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Collection Lowell Folklife Project Collection

About this Collection

The Lowell Folklife Project was conducted in 1987-1988 as a cooperative project of the American Folklife Center and the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission, with support from the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, to document contemporary ethnic neighborhoods, occupations, and community life related to the history of industrialization in Lowell, Massachusetts.

This year-long study yielded an ethnographic collection consisting of 196 hours of sound recordings covering a wide range of subjects and activities, including oral history interviews, religious services and festivals (Catholic and Greek Orthodox holy week and Easter services and religious processions; a Cambodian Buddhist wedding ceremony; Cambodian and Laotian New Year's celebrations; Puerto Rican festivals), musical events, parades, ethnic restaurants, and neighborhood tours. An additional 23 hours of sound recordings of musical events and oral history interviews were copied from originals lent by Lowell residents. Collection materials also include correspondence; field notes; questionnaires; neighborhood maps; reports; publications; administrative files; interview transcripts; black-and-white photographic prints, contact sheets, and film negatives (ca. 10,000 images); and color slides and prints, (ca. 3500 images). Documentation was created by fieldworkers working for the American Folklife Center: Peter Bartis, Michael E. Bell, Douglas DeNatale, Barbara Fertig, Carl Fleischhauer, John Lueders-Booth, Mario Montaño, Martha K. Norkunas, Tom Rankin, David Alan Taylor, Eleanor F. Wachs, and members of the Refugee Arts Group.

This online presentation includes the majority of the sound recordings and photographs in this collection. Selected manuscripts include those materials created by the fieldworkers, such as audio and photo logs, field notes, and final reports. The remainder of the collection is available in the Folklife Reading Room at the Library of Congress. A finding aid to the entire collection is also available online.

The mission of the Library of Congress is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people. Through its website, the Library offers broad public access to a wide range of information, including historical materials that may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes. Such materials must be viewed in the context of the relevant time period. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in such materials. The events documented here are the personal recollections and perspectives of participating individuals; they are recordings of people's own stories and not necessarily the truth.