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) programs expanded upon that discussion.
Similarly, the walking tour of the park led by staff person Cecilia Shields from Picuris Pueblo was a perfect end to an incredible day, and underscored the importance of place in the Center’s work. All were impressed with her love for the land, her knowledge of her cultural heritage, and the depth of feeling she expressed in the stories she told to describe many things both understood and misunderstood about her land and her forebears, who inhabited the land that she now walks daily as an employee of the National Park Service.
The Center’s board of trustees will next meet in Washington, D.C., on March 24–25, 2005. Meetings are open to the public, but those wishing to attend are asked to provide advance notice to Doris Craig at 202–707-1736.
Image: Members of the AFC board of trustees, left to right: Daniel Botkin, Marlene Meyerson, Judith McCulloh, Peggy Bulger, William Kinney, Wilsonia Cherry, Tom Rankin, Jane Beck, Norma Cantú. Not pictured but also attending the meeting, Fran Mainella. (Photo by Gene Berry)
Back Cover Image:Members of the American Indian Music and Dance Show, from Anadarko, Oklahoma, perform a Fancy Dance during a Homegrown concert performance on December 8, 2004, in the Coolidge Auditorium. The group, led by noted Kiowa flute player Tom Machauty- Ware, showcased a variety of old and new songs and dances, primarily from the Kiowa and Comanche traditions. (Photo by Judy Ng)
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March 7, 2011