Articles and Essays

  • African American Nurses: The Chi Eta Phi Sorority Carmen Vaughn-Hewitt was awarded a 2021 Archie Green Fellowship to document “African American Nurses: The Chi Eta Phi Sorority.” A nurse with more than 30 years of experience and training in history and oral history, Vaughn-Hewitt conducted in-depth interviews with 15 members of the Chi Eta Phi Sorority Incorporated, a renowned historically Black national nursing sorority founded in 1932, in order to document members’...
  • Agricultural Aviation: Crop Dusters in Rural America In 2020, folklorist Samuel Kendrick and his mother, photographer and educator Ellen Kendrick, both of Richards, Missouri, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document the occupational experiences, training, insights and perspectives of agricultural pilots in rural America. Most of the pilots – who are often referred to as "crop dusters"– are interviewed in person by the Kendricks, who live...
  • Baton Rouge Small Businesses and Trades In 2014, the Louisiana Folklore Society and the Louisiana Folklife Program received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center for "Baton Rouge Small Businesses and Trades," a project documenting the oral histories of owners and workers in multigenerational small businesses and trades in the greater Baton Rouge area. Under the guidance of project director Maida Owens, Folklife Program Director at the Louisiana...
  • Beyond the Breakwater: Gulf of Alaska Small-Boat Fishermen The Alaska Marine Conservation Council in Homer, Alaska, received a 2021 Archie Green Fellowship for “Beyond the Breakwater: Gulf of Alaska Small-Boat Fishermen,” a documentation project recording in-depth oral history interviews and photographic portraits of 20 small-scale commercial fishermen based in four fishing communities across the Gulf of Alaska: Sitka, Homer, Seldovia, and Kodiak. Led by project director, anthropologist and fisherman Josh Wisniewski, the...
  • The "Big Top" Show Goes On: An Oral History of Occupations Inside and Outside the Canvas Tent In 2011, librarians Tanya D. Finchum and Juliana Nykolaiszyn of the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program at Oklahoma State University’s Edmon Low Library in Stillwater, Oklahoma, received an Archie Green Fellowship to research multi-generational circuses, circus workers, and circus families in the small town of Hugo, Oklahoma. For several generations, Hugo has been a "wintering over" town for small, family-owned circuses. Many of its...
  • Boeing Aircraft Factory Workers in and around Wichita, Kansas In 2012, Murl Riedel, historian and grants officer at the Kansas Humanities Council in Topeka, Kansas, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document the occupational folklife of Boeing aircraft factory workers in and around Wichita, Kansas. Undertaken in cooperation with the Wichita-Sedgwick County History Museum, the oral history project specifically focused on the occupational experiences of workers in Boeing’s...
  • Cement Workers in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley This collection consists of 20 occupational folklife oral history interviews conducted by historian Vyta Pivo, who received a 2020 Archie Green Fellowship to document the occupational culture and folklore of cement workers in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. The Lehigh Valley, a region in central Pennsylvania, is considered “the birthplace of the American cement industry.” The project complements Dr. Pivo’s previous research on the history of...
  • Commercial Bookbinders In 2017, Jeanne Drewes, Chief of the Library of Congress’s Binding & Collections Care Division, undertook an independent oral history project as part of the Occupational Folklife Project to document the occupational trade and work-related experiences of professional bookbinders. Over the course of a year, she interviewed 26 bookbinders throughout the United States. She explored how the binders and book preservation professionals were trained,...
  • Community Health Workers in Downstate New York Folklorists Aaron Paige and Elinor Levy at Arts Westchester in White Plains, New York, working in collaboration with Sun River Health (SRH), received a 2021 Archie Green Fellowship to document "Community Health Workers in Downstate New York." They interviewed 16 of the non-profit’s community health workers in rural, urban and suburban locations in the Hudson River Valley, New York City and Long Island. One...
  • Cultural Traditions of Ironworkers in America’s Upper Midwest In 2011, Professor James P. Leary, from the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Dr. Clark D. "Bucky" Halker of Chicago, Illinois, received an Archie Green Fellowship though the non-profit organization Company of Folk to document the "Cultural Traditions of Ironworkers in America's Upper Midwest." Leary and Halker independently interviewed a total of 26 ironworkers...
  • Custodians and Janitors in Colorado In 2021, oral historian Cynthia Torres received an Archie Green Fellowship to document the occupational culture and experiences of custodians and janitors in Colorado. Ms. Torres, who worked as a custodian herself for several years before training as a documentarian at the University of Colorado, interviewed 13 workers in this “undervalued and unnoticed” profession to create an opportunity for custodians and janitors “to tell...
  • Dairy Farm Workers in New York's North Country In 2012, folklorist Hannah Harvester, director of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY), received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document the occupational folklife of dairy farmers and farm workers in New York State’s North Country. Harvester and her colleagues recorded oral histories with local dairy farm owners, farm workers, agricultural agents, and others involved in the local dairy...
  • Doctoring: The Occupational Folklore of Physicians In 2019, folklorist Lisa Gabbert received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to interview physicians working in a wide variety of medical specialties and document their occupational folklife. Interviewees discuss their training, daily routines, work environments, personal motivations and challenges, and the occupational folklore and humor of their profession. Interviews take place primarily in the Salt...
  • Domestic Workers United In 2015, the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document the occupational culture, oral histories, and work related experiences of domestic workers, many of them recently arrived immigrants, working as nannies, elder care providers, and housekeepers in private homes throughout the New York metropolitan area. The project was directed by BAC folklorist Christopher Mulé. BAC,...
  • Ethnic Grocers in the Urban Midwest In 2013, folklorist Lucy Long received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document the work-related experiences and occupational histories of ethnic grocery store owners and workers in Toledo, Columbus, and Cleveland, Ohio. Interviewees include store workers, managers and owners, and representatives of shops catering to Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Central and Eastern European communities. It features oral histories with...
  • Finding Roots: Asian American Farmers in Contemporary America In 2020, Vermont-based researcher Katie Reuther received approval to conduct an Occupational Folklife Project on Asian American Farmers. During 2020-2021, she documented the unique voices and experiences of 21 Asian American farmers and 1 fisherman, focusing primarily on Generation Y "Millennials." Although approximately 22,000 Asian American farmers currently make up less than 1% of farmers across the United States, they have long played a...
  • Fixing, Mending, Making New: North Carolina's Repair Professionals In 2020, North Carolina folklorist Katy Clune and artist Julia Gartell received Archie Green Fellowship funding for their project "Fixing, Mending, Making New: North Carolina Repair Professionals." They traveled throughout North Carolina to interview, photograph, and document 22 craftspeople and small business owners who make their livings repairing objects and challenging the contemporary dependence on single-use and throw-away items. Those documented include craftspeople who...
  • Fresh Produce Workers in Arizona In 2015, folklorist Nicholas Hartmann and the Southwest Folklife Alliance in Tucson, Arizona, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to interview workers involved with the sale, distribution, and transportation of fresh produce that enter the American food supply through the city of Nogales on the United States-Mexico border. For generations, Nogales has been a major commercial hub for the marketing...
  • Funeral Services Workers in the Carolinas In 2016, folklorist Sarah Bryan of Durham, North Carolina, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document the work of morticians and funeral directors in North Carolina and South Carolina. She explored how, through their work, funeral workers engage with the funerary folklore and religious beliefs of diverse Carolina communities, including African American, Gullah, Scottish and Scots-Irish as well as...
  • Grass-Roots Agriculture in Vermont In 2014, the Vermont Folklife Center, directed by folklorist Andy Kolovos, was awarded an Archie Green Fellowship by the American Folklife Center to research and document the occupational culture and practices of locally focused “grass-roots” agricultural enterprises throughout the state of Vermont. Kovolos and his colleague Gregory Sharrow conducted 26 in-depth oral history interviews with a cross‐section of agricultural stakeholders including farmers, dairy owners,...
  • The Green Book: Documenting African American Entrepreneurs In 2018, independent scholar and documentarian Candacy Taylor received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document contemporary business owners and employees who work for more than a dozen still-active businesses that were listed in The Green Book, a historically significant travel guide published between 1937 and 1967. The Green Book listed businesses—e.g., restaurants, hotels, barbershops, taverns, drug stores, and garages—that...
  • Hairdresser and Beauty Shop Culture in America In 2012, documentarian Candacy Taylor received an Archie Green Fellowship to document hairdresser and beauty shop culture across America. The resulting 16 in-depth interviews were conducted at various types of hair-related establishments, from upscale New York City salons to home beauty parlors in Philadelphia and West Virginia, and suburban and small town shops in Washington, D.C., Boston, and California. The collector focused on shops...
  • Homeless Shelter Workers in the Upper Midwest In 2016, social services worker, writer and documentarian Margaret Miles of Minneapolis, Minnesota, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document workers in the emergency homeless services in three interrelated Midwestern urban centers--Bismarck, North Dakota, Minneapolis-St Paul, Minnesota, and Chicago, Illinois. She recorded interviews with overnight shelter advocates, meal and clothing center coordinators, street outreach workers, daytime drop-in supervisors, housing...
  • Hope for Recovery: Peer Support Workers in Kentucky In 2020, folklorist Ethan Sharp of Lexington, Kentucky, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to conduct 16 oral history interviews with workers involved in peer support counseling for people with substance abuse disorders in his home state of Kentucky. In response to the opioid epidemic, the state government and addiction treatment facilities in Kentucky expanded training and employment opportunities for...
  • Illuminating History: Union Electricians in New York City In 2016, New York researcher and electrician Jaime Lopez, in affiliation with SUNY Empire State College's Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center of Labor Studies (HVASLS), and The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW, Local #3) in Queens, New York, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document the occupational culture of urban IBEW electricians, who “through manufacture, installation, and maintenance...
  • Immigrant Women Artists in Oklahoma In 2020, oral historian Dr. Julie Pearson-Little Thunder and Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, received an Archie Green Fellowship to document the work-related experiences of "Immigrant Women Artists in Oklahoma." The collection features in-depth interviews with 10 professional women artists who have immigrated to Oklahoma from Asia, Europe, and Latin America and explores how they have reestablished themselves and are making their livings...
  • Independent Professional Wrestlers in Central Appalachia In 2019, folklorist Delainey Bowers received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document the occupational folklore and work-related culture of independent professional wrestlers working the sports and entertainment circuit in the central Appalachian region. Bowers notes that “from chokeslams to powerbombs, face paint to feather boas, independent professional wrestling is teeming with occupational folklore that celebrates athleticism, technique, and personal...
  • Kitchen Workers in Central Ohio In 2017, Jess Lamar Reece Holler, an independent Ohio-based folklorist, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document the occupational experiences and traditions of “back-of-house” kitchen workers in or near Columbus, Ohio. She interviewed 16 veteran, part-time, and recently-employed food employees working in kitchens, community markets, food trucks, and pop-up eateries. As Holler notes, the contemporary emphasis on celebrity chefs...
  • Midwives, Doulas, and Birth Workers in North Carolina In 2019 folklorists Josephine McRobbie and Joseph O’Connell received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to document the occupational culture and traditional knowledge of professional midwives, doulas and other birth workers throughout North Carolina. The researchers interviewed workers in diverse occupational settings, including academic research hospitals, local community medical practices dedicated to under-served populations, and ad-hoc...
  • Multigenerational African-Descended Farmers of the Midwest: Surviving Erasure Collection consists of 22 occupational folklife interviews conducted by oral historian Anna-Lisa Cox. The interviews document the histories, traditions, and experiences of older, multigenerational African-descended farmers in rural Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, most of whom are descendants of Black pioneers who settled this region starting in the 1790s. By the 1850s, these Northwest Territory states had over 300 thriving African American farm...
  • Nursing America's Veterans In 2020, Alana Glaser, a medical anthropologist at St. John's University in Queens, New York, received an Archie Green Fellowship to document nurses' experiences of working as care providers for the United States Veterans Health Administration (VA). Drawing on her substantial experience and contacts in the world of nursing, Dr. Glaser interviewed nurses working at different VA facilities and in different medical specialties. The...
  • Personal Home Health Care Workers in Michigan In 2017, Clare Luz, a gerontologist at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to conduct a research project on the occupational folklore of "Personal Home Health Care Aides in Michigan." Working with fellow MSU faculty members, including the epidemiologist Khalid Ibrahim as well as folklorist Marsha MacDowell and...
  • Production Potters of the Midwest Meredith A.E. McGriff, a folklorist from Bloomington, Indiana, received a 2018 Archie Green Fellowship for research on and interviews with "Production Potters of the Midwestern United States." The project documents the occupational folklore, training, and work-related experiences of professional production potters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. It focuses on both their artistry and the commercial aspects of working full-time in this regional...
  • Psychiatric Nurses in Wisconsin In 2018, Charitie Hyman, an independent folklorist and mental health worker from Madison, Wisconsin, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document the occupational folklore and culture of psychiatric nurses in Wisconsin. During 2018 and 2019, she recorded 20 work-related oral histories from a diverse group of nursing professionals throughout the state. These in-depth interviews explore the interviewees' professional training...
  • Ranger Lore: The Occupational Folklore of Park Rangers In 2013, folklorists Brent Björkman, Director of the Kentucky Folklife Program at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, and Jonathan Kay, Director of Traditional Arts Indiana at Indiana University in Bloomington, received an Archie Green Fellowship to document the folklore, folklife, and oral histories of park rangers and park workers in state and federal parks in Indiana and Kentucky. In cooperation with state and...
  • Ransomville Speedway: Dirt Track Workers in Western New York This collection consists of 17 oral history interviews conducted by folklorist Edward Y. Millar, who received a 2020 Archie Green Fellowship to document the history, occupational culture, and folklore of dirt track workers at The Ransomville Speedway in western New York. Millar, staff folklorist at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, interviewed workers involved in a variety of track-related jobs – from drivers...
  • Recent Immigrant Workers in Iowa's Meatpacking Industry In 2015, oral and public historian John McKerley and his colleague Jennifer Sherer, the Director of the University of Iowa’s Labor Center in Iowa City, Iowa, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document the occupational folklife and work-related experiences of recently arrived immigrants in the large meatpacking plants of Iowa and Illinois. The 19 workers interviewed for this project...
  • Rural Free Delivery: Mail Carriers in Central Appalachia In 2021, folklorist Emily Hilliard received an Archie Green Fellowship to document U.S. mail carriers in Central Appalachia. Over the course of a year, she conducted in-depth interviews with 24 contemporary and recently-retired rural mail carriers and clerks (formerly known as postmasters) in the upper mountain South (VA, WV, KY, OH). Interviewees discuss their work-related activities and responsibilities; the function they serve as lifelines...
  • Stable Views: Stories and Voices from the Thoroughbred Racetrack In 2012, folklorist Dr. Ellen McHale received an Archie Green Fellowship to document "backstretch" track workers— trainers, grooms, exercise riders, hot-walkers, jockeys, blacksmiths, and others--directly involved with the care and maintenance of thoroughbred racehorses at race tracks along the U.S. East Coast. The fieldworker conducted 17 audio interviews and took documentary photographs at various locations, including racetracks in Belmont and Saratoga Springs, New York;...
  • Taking Care: Documenting the Occupational Culture of Home Health Care Workers In 2014, Professor Bob Bussel and his colleagues at the University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center in Eugene, Oregon, received an Archie Green Fellowship to conduct oral history interviews with workers who provide home-based care for the elderly and the disabled in the state of Oregon. Bussel and his team worked closely with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 503, to...
  • Teaching in Wisconsin Classrooms A four-member research team consisting of folklorists Anne Pryor, Mary Hoefferle, Ruth Olson and Mark Wagler from the nonprofit organization Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture (WTLC) received a 2013 Archie Green Fellowship to document the occupational folklore and work-related experiences of 32 classroom teachers in the state of Wisconsin. As the researchers note, teaching is possibly the largest single occupation in the United States...
  • Tillamook: Cheesemakers in Coastal Oregon Folklorist Jared L. Schmidt of Rockaway Beach, Oregon, received a 2021 Archie Green Fellowship to document the Tillamook County Creamery Association, a farmer-owned cooperative in coastal Oregon. Over the course of a century, Tillamook Creamery’s cheese and dairy products have become a nationally prominent brand while maintaining a local farmer-owner co-op model. "The result is a sense of cultural heritage and identity rooted in...
  • Tobacco Workers of the Connecticut River Valley In 2014, researchers Dale Cahill and Darcy Cahill of Bakersfield, Vermont, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to undertake a project documenting "Tobacco Workers of the Connecticut River Valley." During the summer of 2014, they recorded 19 oral histories with tobacco farmers and tobacco farm workers involved in growing high-quality tobacco for premium cigars in Massachusetts and Vermont.
  • Training the Troops: Military Role-Players of Fort Polk, Louisiana In 2017, Christopher Sims, a documentarian from Efland, North Carolina, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to record interviews with “cultural role-players” employed by the United States military to train troops at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Over more than a decade, these role-players – whose ranks include both recent immigrants and long-term area residents — have evolved a unique occupational culture...
  • Trash Talk: Workers in Vermont's Waste Management Industry In 2018, Virginia Nickerson, an independent scholar and documentarian in Montpelier, Vermont, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to interview workers for "Trash Talk: Workers in Vermont's Waste Management Industry." Her project documents the occupational stories and experiences of more than two dozen people engaged in different sectors of the waste management chain, including trash collection, sorting, marketing, processing, administration,...
  • Washington State Workers In 2012, Northwest Folklife, a nonprofit arts organization based in Seattle, received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center for "Washington State Workers," an oral history project documenting the culture and traditions of union workers throughout the state of Washington. Conceived and directed by Northwest Folklife’s Deputy Director, folklorist Deborah Fant, the project conducted 20 in-depth interviews with a cross section of...
  • Western Folklife Center: Gold Mining in Nevada In 2011, Western Folklife Center folklorists Charles Seemann and Margaret "Meg" Glaser from Elko, Nevada, in collaboration with the Nevada Gold Mining Association, conducted 5 interviews focusing on oral histories and occupational folklife of contemporary gold mining in northern Nevada. The interviews include "Terms & Lingo" lists, miscellaneous materials, and one (afc2011064_00189), includes original gold mining safety songs composed and performed by mine "Safety...
  • Winery Workers in Virginia Kim Stryker, a folklorist from Falls Church, Virginia, received a 2017 Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document the occupational traditions and work-related narratives of winery workers throughout the state of Virginia. Stryker and her research team conducted in-depth audio and video interviews with workers involved in various aspects of Virginia’s rapidly expanding wine industry. Those interviewed include winery owners, fieldworkers,...
  • Women Architects In 2019, independent scholar, oral historian, preservationist and architect Sarah K. Filkins received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to interview a diverse and prominent group of 15 women architects working in large, medium, and small architectural firms, at universities, and in agencies throughout the United States. She documented stories about their occupational culture, their experiences training and working as architects,...
  • Working the Port of Houston In 2011, folklorists Pat Jasper, Director of the Houston Folklife and Traditional Arts Program at the Houston Arts Alliance, and Carl Lindahl, Martha Gano Houston Research Professor, Department of English, University of Houston received an Archie Green Fellowship to document the diverse culture of work and workers associated with the port of Houston and the Houston ship channel. Over the course of the next...
  • Working the Waterfront: New Bedford, Massachusetts In 2016, the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center (NBFHC) received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document workers on the New Bedford, Massachusetts, waterfront for the Occupational Folklife Project (OFP). Folklorist and NBFHC Executive Director Laura Orleans, anthropologists Madeleine Hall-Arber and Corinn Williams, and oral historian Fred Calabretta recorded oral histories with 58 workers involved in diverse fishing-related trades on...