Margaret Anne "Peggy" Bulger, senior program officer with the Southern Arts Federation in Atlanta, has been appointed the director of the American Folklife Center at the Library.
Ms. Bulger succeeds Alan Jabbour. Ms. Bulger will assume her duties on July 6. However, she participated as director-designate during a March meeting of the American Folklife Center Board of Trustees at the Library.
She began her service at the Southern Arts Federation in 1989 as the regional folk arts program coordinator, with responsibilities for developing the folk arts program in nine Southern states. Through progressively responsible positions at the federation, Ms. Bulger gained a range of experience in folklife, public programming, fund-raising, management and communications.
Ms. Bulger was folk arts coordinator and state folklorist for the state of Florida, serving in the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs from 1976 to 1989. In this position, she established the Florida Folklife Archives. Previously, Ms. Bulger coordinated the Traditional Folklife Project at the Appalachian Museum affiliated with Berea College (Kentucky) from 1975 to 1976.
Said Associate Librarian for Library Services Winston Tabb in announcing Ms. Bulger's appointment: "This broad range of experience in folklife and public folklife administration, covering a period exceeding two decades, uniquely suits Dr. Bulger for the role of director of the American Folklife Center."
Said Ms. Bulger: "I am honored and excited to be part of the nation's Library, and the American Folklife Center." She noted the importance of the Archive of American Folk Song as "an invaluable resource for scholars and collectors of traditional music and song" and praised the work of the American Folklife Center since its founding in 1976 to complement and expand upon that collection and to preserve and present American folk culture and heritage.
"I hope to build upon the good work of the past 23 years as we all move into the next millennium," Ms. Bulger said. "With the center's permanent authorization last year, all Americans can rejoice that we are now poised to move forward with essential programs that will ensure the accessibility and growth of the collections for generations to come.
"As a folklorist who has utilized the impressive resources of the American Folklife Center, I look forward to working with the center's dedicated staff and the advanced technology of the Library to make the American Folklife Center and its collections available to all," she continued. "The National Digital Library project, as well as the grassroots programs that have been developed to celebrate the Bicentennial of the Library, will be instrumental in this effort to reach all communities with our national collections."
Ms. Bulger added: "The United States is a nation blessed with a diversity of culture and human creativity. There is a growing awareness concerning the essential role played by folk heritage, folk culture and folk arts in our nation. A healthy America demands a respect for, and pride in, the variety of cultures and traditions that comprise our national profile. The American Folklife Center is a center for the people, ensuring that these cultural resources are preserved and celebrated throughout the years to come."
In addition to the professional positions she has held, Ms. Bulger has been active in the larger American folklife community. "In particular, she has been active in the single most important society relating to her area of expertise -- the American Folklore Society -- of which she is currently president elect," Mr. Tabb said.
Ms. Bulger has written or edited a number of professional works, including South Florida Folklife (University of Mississippi Press, 1994) and Musical Roots of the South (Southern Arts Federation, 1992). In 1992, she won the Wayland D. Hand Prize for best article published in The Folklore Historian.
She was awarded the M.A. degree in folk studies from Western Kentucky University in 1975. While doing her graduate work, she served as an assistant in the university's folklife archives, for which she organized the Wilgus collection of folk songs and ballads and helped acquire the Carter family recording archive. In 1992, she received a Ph.D., with honors, in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania.