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Collection Pinelands Folklife Project

About this Collection

The Pinelands Folklife Project collection represents the culmination of a three-year effort to identify and record the cultural traditions in and around the Pinelands National Reserve in the Pine Barrens region of southern New Jersey in the mid-1980s. The collection comprises ethnographic documentation which examines the relationship between the local culture and the surrounding environment. It contains the administrative records, planning documents, and published materials related to the management of the field project. The bulk of the collection consists of field documentation recorded in a range of formats, including field notes and logs, sound recordings, graphic images, and moving images.

The National Parks and Recreation Act (P.L. 95-625) established the Pinelands National Reserve in 1978 to protect the unique cultural and environmental resources of the Pine Barrens region in southern New Jersey, and the Pinelands Commission, an oversight board made up of federal, state, and local representatives, to develop policies to protect, preserve, and enhance these resources. In cooperation with the commission, the American Folklife Center undertook the Pinelands Folklife Project to identify and document the various aspects of traditional culture existing within and around the Pinelands National Reserve. The project was intended to test the concepts and recommendations set forth in the report Cultural Conservation: The Protection of Cultural Heritage in the United States, prepared by the American Folklife Center and the Department of the Interior. The inquiry of the field study concentrated on the interplay between the local culture and the natural landscape, and the social construction of place.

The project was executed in three phases between May 1983 and September 1986, which consisted of planning and personnel selection, field research and documentation, and the development of educational products. The project was directed by Mary Hufford, and co-planned by Carl Fleischhauer of the American Folklife Center. The core team included administrative coordinator, Sue Samuelson, three full-time field-workers, Jens Lund, Elaine Thatcher, and Christine Cartwright, and three part-time project associates, Bonnie Blair, Tom Carroll, and Malachi O’Connor. Two additional folklorists from state government agencies contributed to the project, David Cohen of the New Jersey Historical Commission, and Rita Moonsammy of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Dennis McDonald of the Burlington County Times newspaper, and Joseph Czarnecki served as project photographers. Eugene Hunn, an ethnobiologist, and Nora Rubenstein, an environmental psychologist, contributed to the project on a consultative basis. Additional members of the project team included Henry Glassie, Jay Orr, and Gerald E. Parsons. The final phase of the project was conducted in cooperation with representatives from the National Park Service, the New Jersey State Historical Commission, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the New Jersey Department of Human Resources.

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