Skip to main content

Collection South Central Georgia Folklife Project Collection

About this Collection

The South-Central Georgia Folklife Project collection resulted from an ethnographic field project conducted in the summer of 1977 by the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress and the Arts Experiment Station of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia. The eight-county area chosen for the study is in the center of the "Wiregrass" region of Georgia.

The collection consists of approximately 376 sound recordings, 14,300 photographs, 13 containers of manuscripts, 8 videocassettes, and 31 pen-and-ink drawings, which document the folklife of south-central Georgia in July and August 1977. Topics of research were hymn singing, fiddle and banjo music, vernacular architecture, quilts, boat building, occupations, foodways, jokes, and stories from the region. Approximately 300 hours of audio were recorded at various local events.

Subjects of photographs include: people interviewed for the project; copies of their family photographs; vernacular houses, barns, and outbuildings, including log buildings; tools, furniture, birdhouses, and yard art; wells; tobacco culture, including curing, harvesting, warehouses, auctions, and farms, as well as tobacco workers; peanut, cotton, soybean, corn, and wheat fields; crop dusting; churches; religious services, including baptisms; prayers, sermons, hymn singing, and tent revivals; church suppers; barbecue cooking; breakfasts; quilts, crochet, and basket work; woodcarving; vernacular boats, boat repair, and boat building; fishing; graveyards, gravesites and grave markers; grocery stores, restaurants, dry goods stores, and a barber shop; business and roadside signs; a piano repair shop; aerial photographs; gathering wild herbs; trees, landscapes; swamps, and rivers; and box turtles, catfish, cattle, and dogs. Focuses of the fieldwork included hymn singing conventions, gospel singing of white and African American residents, fiddling, and old-time music. The collection also includes photographs and sound recordings of the following people and activities: Hugh McGraw, Raymond Hamrick, J. C. Cooper, and others leading sacred harp singing; other congregational and gospel singing groups; African American children's games, singing games, handclapping, and hambone; and old-time and bluegrass music featuring local fiddle, guitar, piano, and banjo players. Fieldworkers for this project included Thomas Adler, Carl Fleischhauer, Alan Jabbour, William Lightfoot, Howard Marshall, Beverly J. Robinson, and David Stanley, as well as Syd Blackmarr, director of the Arts Experiment Station, and Dennis Coelho, who later served as folklorist-in-residence at the Arts Experiment Station.

This online presentation includes the majority of the sound recordings and photographs. Selected manuscripts include those materials created by the fieldworkers, the 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 Web sites, 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 truth.

 Back to top