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American Folklife Center & Veterans History Project
Annual Report for 2007

Peggy A. Bulger, Director

The American Folklife Center (AFC), which includes the Veterans History Project (VHP), had another productive year.  Approximately a quarter million items were acquired by AFC's archive, which is the country’s first national archive of traditional life, and one of the oldest and largest of such repositories in the world.

Piper Robert Watt performs as part of the Rediscover Northern Ireland Programme, May 23, 2007
Highland piper Robert Watt performed in the Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress on May 23, 2007. Watt and singer/guitarist Dáithí Sproule performed as part of the Rediscover Northern Ireland Programme, sponsored by AFC, The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure of Northern Ireland, and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Photo by Stephen Winick.
View the webcast of Dáithí Sproule & Robert Watt (time 55:30)

About the same number of items were processed, and thus made available to researchers at the Library and beyond.  In addition, the Center continued to expand programming through an increased number of symposia, concerts, and public lectures; by providing assistance to public school “heritage projects” around the country; and by providing technical assistance to individuals and groups.  VHP continued making strides in its mission to collect and preserve the stories of our nation's veterans, acquiring over 10,000 new submissions.   AFC also continued to be a leader in international discussions about intellectual property, and the AFC director served as a member of US delegations to meetings convened by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), UNESCO, and the Organization of American States (OAS).  Both AFC and VHP provided substantial services to Congress.  The following report details AFC and VHP's activities during FY 2007.



During FY 2007, the American Folklife Center’s Archive had 4 FTEs (plus11 interns and volunteers), while the Veterans History Project (VHP) had 10 FTEs (plus 5.5 contractors and 2 junior fellows) to process collections. 

The American Folklife Center’s permanent processing staff continued the physical and intellectual processing of collection materials, as well as the preparation of manuscripts, photographs, audio, and video holdings for digitization.  They collaborated with the LC Conservation staff on the treatment of materials, supply-order requests, management of storage environments, and planning for the eventual transfer of collections to Ft. Meade.  They also added information about acquisitions, collections, and individual items to the MAVIS database in order to make basic information about collection materials available, and to track collections as they are moved to and from the NAVCC facility in Culpeper, Virginia.   AFC staff also worked on a new version of a prototype database designed to provide a unified interface at AFC for the 11 individual StoryCorps databases.

The Veterans History Project (VHP) received a record number of collections in its seventh year.  This resulted from successful publicity and wider grassroots support across the country.  New collections topped 10,000.  Now the public can access information about over 50,000 individual collections comprising oral histories, letters, photographs, diaries, and memoirs.   Greater progress in processing was made thanks to additional FTEs and contractors.  The VHP public database provides access to information about over 47,000 war veterans; their oral histories collections can be served to patrons in the AFC reading room.  Small but rich selections of approximately 4,300 of them are available on the Web.  This year's newly digitized collections include The Art of War (drawings, photos), The War (related to the PBS series), Asian Pacific Islanders in War, and World War I. 

Below are three lists: AFC collections that were completely processed, collections that were partially processed, and collections that were encoded with EAD (Encoded Archival Description) during Fiscal Year 2007. The completely processed collections have MARC records in the LC Online Catalog.

aids quilt squares
These panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt were discussed in a presentation by Diane Goldstein in the Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lecture Series on October 4, 2006. The Botkin Series online Archives include Webcasts and introductory essays for the FY2007 lectures listed here.
Visit the Benjamin Botkin Lecture Series Online Archive.

1. Completed Processing FY 2007 (75 Collections):

1a.  AFC’s Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series Collections:

  • AFC 2004/038 Chinese Folk Art Today, lecture by Yong Xianrang
  • AFC 2004/040 Giving a Voice to Sorrow: Creative Responses to Death, lecture by Ilana Harlow
  • AFC 2004/041 Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo, lecture by Bart Plantenga
  • AFC 2004/042 Eight Sounds of Chinese Musical Instruments, lecture by Nora Yeh
  • AFC 2004/043 Ivan Kupalo: Ritual in Post-Soviet Ukraine, lecture by Natalie Kononenko
  • AFC 2004/044 Basque Culture in the Western United States, Lecture by Maria-Carmen RA. Gambliel
  • AFC 2004/045 From Patent Medicines to Patents for Indigenous Knowledge, lecture by Margaret Kruesi
  • AFC 2004/046 The Lore of America’s Coal Miners, lecture by Angus Kress Gillespie
  • AFC 2004/047 From Bridge to Boardwalk, lecture by Douglas Manger, Tatiana Irvine, and Elaine Eff
  • AFC 2005/031 Enthralled by the Story, lecture by Valda Morris and Todd Harvey
  • AFC 2005/032 Between Midnight and Day: The Last Unpublished Blues Archive, lecture by Dick Waterman
  • AFC 2005/033 Music in Bulgaria: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture, lecture by Timothy Rice
  • AFC 2005/034 Building Democracy in America, by Stetson Kennedy in conversation with Peggy Bulger
  • AFC 2005/035 From Virginia to Vermont: A Trek from Slavery to Freedom, lecture by Jane Beck
  • AFC 2005/036 Bridles, Bits and Beads: Folk and Fieldwork from…Montana, lecture by Alexandra Swaney
  • AFC 2005/037 Tales of the Jersey Devil, lecture by Stephen D. Winick
  • AFC 2005/039 Beautiful Bridge: Crossing the Span Between Oral Tradition and the Written Creative Word, lecture by Frank Delaney
  • AFC 2005/040 Collecting and Performing Traditional Song in the Republic of Georgia, lecture by Malkhaz Erkvanidze
  • AFC 2005/041 Song and Silence: Ethnic Revival on China's Southwest Borders, lecture by Sara L. M. Davis
  • AFC 2005/042 Cultural Rescue in Post-Chornobyl Ukraine, lecture by Myron O. Stachiw
Homegrown 2006 performers
Some 2006 performers in the Homegrown concert series. Clockwise from upper left: James “Superchikan” Johnson, the Lao Natasinh Dance Troupe, Mary Louise Defender Wilson, and the Gannon Family. These concerts generated collections that were processed in FY2007. The Homegrown Concert Series Online Archives include Webcasts and introductory essays for the 2006 concerts and some 2005 concerts listed here.
Visit the Homegrown Series Online Archives.

1b.  AFC’s Homegrown Concert Series Collections

  • AFC 2004/026 Norman and Nancy Blake Concert Collection
  • AFC 2004/027 Don Roy Trio and Florence Martin Concert Collection
  • AFC 2004/028 Paschall Brothers Concert Collection
  • AFC 2004/029 Oinkari Basque Dancers Concert Collection
  • AFC 2004/030 Phong Nguyen Ensemble Concert and Interview Collection
  • AFC 2004/031 Anjani Ambegaokar Concert Collection
  • AFC 2004/032 Nadeem Dlaikan and the Dearborn Traditional Ensemble Concert and Interview Collection
  • AFC 2004/033 American Indian Music and Dance Troupe Concert Collection
  • AFC 2004/034 Gerry Grcevich and his Orchestra Concert and Interview Collection
  • AFC 2005/022 Liz Carroll with John Doyle Interview and Concert Collection
  • AFC 2005/023 Washington Chu Shan Chinese Opera Institute Concert Collection
  • AFC 2005/024 Margaret MacArthur Concert and Interview Collection
  • AFC 2005/025 D.W. Groethe Concert and Interview Collection
  • AFC 2005/026 Benton Flippen and the Smokey Valley Boys Concert and Interview Collection
  • AFC 2005/027 Carter Family Tribute Collection
  • AFC 2005/028 Negrura Peruana Concert Collection
  • AFC 2005/029 Dineh Tah Navajo Dancers Concert Collection
  • AFC 2005/030 Birmingham Sunlights Concert Collection
  • AFC 2006/027 David and Levon Ayriyan Concert and Interview Collection
  • AFC 2006/028 James “Super Chikan” Johnson Concert and Interview Collection
  • AFC 2006/029 River Boys Polka Band Concert and Interview Collection
  • AFC 2006/030 Natasinh Dancers and Musicians Concert Collection
  • AFC 2006/031 Mary Louise Defender Wilson and Keith Bear Concert and Interview Collection
  • AFC 2006/032 Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver Concert Collection
  • AFC 2006/033 Sonny Burgess and the Pacers Concert Collection
  • AFC 2006/034 The Gannon Family Concert Collection
Magdalena Nowacka-Jannotta demonstrating papercutting
Magdalena Nowacka-Jannotta demonstrates Wycinanki Polish Papercutting for an American Folklife Center workshop at the Library of Congress, 1982. Ms. Nowacka-Jannotta recently donated a collection to AFC, which was processed in FY2007. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer.

1c. Other Fully Processed AFC Collections

  • After the storm, I-VII: [from] American routes, with Nick Spitzer (AFC 2006/020)
  • Adelaide de Menials Men's Lives Project Collection (AFC 1998/015)
  • California Gold Online Presentation Collection  (AFC 1997/033)
  • Charles Perdue Collection of John Jackson Recordings (AFC 1975/040)
  • Cotton Carnival and Cotton Makers Jubilee: Memphis society in black and white / by Robert Emmett McLean (AFC 1996/007)
  • Daisy Valentine recordings (AFC 1965/015)
  • Department of Irish Folklore, University College Dublin, Field Recordings from Massachusetts, USA (AFC 2003/025)
  • Frank A. Hoffmann Collection of Migrant Worker and Blanche W. Keysner Recordings (AFC 1957/008)
  • Harold Dejan's Olympia Brass Band Collection (AFC 1987/026)
  • Harold Reeves and Russell Wood Collection of Gullah Recordings (AFC 1959/006)
  • Ivan Kupalo: Ritual in Post-Soviet Ukraine, Lecture by Natalie Kononenko (AFC 2004/043)
  • James Dickey Guitar Recordings (AFC 1968/001)
  • John Dawson Blues and Jazz Collection  (AFC 2003/018)
  • Kathy and Joel Shimberg Collection of John W. Summers Recordings (AFC 1974/031)
  • Magdalena Nowacka-Jannotta Wycinanki Polish Papercutting Collection (AFC 2000/005)
  • M.I.T. Outing Club Songbook (AFC 1991/011)
  • Maggie F. Gomillion Collection of Religious Songs (AFC 1965/012)
  • Marcel Bénéteau Lecture (AFC 2004/039)
  • Mary Sheppard Burton Collection (AFC 2006/005)
  • Masters of Mexican Music Concert Collection (AFC 2004/035)
  • Norman Cazden Catskill Recordings (AFC 1965/009)
  • Peggy V. Beck Collection on New Mexican Midwinter Masquerades  (AFC 2005/005)
  • Omaha Indian Interviews Collection, 1999  (AFC 1999/014)
  • Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs and Related Families Reunion Collection (AFC 2005/010)
  • Robin Hiteshew Irish-American Print Materials Collection  (AFC 1998/013)
  • Sara L.M. Davis Collection on Tai Culture (AFC 2006/004)
  • Sol Biderman Collection (AFC 2006/01)
  • Tony Ellis Concert Collection (AFC 2003/055)
  • University of Maryland Folklore Archive Collection (AFC 1974/024)
  • W. Dean Edwards Collection (AFC 1995/015)
  • Wayland D. Hand American Folklife Center Legislation Collection  (AFC 2004/013)
  • YAR International Russian Folk Concert Collection (AFC 2000/013)

2. Partially Processed FY 2007 (51 Collections)

  • Alliance for American Quilts Interview Collection (AFC 2007/009)
  • Alan Lomax Collection (AFC 2004/004)
  • Alan Lomax Haiti Collection (AFC 1937/010)
  • Artifacts and Gifts Collection (AFC 9999/003)
  • Au Ho-Nien Collection on Chinese Lingnan Painting (AFC 2007/024)
  • Barry Lee Pearson Collection of Rev. O.C. Matthews Recordings (AFC 1980/005)
  • Black Banjo Songsters, Volume 2 Digitization Project (AFC 9999/004)
  • Center for Applied Linguistics Collection (AFC 1986/022)
  • Discoteca Publica de Sao Paolo Collection (AFC 1943/001)
  • Don Yoder Collection of Tape Recordings (AFC 2003/051)
  • Don Yoder Collection of Wire Recordings (AFC 1970/004)
  • Edward Bell Collection of Ruth Mae Gasper Bell and Margot Mayo Recordings (AFC 2004/022)
  • Eleanor Dickinson Collection (AFC 1970/001)
  • Eloise Hubbard Linscott Collection (AFC 1942/002)
  • Frances Densmore Collection of Visual Materials (AFC 1944/002)
  • George Korson Collection (AFC 2003/011)
  • Helen Creighton Collection of Nova Scotia Recordings (AFC 1944/016)
  • Herbert Halpert Collection (AFC 2004/008)
  • Hongyi He Chinese Papercuts Collection (AFC 2006/008)
  • International Storytelling Collection (AFC 2001/008)
  • Irish Folklore Commission Wax Cylinder Collection (AFC 2004/002)
  • Ivan Walton Collection from Beaver Island, Michigan (AFC 1941/025)
  • Ivan Walton Songs from Michigan (AFC 1939/014)
  • Jean Thomas Scrapbook Collection (AFC 1954/001)
  • Jens Lund Ohio River Valley Collection (AFC 2004/023)
  • Jens Lund Collection of Folklife Center of Ohio Valley Recordings (AFC 2004/025)
  • Joel M. Halpern Collection (AFC 1998/001)
  • Joseph S. Hall Great Smoky Mountains Original Recordings Collection (AFC 1987/035)
  • Literatura de Cordel Brazilian Chapbook Collection (AFC 1970/002)
  • Local Legacies Project Collection (3-D object box rehousing project continues) (AFC 2000/001)
  • Marjory Bong-Ray Liu Collection (AFC 2003/053)
  • Mars Hill College Collection of Bascom Lamar Lunsford Recordings (AFC 2005/012)
  • Mitsuru Yuge Collection of Shakuhachi Notation (AFC 2005/009)
  • National Council for the Traditional Arts Collection (AFC 2001/019)
  • Neil V. Rosenberg Bluegrass Music Collection (AFC 2002/009)
  • Nora Yeh Kemeny Family Collection (AFC 2000/018)
  • Pete and Toshi Seeger Film Collection (AFC 2003/027)
  • OzarksWatch Video Magazine Collection (AFC 2000/027)
  • Robert Sonkin Alabama and New Jersey Collection [Gee's Bend] (AFC 1941/018)
  • Ryl’s’kyi Ukrainian Cylinder Collection (AFC 1992/005)
  • Sidney Robertson Cowell WPA California Folk Music Project Collection (AFC 1940/001)
  • Simon Bronner Collection (AFC 2006/018)
  • Steve Green Collection of Home Disc Recordings (AFC 1997/031)
  • StoryCorps Collection (AFC 2004/001)
  • Ted Grame and Kathy Monahan Recordings (AFC 2001/031)
  • Veteran’s History Project (AFC 2001/002)
  • Vida Chenoweth Collection (AFC 1994/003)
  • Voices of Civil Rights Project Collection (AFC 2005/013)
  • Aaron Ziegelman Foundation Collection (AFC 2003/002)
  • Zuni Pueblo Storytelling Collection (AFC 1996/073)

Note: Some collections, such as International Storytelling, Veteran History Project and StoryCorps, are open collections, meaning that new items are being added at regular intervals.  These collections will be partially processed every year until no more items are added and they are considered “closed.”

3.  EAD finding aids marked up FY 2007 (5 finding aids)

  • The Ray M. Lawless Collection  (AFC 1970/003)
  • Italian-Americans in the West Project Collection  (AFC 1989/022)
  • Working in Paterson Project Collection  (AFC 1995/028)
  • Sam Eskin Collection  (AFC 1999/004)
  • Harold C. Conklin Philippine Collection  (AFC 2001/007)


Completely processed collections have MARC records with full name and subject authorities in the LC Online Catalog, including the establishment of 67 name authority records and 2 subject headings.

Approximately 60 collection-level catalog records have been added to the Library of Congress’s online catalog for AFC collections.  Collections that are now accessible through the Library of Congress online catalog include the StoryCorps Collection; the University College Dublin Collection of Field Recordings of Irish Americans in Massachusetts in 1982; the Charles Perdue Collection of John Jackson Field Recordings; and the Mary Sheppard Burton Collection, consisting of videotaped interviews and twelve hooked rugs created by Burton.  Also cataloged is the “After the Storm” series of Nick Spitzer’s American Routes radio shows, broadcast from Lafayette, Louisiana, in the fall of 2005, after Hurricane Katrina.  These include interviews with New Orleans and Lafayette, Louisiana, musicians and residents about their experiences with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. 

A number of Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lectures and Homegrown Concerts sponsored by the American Folklife Center have been cataloged. In some cases, the online catalog record now features a link to the webcast of the entire lecture or concert.  Collections from AFC’s older recordings cataloged this year include the Ryl’s’kyi Ukrainian Cylinder Collection, an important collection of folk songs, folk music, and oral traditions originally recorded by Ukrainian ethnologists on wax cylinders in the Ukraine between 1908 and the early 1930s; and the James Dickey Guitar Recordings Collection, featuring James Dickey, Poetry Consultant at the Library of Congress, playing American folk tunes, hymn tunes, and blues on 6-string and 12-string guitar in 1968.


Alliance For American Quilts Interview Collection: Audio recordings of interviews with over 600 American quilters concerning the quilts they make, their quilting techniques and artistic influences, and other topics.  The collection was donated by the Alliance for American Quilts, a national non-profit organization devoted to furthering the recognition of quilts and preserving the history of quilts and quilters.  The recordings in the collection are products of the Alliance’s documentary project, “Quilters S.O.S. (Save Our Stories).”

Simon Bronner Collection: Field audio recordings, fieldnotes, photographs and correspondence collected by folklorist Simon Bronner of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in connection with folklore fieldwork he conducted in upper New York State.  The collection was donated by Bronner.   

Robert Corwin Collection: Digital files containing hundreds of photographic images by professional photographer Robert Corwin, of Philadelphia, and the late Jerome Corwin, that document American folk musicians and related scenes.  The photographs, many of which document aspects of the American folk-music revival, were taken from 1965 to the present.  The collection was donated by Robert Corwin.  

Alan Lomax Collection: AFC acquired the final increment of the Lomax Collection, which includes various materials related to Lomax’s research on performance, style and culture.  These and other  associated materials comprise 71,920 items, consisting of manuscripts, sound recordings, graphic images and moving images.  (The majority of the Lomax Collection was acquired by AFC in 2004.)

Ghanaian Highlife and Traditional Music Collection: CD copies of over 800 commercially released 78-rpm recordings of African “highlife” music from the 1940s through the 1970s.  This collection was donated by the Gramophone Records Museum and Research Centre, Cape Town, Ghana.

Dunn Family Collection of Captain Francis O’Neill Cylinder Recordings: A collection of 32 field recordings and four commercial recordings of Irish traditional music, made in and around Chicago at the beginning of the twentieth century.  The instantaneous Edison cylinders were recently discovered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by David Dunn.  They have been digitized, and AFC has retained digital copies.  The field recordings were made by Francis O’Neill (1848-1936), Chicago’s Chief of Police, whose books about Irish music, including O’Neill’s Music of Ireland and Irish Minstrels and Musicians, are standard reference sources in the field.  They are among the earliest field recordings ever made of Irish music, and shed important new light on traditional music in general, and O’Neill’s work particular.

John P. Dixon and Floyd and Tim Ramsey Collection of Romaine Lowdermilk Recordings: A collection of four reel-to-reel tapes comprising 41 performances by the pioneering cowboy singer and songwriter, Romaine Lowdermilk.  Lowdermilk, both a singer of traditional folksongs and the author of successful songs such as “Back in Arizona” and “The Big Corral,” never recorded commercially.  He made these four tapes in the 1950s, and privately transferred the songs to instantaneous discs, which he gave to friends and fans.  AFC located the master tapes with John P. Dixon, of Tempe, Arizona, and digitized them to preserve the songs. 

Tesfaye Lemma Collection: 64 tape recordings of Ethiopian music recorded by Tesfaye Lemma, former director of Orchestra Ethiopia. Most of the tapes are music by Orchestra Ethiopia, but there are also recordings of other Ethiopian musicians, as well as miscellaneous materials on the Peace Corps, Ethiopian poetry readings, and recordings of Jean Jenkins. Most of the tapes were recorded between 1967 and 1975. Also included in the collection are tape logs by Charles Sutton.

International Storytelling Festival Collection: Audiotapes, videotapes, photographs, publications and other materials that document the annual National Storytelling Festival, held in Jonesborough, Tennessee.  (2007 increment)

National Council for the Traditional Arts Collections: 15,857 digital files, 115 audio cassettes, 3 digital audio tape, and 176 reel-to-reel tapes, containing recordings of hundreds of performances by musicians and other artists who performed at the National Folk Festival and other public events sponsored by NCTA; detailed logs of the recordings are also included.  (2007 increment)

National Visionary Leadership Project Collection: Videotaped oral-history interviews with 25 African American leaders, along with interview transcripts and other related materials.  The 2007 increment includes interviews with Edward Brooke, Ray Charles, Cardiss Collins, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, David Dinkins, Katherine Dunham, Coretta Scott King, Constance Baker Motley, and Gordon Parks, among others. (2007 increment)

StoryCorps Collection: 8,112 digital files and 3,920 CD-Rs containing hundreds of audio recordings of oral histories of a broad cross-section of the American public, along with related photographs and logs.  (2007 increment)

Veterans History Project Collection: Reminiscences of thousands of American war veterans, and others who served, recorded on audiotape and videotape; the collection also includes photographs, letters, memoirs, and interview logs.  (2007 increment)


Direct Reference Service to Researchers:

All members of the AFC’s staff with training in folklore, ethnomusicology, or audiovisual archiving took shifts on the Folklife reading room reference desk, assisting Library patrons in person and by telephone.  The four members of the reference staff handled the bulk of the Folklife Center’s mail and email reference correspondence, and referred questions as needed to other AFC staff as well as to Library of Congress and professional colleagues around the world.   All AFC staff, however  – particularly those with known subject expertise – received and handled inquiries that came to them directly.  (It should be noted that, unlike the other LC reading rooms, a good deal of AFC email correspondence comes in via direct email, as well as through the QuestionPoint service.)

The reference staff had primary responsibility for maintaining AFC’s in-house collections database, preparing inventories of the archive's various categories of vertical files, and maintaining access tools.  The online finding aids homepage receives substantial traffic: 479,749 hits in FY 2007.   We are also receiving reference inquiries via the webpage.  A substantial number of these inquiries come from family members of those whose photos and recordings are in the AFC archive; contact with these individuals provides opportunities for staff to  enhance collections by requesting additional information about the performers. AFC has also continued to put historic bibliographies online.

In FY 2007, AFC reference staff served as curators of AFC collection materials included in Library exhibitions and as components of other Library websites; coordinated the overall intern and volunteer program, which provided over 2,600 hours of service to the Library; and reconfigured the video and audio workstations in the AFC reading room, providing researchers with greater access to multiformat collections. 

Reference Team Acquisitions and Preservation Work:

AFC’s reference staff handled the serial publications and many small collections that came directly to AFC.  During FY 2007, AFC added more than 2,327 items of ephemera to the subject files and over 264 serial issues, as well as numerous unpublished monographs, posters, videos, CDs, and photos.  Smaller serials, in particular, frequently require preservation photocopying, since they are adversely affected by mail-handling systems.  The staff also recommended the acquisition of hundreds of published items, and handled their routing to other parts of the Library. 



In FY 2007, AFC and VHP hosted visitors and assisted organizations and researchers from the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, The Altai Republic, Angola, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, The Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Ghana, Iceland, India, Iran, The Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, The Kingdom of Bhutan, Korea, Liberia, Lithuania, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland (UK), Pakistan, Peru, The Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, The Slovak Republic, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and Wales (UK).

In FY 2007, AFC and VHP staff met with, visited, or provided services to the following domestic educational institutions: Boise State University, Boston University, Brigham Young University, Catholic University of America, College of William & Mary, Cornell University, Duke University, Harvard University, Hunter College, Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University, Juniata College, Marymount University, Michigan State University, Morgan State University, Music Library Association, Ohio State University, Oral History Association, Princeton University, Society of American Music, State University of New York at Oneonta, Syracuse University, The Teachers’ Institute, University of Arizona, University of Delaware, University of Maryland, University of Mississippi, University of North Carolina, University of Pennsylvania, University of Puerto Rico, University of Utah, University of Wisconsin, University of Wyoming, Wheaton College, Yuba Community College (CA).

In FY 2007, AFC and VHP staff aided or worked with the following government agencies, museums, and non-profit organizations:  AARP, AFL-CIO, Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society, American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, American Film Institute, American Folklore Society, American Library Association, Arizona Heritage Project, Association for the Study of African American Life and History, B. B. King Museum, Blue Ridge Music Center, Bureau of Surface Mining, Caffè Lena, Center for Documentary Studies, Center for Minority Veterans, Chicago History Museum, Community-Centered Family Health History Project, Daughters of the American Revolution, Department of the Army, Disabled American Veterans, Down Jersey Folklife Center, Durham Western Heritage Museum, Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table, Folklore Society of Greater Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Frederick County (MD) Veterans History Project, Fund for Labor History and Culture, General Federation of Women's Clubs, Genetic Alliance, Go For Broke Japanese American Veteran Foundation, Grammy Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois State Library, Indigenous Language Institute, Indigenous Language Institute, Institute of Musical Traditions, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, International Council for Traditional Music, International Storytelling Center, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association, Irish Music Archives, Milwaukee, Japanese American Veterans Association, Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Maine Arts Commission, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Foundation, Martinsburg (WV) VA Medical Center, Maryland Cultural Conservation, Maryland Public TV, Maryland State Archives, Michigan Traditional Arts Programs, Mid Atlantic Folklife Association, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Missouri Folk Arts Program, NAMES project, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, National Archives and Records Administration, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, National Council for the Traditional Arts, National Council of Social Studies, National Court Reporters Association, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, National History Day, National Museum of African American History and Culture, National New Deal Preservation Association, National Park Service, National Visionary Leadership Project, North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance, Northeast Regional Folk Alliance, Northern Ireland Bureau, Oral History Mid Atlantic Region, Organization of American States, PBS, Phelps Stokes Fund, Philadelphia Folklore Project, Preserving America’s Cultural Traditions, Print Council of America, Radio and Television News Directors Foundation, Rotary Club of Capitol Hill, Slavic and East European Folklore Association, Smithsonian Institution, Society for Ethnomusicology, StoryCorps, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Naval Institute, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, UNESCO, Utah Heritage Project, Vermont Folklife Center, Visiting Angels, Voices of September 11, Washington Area Music Association, Western Folklife Center, WETA, WIPO, Woody Guthrie Foundation, World Foundation for Environment and Development, World Wildlife Fund, Wyoming Heritage Project, and Young Marines.

Selected Meetings and Visitors.

October 4: AFC Staff hosted participants in the International Visitor Leadership Program, U.S. Department of State. They explained the history and scope of the AFC to American studies, English, and art professors from Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia.

October 26:  David Taylor met with two officials from Armenia and gave them an overview of the history and activities of AFC.  The visitors were:  Gulo Nahatakyan, Director of the Musicological Library of the Ministry of Culture and Youth; and Ruzan Tonoyan, Director of the National Children’s Library of Armenia.

November 3: Michael Taft hosted a delegation from the National Library of Korea: Eun-Sil Kim, Information Technology Division; Kyung-Ja Ahn, Serials & Government Publications; Hyun-Sung Kim, Acquisitions & Technical Processing; Jeong-Mi Roh, Public Service Division. He explained the history and scope of the AFC.

November 8-9: AFC’s Board of Trustees met in the Library’s Jefferson Building.  Several AFC staff members made presentations to the Board.

November 30: AFC staff met with Joanna Hess of the Indigenous Language Institute, Santa Fe, to explain the history and scope of AFC (especially as related to AFC Native American materials), give her a tour of the reading room and processing area, and discuss several possible collaborations between her institute and AFC.

December 4: The VHP Director met with Professor Hitoshi Kwano regarding the professor’s veterans history project initiative at the Japanese National Defense Academy.

January 9: VHP staff members, including the director, accompanied Dr. James Billington, the Librarian of Congress, to an office call with James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The purpose of the meeting was to present Nicholson with a copy of the VHP book, Forever a Soldier.

January 10: The VHP Director met with six librarians from Belarus who were visiting the Library of Congress on a Department of State sponsored tour.

January 11: Sarah Donnelly and others from the Bureau of Surface Mining met with AFC staff members, to obtain advice about planning and carrying out a series of oral history interviews about the agency and its impact on various communities in the US. The discussions considered “best practices” in the field, the aims and scope of the project, and AFC staff recommendations for scholars and researchers to help design and carry out the project.

January 25: AFC archive staff met with Mike Etnier and Miriam Elizondo, who are working with David Aplin of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Alaska Field Office. WWF is working with partners in native communities to train high school-age reporters to interview elders, village leaders, and others about local evidence and impacts of climate change.  WWF sees the StoryCorps project’s database as a viable model to be used both by the community and by scholars and other specialists. The group discussed the pros and cons of the StoryCorps database, and ways to improve both the details included in the WWF database and the accuracy of its content. They also discussed resources in the field of oral history that WWF can draw upon to improve the end result of the project.

January 26: AFC staff members met with Mike Seeger (musician, collector, and donor), who requested advice regarding best practices for organizing manuscripts, numbering and storing photos, and preserving audio recordings.

February 15-16:  AFC staff attended the Taskforce on Training and Education meeting of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives in Frankfurt, Germany.  The Taskforce's goals are to facilitate the documentation of essential AV archiving skills and to make provisions for the training of colleagues, particularly in developing countries. 

February 22-24: AFC staff members gave a presentation entitled “Treasures from the Library of Congress: Burl Ives Bawdy Songs and rare Romaine Lowdermilk Cowboy Songs from the American Folklife Center Archives,” at the 2007 International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis, Tennessee.  A film honoring all past recipients of the Folk Alliance Lifetime Achievement Awards, including AFC, was shown.

February 26: VHP staff made a presentation on the project at the mid-winter meeting of the Disabled American Veterans. The 90-minute presentation gave an overview and update on VHP, a review of the VHP Website and a brief workshop on how to conduct an interview. Approximately 50 to 75 DAV members were in attendance.

March 13: AFC hosted eight visitors from Russia, all teachers of English at Russian universities.  Staff outlined the history and scope of the AFC.

March 15: The AFC Board of Trustees met in the Library’s Madison Building.  Many AFC staff members made presentations to the Board.

March 20: VHP staff members met with representatives of the Go For Broke Japanese American Veteran Foundation regarding opportunities for mutual support.

March 20: AFC staff met with Jim Enote of Zuni Pueblo, to discuss the possibility of giving digital copies of recordings in the Zuni Storytelling Collection, and other AFC Zuni collections, to the tribe.

April 5:  AFC staff hosted songwriter/musician Paul Simon and his son Adrian on a tour of AFC archival materials.  Simon was at the Library to meet with the Librarian of Congress in preparation for his role as the first recipient of the Library’s new Gershwin Award for Popular Song.

April 23: AFC senior staff met with Professor Wang Wenzhang, president of the Chinese Academy of Arts, and Xu Lian, director of the China Culture Daily (Chinese Ministry of Culture), as well as representatives from the U.S. Asian Culture Academy (UACA), the International Publishing House of Chinese Culture (IPHCC), and LC Asian Division staff, to outline the history and scope of AFC, and to discuss the possibility of AFC staff visiting China to consult on archiving and programming.

April 23: AFC senior staff met with Guillaume Zadi and Théodore Kouba Zohouri of the Centre Ivoirien pour la Recherche et la Documentation en Musicologie Africaine, Côte d’Ivoire. They explained the role and history of AFC, and viewed a demonstration of Zadi and Zohouri’s multi-media CD on Ivoirien traditional music and dance. The AFC agreed to explore ways the two centers might cooperate.

April 24: VHP made a presentation to select members of the Library’s Madison Council. Staff members selected items from the collection to display, and delivered a DVD presentation featuring several interviews.

May 2-4: AFC staff formed part of a task force from LC that traveled to Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA, to help their library staff develop a plan for archiving physical and digital responses to the shooting tragedy of April 16.

May 15: AFC organized a "turnover ceremony" for the historical journal of John Wesley Roberts, a former slave who founded the Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs and Related Families Reunion.  The Preservation Directorate had restored this decades-old journal, and Dr. Billington returned it to the family in the Librarian's Ceremonial Office.  Several AFC staff members, who accompanied Dr. Billington to the Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs and Related Families 100th Family Reunion celebrations and documented the events, attended the ceremony. 

June 13:  Staff of AFC and LC’s Manuscript Division met with three representatives of the Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights, at their request, in order to discuss the preservation of the Committee’s institutional records, and the possibility of collecting oral histories from lawyers involved in its earliest cases. The Lawyers’ Committee has helped arrange for lawyers to serve in civil rights cases, on a pro-bono basis, since the early 1960s, and has, thus, played a role in many landmark cases. 

June 13: VHP senior staff met with Sharlene Hawkes, Chief Marketing Officer of Story Rock Enterprises, and a former Miss America, to discuss potential partnership opportunities for VHP with her company’s efforts to collect the stories of returning Iraq War veterans.

June 19: AFC staff met with Frank and Mary Fetchett from Voices of September 11, an organization that advocates for and provides services to families affected by the events of Sept. 11, 2001 (the Fetchetts lost their son in the World Trade Center). They are building a web archive of memorials and were seeking advice. A week later, on June 26, the Fetchetts met with Dr. Billington to discuss the same topic and to explore ways to partner with the Library.

July 9: AFC hosted a group of ten visitors from the National Library of China. AFC staff provided a tour of the Folklife Reading Room, a talk about AFC databases and Encoded Archival Description, and a discussion of the deposit and preservation of digital audio materials.

July 13: VHP staff members met with Visiting Angels, an organization that provides in-home care to shut-ins throughout the country.  Visiting Angels submitted twenty interviews to VHP, and another fifty were subsequently shipped.

August 1: VHP senior staff met with Ida Castro from V-me, a new Hispanic TV network that will air programs on the Public Broadcasting Service. They discussed the possibility of highlighting VHP’s collection of Hispanic veterans’ stories in November 2007.

August 9: AFC hosted interns from the Cultural Resources Diversity Internship Program (CRDIP) of the National Park Service. Staff members explained the history and scope of AFC, outlined the career paths and choices that brought each of them to the Library, and gave the interns a tour of the reading room and processing area. 

August 29:  Taiwan's Minister of Culture, Wong Chin-Chu, and six of her staff members toured the Jefferson Building, the Asian Division, the American Folklife Center and the Performing Arts Reading Room.  AFC’s acting director met with them and discussed the possibility of cultural exchanges in the future.  In appreciation, they presented AFC with four sets of publications in multiple formats.

September 12: VHP’s director met with Carmella Espada, Commissioner, White House Commission on Remembrance, and her chief of staff, Charlene Richards. He is representing the Librarian on a commission that seeks to commemorate those veterans who have given their lives in the defense of the United States. The purpose of the meeting was for introductions and orientation.

September 19: AFC staff members hosted three members of the traditional African American string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and their Washington representative, Nancy Prager. They displayed some archival materials, and explained the history and scope of the AFC.

September 26: AFC staff traveled to the University of Pennsylvania to discuss the possible acquisition of the University of Pennsylvania Folklore Department Archive with Mary Hufford, Director of the Center for Folklore and Ethnography, and Ann Matter, Associate Dean for Arts and Letters. While there, they inspected the collection.

September 26:  AFC’s head of acquisitions traveled to New York City in order to inspect a large collection concerning the city’s Jewish culture and ethnic broadcasting during the 1930s and 40s. The owner of the collection is Henry Sapoznik.



Alexander Street Press Initiative. Alexander Street Press (formerly Classical International) is an online subscription service that provides music and other digitized material, mostly to educational institutions. Recently, they have initiated a program to serve African American music and oral history material, and have signed an agreement with AFC to digitize certain AFC collections for this new program. To date, they have digitized the Alan Lomax Haiti Collection; the Alan Lomax; Zora Neale Hurston, Mary Elizabeth Barnacle Bahamas Collection; the Herbert Halpert New York City Collection; the Richard Dorson Collection of African American Recordings from Michigan, and several John Henry Faulk collections.

Arizona Heritage Project (AHP). The Arizona Heritage Project provides funding, resources, and training to allow high school teachers and students to conduct oral histories with local residents. These oral histories provide the basis for school and public activities, such as new curricula, exhibitions, websites, documentaries, publications and conferences. All AHP activities are partnerships; schools are paired with a local museum and work closely with community-based educational and cultural organizations, such as libraries, parks, state and local agencies, and community service organizations.  During FY 2007, AFC continued in its advisory role, contributing expertise to AHP’s summer institute.  AHP students and teachers visited the Library and met with AFC and VHP staff in December 2006 and May 2007.

First Card Catalog for Folklife Collections  begun ca 1933
The first card catalog for folklife collections at the Library of Congress was begun in 1933. This catalog, created by WPA workers and continued by Library employees until the 1960s, has marginal notes and item-level descriptions that continue to be valuable to researchers even as the American Folklife Center’s collections are being processed using modern cataloging standards. By putting this time-tested resource online, AFC has made it available beyond the walls of the Library, to researchers worldwide. Photo by Stephen Winick, 2007. Go to the catalog page.

Card Catalog Conversion Project:  During FY 2007, AFC made major strides toward digitizing its card catalog and making it available online.  The online catalog, titled “Traditional Music and Spoken Word Catalog from the American Folklife Center,” went online on November 1, 2007.  The database consists of approximately 34,000 bibliographic records representing individual cuts/titles on the field recordings in AFC’s collections; most date from 1933 to 1950.  The content fields in the database were designed for MARC bibliographic records, and therefore were easily converted to MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema) bibliographic records by staff in the Library of Congress Network Development and MARC Standards Office.  This fully searchable catalog is part of the Library’s “LC Presents” website, and will also be accessible from AFC’s homepage.

Department of Veterans Affairs Outreach: VHP, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the VA Maryland Health Care System are engaged in a pilot program to record the stories of VA medical staff, including nurses, doctors, dentists, administrators, and others.  In FY 2007, VHP Staff had meetings with the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the VA Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, the VA National Director of Voluntary Service, and the staff of the VA Center for Minority Veterans.  In addition, VHP’s second book, Forever a Soldier, accompanied by a letter signed by Dr. Billington and then Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson, was sent to the libraries of all VA Medical Centers (VAMC) across the nation.  The books will be added to the VAMC libraries' permanent collections.

Ethnographic Thesaurus:  The initial three-year phase of the American Folklore Society’s Ethnographic Thesaurus Project was completed on June 1, 2007. The result was a comprehensive controlled list of subject terms created to describe multi-format ethnographic research collections. It was produced with significant effort and guidance by American Folklife Center staff. Primary support for the development of the Ethnographic Thesaurus was provided by a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation from 2004-7. Now that the period covered by the Mellon grant has ended, the American Folklife Center will continue to be involved, in an advisory capacity, in the ongoing maintenance and expansion of the thesaurus. During the fall of 2007, the first full draft of the Ethnographic Thesaurus was posted on the American Folklore Society website, using MultiTes Pro, a thesaurus construction and management program, which presents the thesaurus in a dynamically-searchable format.

Genetic Health Family History Project.  AFC continued to work with the Institute for Cultural Partnerships, the American Society of Human Genetics and the Genetic Alliance on the "Healthy Choices Through Family History Awareness Project."  The project used ethnographic fieldwork to develop a tool to elicit health-related narratives, assisting health professionals and families in the identification of risk factors to help determine best medical care.  Funding, in the amount of $400,000, comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services.

International Intellectual Property Discussions: AFC continued to be involved with international discussions concerning intellectual property, folklore, traditional knowledge and genetic resources.  The AFC Director served on the U.S. delegation to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and participated in meetings of U.S. government officials on cultural policy matters involving intellectual property.  She also attended meetings convened by UNESCO and the Organization of American States. 

Retirement Community Outreach Initiative (RCOI): This VHP program continues to be implemented in retirement communities across the nation, engaging retirement community staff, administration, and volunteers to collect personal recollections from wartime veterans and those who served in support of U.S. armed forces.  Nationwide VHP initiatives are being developed with the Holiday, Atria, and Brookdale retirement corporations.  Erickson, Sunrise, and other retirement communities are already engaged in ongoing VHP programs.

Utah Heritage Project (UHP): AFC Staff advised Brigham Young University on the development of its Utah Heritage Project, designed to provide training in field research methodology and cultural heritage issues to its undergraduate students. 

Website Redesign/Updates: AFC and VHP maintained and expanded their websites, adding text, images, audio and video.  In addition to webcasts and flyer essays for all AFC Homegrown concerts and Botkin lectures, the 2007 additions included web pages for symposia and conferences, which contain general information about each event, photographs, biographical information, related essays, and webcasts.  AFC also updated the Folklife Sourcebook, the list of collections in the archive, and the annual reports.  AFC released its latest American Memory presentation, Captain Pearl R. Nye: Life on the Ohio and Erie Canal.  VHP continued to update its online database, and launched four new Web presentations: Women at War, The Great War, Asian Pacific Americans: Going for Broke, and The Art of War.  In addition, VHP launched The War, an online companion to the Ken Burns film.

The 2006-2007 Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lecture Series provided scholarly lectures that were free and open to the public.  The lectures provided opportunities for folklife and ethnography professionals to present findings from original research.  Recordings of the lectures were added to the AFC archive. Botkin Lectures in FY 2007 included:

  • October 4: "What's in a Name?  AIDS, Vernacular Risk Perception and the Culture of Ownership," presented by Diane Goldstein, Professor of Folklore, Memorial University of Newfoundland.
  • October 11: "The Changing Worlds of the Patuas of West Bengal" Presented by Frank Korom, Associate Professor of Religion and Anthropology at Boston University.
  • November 8: "La Quinceañera: A Coming of Age Ritual in Latino Communities," presented by Norma E. Cantú, Professor of English, University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • July 5: "Down in the Old Belt: Voices from the Tobacco South," film screening and lecture by documentary film maker Jim Crawford.
  • July 24: "Quilters Save Our Stories," presented by Bernard Herman, Professor of American Material Culture Studies and Art History, University of Delaware.
  • August 15: "Folklore’s Champion: Ben Botkin," presented by Roger D. Abrahams, Hum Rosen Professor of Humanities, Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania.
  • September 19: "Afghan Women’s Stories: The Problematics of Cover" by Margaret Mills, Professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and Center for Folklore, Ohio State University.

The 2006-2007 Homegrown Concert Series is an ongoing AFC project to document the best folk and traditional performing artists in the United States for its archive’s collections.  The performers are selected in consultation with state folk arts coordinators in the U.S.  This program serves the state folklife offices across the nation by offering a venue for their artists in DC, and provides opportunities for congressional outreach to constituents.  Artists participated in oral history interviews that were recorded and deposited in the AFC archive. Concerts were also placed online in webcast presentations.  The concerts during FY 2007 were:

  • October 18: Sonny Burgess and the Pacers, Rockabilly music from Arkansas,
  • November 15: The Gannon Family, Irish music and dance from Missouri,
  • February 7: Reverb, African-American a capella singing from Washington, DC
  • March 21: NEA Heritage Fellow Flory Jagoda, with friends Susan Gaeta, Tina Chancey and Howard Bass.  Traditional Sephardic music from Virginia.
  • April 25: Naser Khorasani and SAMA Ensemble, traditional Iranian Sufi music ensemble from Maryland and Virginia.
  • May 23: Robert Watt (Northern Ireland highland piper), and Dáithí Sproule (Irish singer and guitarist, and a member of the band Altan), from Minnesota.

Treasures from the American Folklife Center on XM Radio:  Since January 2007, AFC staff members have participated in monthly on-air interviews with Bob Edwards of the Bob Edwards Show on XM Satellite Radio, for a segment entitled “Treasures from the American Folklife Center.”  Each interview focuses on a specific aspect of AFC’s archival collections. Program Topics have included “What is Folklife?” as well as “African-American Field Recordings,” “The Veterans History Project,” “The James E. Strates Carnival 1941 Radio Research Project recordings,” “Children’s Songs” “Traditions of Work,” “Urban Legends,” and “Burl Ives’s Bawdy Songs.”

VHP Film Series: On Fridays during March, VHP sponsored the film series Women at War, held in the Library’s Mary Pickford Theater. Each Friday’s screening was devoted to a different war: World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf.  Feature films, television programs, and shorts were shown, with introductions by scholars and veterans (including Darlene Iskra, the first woman to command a ship in the history of the U.S. Navy).  Before each screening, VHP staff spoke about the mission of VHP and how audience members could help further that mission by interviewing a veteran or collecting the story of a veteran.

Seeger Family Tribute:  On March 15-16, AFC, in collaboration with the Music Division, honored an important legacy in American music by hosting How Can I Keep from Singing: A Seeger Family Tribute.  The event honored musicologist Charles Seeger, composer Ruth Crawford Seeger, folk musicians Pete, Peggy and Mike Seeger, and ethnomusicologist Anthony Seeger.  It included a day-long symposium with panel presentations, a concert, an exhibit, and a film screening.  The symposium brought together leading scholars, cultural figures, and musicians including Neil V. Rosenberg, Judith Tick, Anthony Seeger and Robert Cantwell.   The film screening, held the evening of March 15, presented rarely seen footage of folk music from around the world, originally shot in the 1960s by Pete Seeger, his wife Toshi and their children, and now held in the AFC Archive.  The March 16 evening concert in the Coolidge auditorium featured Pete, Mike and Peggy Seeger, along with other family members and friends.  Dr. Billington greeted and introduced the Seegers and presented them with a special award.

WWII Library of Congress bookThe new Library of Congress World War II Companion uses many interviews from AFC’s Veterans History Project Collection. The book was the subject of a presentation at the 2007 National Book Festival.
View Webcasts of National Book Festival Panels by the Veterans History Project

Ken Burns Partnership: In April, VHP, together with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), began a joint community-engagement initiative designed to gather first-person recollections of the diverse men and women who served our nation during wartime, using Ken Burns’s new film, The War, as a springboard. The public outreach campaign continued beyond the broadcast of The War in September 2007; VHP staff members have attended many events across the country, including the four communities featured in The War, promoting VHP’s mission and soliciting participation in the project.  For this initiative, VHP developed a field guide with a "how-to" on conducting oral history interviews, including pointers from Ken Burns on lighting and shooting the video, and instructions on how to send recorded interviews to VHP.  Attending the April 17 press conference in the Members Room of the Jefferson Building were Representatives Ron Kind and Zach Wamp, Senator Richard Lugar, Dr. James Billington, Ken Burns, Paula Kerger of PBS, and Sharon Percy Rockefeller of WETA (sponsoring station for The War). 

Rediscover Northern Ireland:  In May 2007, AFC hosted scholars and artists presenting Northern Irish arts and culture through the Rediscover Northern Ireland Programme. The May events at the Library of Congress included a series of concerts and lectures and a symposium. Together, they highlighted the unique geographical, cultural and musical landscape of Northern Ireland.  The events included:

  • May 2: Ulster singer and author John Moulden, giving a lecture and performance in the Mumford Room.
  • May 9:  Rosie Stewart, traditional singer from Co. Fermanagh, in concert in the Coolidge Auditorium.
  • May 16:  The McPeake Family, in concert in the Coolidge Auditorium.
  • May 16: Symposium entitled “All Through the North as I Walked Forth,” on Northern Irish place names and folklife, featuring Dr. Kay Muhr, of Queen’s University, Belfast, and Dr. Henry Glassie, of Indiana University.  The symposium also featured a talk by Edward Redmond of the Geography and Map Division.
  • May 23: Singer and guitarist, Dáithí Sproule, and Highland bagpiper, Robert Watt, in concert in the Coolidge Auditorium.
  • May 29:  Flute player Gary Hastings and singer Brian Mullen, giving a lecture and performance in the Mumford Room. 

Field School for Cultural Documentation. The AFC’s Field School for Cultural Documentation was held at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS, May 14-25.  AFC staff participated as organizers and instructors. The school was hosted by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, which supplied the fourth instructor, David Wharton.  The participants were graduate students in music and southern studies at the university.  This was the ninth field school that AFC has sponsored with universities and colleges around the country since 1994.

VHP Memorial Day radio tour: On May 23, the VHP director was interviewed by 16 commercial radio stations and five radio networks, including AP Radio Network, CNN Radio Network, and ABC Radio Network, reaching an estimated audience of 13.3 million listeners. The interviews were replayed throughout the Memorial Day weekend.  The tour generated considerable publicity, and VHP was featured in over 100 newspaper articles and several television programs.

Puerto Rico Field School.  One AFC staff member participated as an instructor and advisor in a field school at the University of Puerto Rico.  The program involved a site visit in October 2006, followed by the field school itself, May 28-June 12, 2007.  The field school was funded by a grant from the Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI) program of the National Institutes of Health.  Its focus was cultural documentation of traditional medical and health practices in the region of Cayey, Puerto Rico.  In addition to the field school training, UPR’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Investigation is seeking AFC’s assistance in developing archiving protocols and best practices in collections management for the projects they manage.

Laborlore Conversations IV:  On August 15-16, 2007, AFC hosted a symposium, Laborlore Conversations IV: Documenting Occupational Folklore Then and Now. Scholars and community workers engaged in dialogues and discussions on the history of documenting occupational folklife, focusing particular attention on some of the significant collections of work culture housed at the Library. The symposium provided a forum within which to examine the ethnographic work of several generations of documentary fieldworkers, explore the resonance of archival collections for contemporary research on work and community life, and critically analyze emerging issues that confront labor scholars, advocates and community members in a rapidly globalizing world.  The gathering also provided an opportunity to honor the career of the "dean of laborlore," Archie Green, noted labor historian, union organizer, shipwright and also emeritus university professor of folklore and English. In addition to his other accomplishments, Dr. Green was crucial to the founding of AFC.  On Behalf of Dr. Billington, Deanna Marcum presented Archie Green with the Library’s Living Legend Award, which was accepted on his behalf by his son, Derek.

National Book Festival: On September 29, VHP participated in the 2007 National Book Festival, occupying a portion of the Library's pavilion.  VHP sponsored four presentations.  The first was about the Library’s new World War II Companion, the tie-in book to the PBS film The War, and featured veteran Ward Chamberlin, as well as the film’s co-director and co-producer Lynn Novick, and its producer, Sarah Botstein.  The second was about The Coldest Winter, a study of the Korean War by the late David Halberstam, featuring five veterans he interviewed for the book.  The third highlighted the VHP 2008 Calendar, and featured five veterans whose stories and pictures are included in the calendar.  The last was an education program about the use of VHP in high schools.  Members of AFC staff also participated in the festival, as author escorts and support staff.

2008 Symposia:  AFC initiated planning for several symposia to be held in 2008.  The first, Art, Culture & Government: The New Deal at 75 will be held on March 13 and 14, 2008.  It will highlight new research and recent discoveries inspired by the Library’s unparalleled collections of documentary materials generated by the New Deal’s groundbreaking cultural programs.

Other Programs and Public Events:

October 3: AFC staff videotaped Master Zhang Ting-Jin's lecture "Miraculous Healing Methods of Ancient Chinese Medical Theories" in the Whittall Pavilion of the Jefferson Building.  Master Zhang Ting-Jin's is the great grandson of the court physician of Emperor Xianfeng of the Qing Dynasty.  He is collaborating with Harvard University’s School of Alternative Medicine, and other American universities, on research projects.  The video was added to the AFC archive.

October 30: AFC staff discussed the Center’s potential involvement as advisors in the Wyoming Heritage Project (WHP), a proposed initiative of the College of Education at the University of Wyoming, Laramie.  The project is modeled on the Montana Heritage Project that AFC helped develop in the mid-90s.

November 1: The Music Division launched a new website devoted to ragtime.  AFC staff members were on the planning committee for this site, and contributed an interview, an essay, and other materials. 

November 1-2: The AFC director attended and participated in the National Recorded Sound Preservation Board meetings at the Library.

January 19-23: AFC staffed the Library of Congress exhibit booth at the American Library Association Midwinter meeting in Seattle, Washington.  AFC staff gave two half-hour power-point presentations on AFC collections, projects, public programs, and services, and answered numerous reference and informational questions throughout the conference.

January 24:  Production staff from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange met with AFC staff to discuss technical requirements for staging a multi-media dance production at the Library on mining history and culture.  The work is based on several Library of Congress collections, especially AFC materials.  It premiered in January 2007 in Washington, DC.

February 22:  AFC staff conducted an oral history workshop at the U.S. State Department as part of its African American History Month Celebration.   In step with the State Department's month-long theme, "Uncovering and Preserving the African American Legacy,” staff discussed the importance of oral history and provided pointers about collecting and preserving family histories.

February 23: VHP sponsored the Department of the Army’s Freedom Team Salute Black History Month program, held in the Montpelier Room. The program was attend by 30 middle school students, several World War II Veterans, senior Department of the Army officials, Major General Leo Brooks, USA (ret) and Brigadier General Leo Brooks, Jr., USA (ret).

March 17:  XM Satellite Radio's program "Artist Confidential" featured the Seeger family.  In addition, the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, in collaboration with the Institute of Musical Traditions, hosted a concert of the Seeger Family in Silver Spring, MD. Both programs were planned with the help of the AFC Seeger symposium committee.

March 23-31:  A StoryCorps mobile recording booth was in residence on the Madison Plaza for the purpose of recording stories, which will ultimately be added to the AFC archive.

March 29: VHP greeted attendees and distributed information at a reception honoring the 350 surviving Tuskegee Airmen, who had collectively received the Congressional Medal of Honor earlier that day. The reception was held in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress.

April 13: The Music Division presented a concert and pre-concert program featuring the Nathaniel Dett Chorale.  AFC provided materials for a display in the Coolidge Auditorium, including correspondence and text relating to the African American spirituals resolution, passed by both houses of Congress in February.

April 13:  VHP staff members spoke at the annual meeting of veterans who are members of The American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor.

April 24:  AFC coordinated the lecture "Our Shared Responsibility: Protection of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in China," by Prof. Wenzhang Wang, head of China's Academy of Arts.  AFC’s director introduced Prof. Wang and presented a certificate of appreciation to him.  AFC staff interviewed him that afternoon in the Jefferson recording studio.  Recordings of the lecture and the interview were added to the AFC archive.

May 22: AFC staff manned an exhibit table of AFC treasures during the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song reception in the Library's Great Hall.

June 23, 25 & 26: VHP staff members made presentations and were on hand to answer questions for the 25,000 attendees at the American Library Association national meeting held at the DC convention center. On June 22, VHP hosted an open house for attendees at the VHP Information Center, located in the Library of Congress’s Madison Building.

August 1-3: VHP senior staff attended the annual American GI Forum National Convention, in Oklahoma City, OK.   The American GI Forum is America’s largest Hispanic veterans service organization. VHP representatives manned a display, met with senior AGIF officials, and interacted with many of the hundreds of attendees. Contact was also made with representatives from the local Department of Veterans Affairs facility and historical society.

August 23-28: The VHP director, along with staff members from Library Services, attended the annual convention of The American Legion (AL) in Reno, Nevada. Ten thousand attendees were present.  Discussions took place with AL senior officials, VHP materials were distributed to AL membership, and coordination took place with other veterans’ organizations and associations represented at the convention.

September 6:  AFC Board member Kay Shelemay delivered a public lecture on the subject of her research on Ethiopian traditional music, including her recent field research in the Washington, D.C. area.  Her talk was co-sponsored by AFC and the Kluge Center.

September 10-11: AFC sent a senior staff member to the “Preserving 9/11 Forum and Exhibits” in New York City, organized by Voices of September 11th. He manned AFC’s table and was a speaker on a panel, “Preserving 9/11 Panel Discussion” where he described the AFC’s September 11 Documentation Project and Collection. He also accepted the Voices of September 11th “Building Bridges Award” on behalf of AFC.


September 11: Voices of September 11th  presented their Building Bridges Award to AFC in recognition of its 9/11 collection and online presentation.


Blanton Owen Fund Award: The Blanton Owen Fund Award was established in 1999 in memory of folklorist Blanton Owen by his family and friends.  The purpose of the award is to support ethnographic field research and documentation in the United States, especially by young scholars and documentarians. In FY 2007, there were two awards: Clifford Murphy was awarded $500 for his work documenting the traditions and expressions of Country and Western musicians in the state of Maine, and Karen N. Brewster was awarded $500 for her exploration of ecology, belief and culture as expressed in found object folk art creations of Native Americans in the Lower Yukon River Valley of Alaska. 

Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund for Ethnography Fellowships.    The purpose of the Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund for Ethnography is to make the collections of primary ethnographic materials housed anywhere at the Library of Congress available to those in the private sector.  In FY 2007, there were two awards.  Michael McCoyer was awarded $1,000 to support his research on levee camps and Mississippi Delta life in the early 20th century using the Coahoma County materials in the Alan Lomax Collection, and other Library resources.  Kathleen Ryan was awarded $500 to support her research on “Propaganda, Memory and Oral History in World War II Female Veterans,” using Veterans History Project materials and other Library resources.

Interns and Volunteers:  During FY 2007, AFC benefited from the work of twelve interns, who contributed a total of approximately 2,237 hours of service and four volunteers contributing approximately 370 hours of service. Interns and volunteers assisted in processing many collections, conducted general reference assistance by creating recording logs for a variety of collections that previously had little or no documentation, retrieved collections from stacks for patrons, conducted daily reading room file maintenance, and assisted staff with researching patron questions. They also conducted research for several topical finding aids, helped with an important relocation effort (moving collections from the Adams Building to Jefferson Building), and assisted with public programs and special events.


June 25: Mary R. Bucknum was permanently reassigned to AFC, as a Folklife Specialist. She was previously employed in the Library’s Motion Picture, Broadcast, and Recorded Sound division. 

September 4: Nancy Groce commenced her position as a Folklife Specialist at AFC.



Passage of African American Spirituals Resolution: On February 7, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously voted to adopt resolution H. Res. 120 EH, declaring the African-American spiritual a national treasure, and requesting that the President make an announcement to that effect. It was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. DeLauro on May 2, 2006, initially co-sponsored by Reps. Lewis of Georgia, Bishop of Georgia, Maloney, McDermott, Conyers, Honda, Serrano, Cooper, Sanders, and Rangel.  It subsequently attracted forty-nine more co-sponsors.  The U.S. Senate unanimously passed an identical resolution, S.R. 69 ATS, on February 20.  The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Menendez and co-sponsored by Sens. Biden, Clinton, Coburn, Dole, Durbin, Feingold, Kennedy, Lautenberg, Levin, Obama, and Reid.  The resolution was originally written by the staff of U.S. Senator Robert Menendez in consultation with AFC staff members; in its final form, it is informed by AFC research and contains clauses written by the AFC writer-editor.  In introducing the resolution last year, Sen. Menendez recognized AFC, stating for the Congressional Record, “I also would like to thank the staff at the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress for their endless expertise and insight.”

AFC Director and Board Member Visit Senator Reid:  The AFC director and AFC trustee Charlie Seemann accompanied Dr. James Billington on a visit to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, to present him with materials on Woody Guthrie from the AFC archive.

Senator Reid Attends Seeger Concert: On March 16, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid attended the Seeger Family Concert, jointly hosted by AFC and the Music Division.

Members Attend VHP Press Event:  On April 17, Representatives Ron Kind and Zach Wamp and Senator Richard Lugar attended the press conference concerning VHP’s involvement in the Ken Burns documentary, The War.

Rep. Kind Meets with VHP: On March 6, VHP senior staff met with Representative Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and gave him an update on recent VHP activities and upcoming events.

Rep. Blumenauer Records a StoryCorps interview: On March 26, Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon visited the Library to record an interview in the StoryCorps booth.  AFC coordinated the booth’s visit to the Library, and will receive the collected interviews.

Rep. Kaptur intends to donate to VHP: on June 29, the VHP director, with Steve Kelley of the Library’s Congressional Relations Office, met with Representative Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, to discuss the donation of an American flag from her district to the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. This flag was crafted within her district, flown at WWII American cemeteries around the world and raised at the dedication of the National World War II Memorial. Discussion took place regarding the proper way that this flag can be donated to VHP/AFC.

Other Congressional Contacts:

November 21: AFC received a reference request from Rep. Bill Pascrell, JR. of New Jersey, via CRO.  The request related to AFC’s Working in Paterson Project, carried out in Pascrell’s district in 1994.

January 24: VHP senior staff met with the spouses of Rep. Boyda of Kansas and Rep.  Walberg of Michigan and gave them an overview briefing on the Veterans History Project. 

February 7: Rep. Sam Farr of California sent a staff member to the Folklife Reading Room for advice on conducting oral history interviews.

February 14: Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky consulted the Folklife Reading Room about setting up a Veterans History Project in his district.  He was referred to senior staff at VHP.

March 8: VHP senior staff met with the staff of Rep. David Davis of Tennessee, and gave them an update on recent VHP activities and upcoming events.

March 28: VHP senior staff met with Rep. David Davis's District chief of staff, Charles Turner.

May 4: VHP hosted a well-attended Congressional briefing in the Members Room of the Jefferson Building. Staff members from Congressional offices attended and were told about the Project’s activities (including its partnership with PBS regarding the Ken Burns film The War) and encouraged to get their bosses and staffs involved with seeking out veterans and recording their stories.

June 7:  In response to a Congressional request, AFC senior staff wrote documents containing information about AFC’s activities with regard to the recent field school it co-sponsored with the University of Mississippi.

June 6: VHP historians attended a ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building honoring the Monuments Men, soldiers and civilian art experts who helped recover art stolen by the Nazis during World War II. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, and Representative Kay Granger of Texas, spoke. Excerpts from a documentary film on the subject, Stealing DaVinci, featuring interviews with the surviving Monuments Men, were shown. The VHP representatives spoke with the filmmaker and the film’s technical advisor about the filmmakers donating the complete interview footage to VHP.

June 18: VHP staff met in the Rayburn Building with 2 staffers from the office of Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, to discuss ideas regarding possible VHP participation.

June 25:  VHP senior staff met with Congressional staff from Rep. Porter of Nevada and Rep. Kind of Wisconsin, to initiate planning to develop a Congressional resolution to have the week preceding Veterans Day declared National Veterans History Project Week.

August 1: A staff member for Rep. Jerry Moran of Kansas telephoned the AFC reference desk to obtain contact information for the Wilson Czech Festival.

August 2: AFC staff members manned an information table at “Taste America,” a multi-cultural event held for members of Congress, their families, and staff.  The event took place at the U.S. Capitol.  Several senators and representatives stopped to browse at the table, some mentioning that they were familiar with AFC and VHP

September 10: VHP staff members met with Rep. Doris Matsui’s (California) chief of staff and director of communications to brief them on the VHP/PBS/WETA collaborative effort in preparation for the Sacramento premiere of The War.

September 14: The VHP director, with Stephen Kelley of the Library’s Congressional Relations Office, briefed the minority staff of the House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committee concerning recent media articles on the listing of military awards for veterans participating in the Veterans History  Project.


  • Folklife Center News: Three issues (one a special double issue) of Folklife Center News were produced.  The editor continued to redesign the look of the newsletter, keeping the successful color covers, and employing a new designer to create eye-catching interior layouts. As in the past, the content emphasized AFC’s collections and activities, and guest articles from distinguished writers in the field of folklife.
  • VHP Calendar: VHP published its first calendar, the Forever a Soldier 2008 Wall Calendar.  The calendar, which was published by Pomegranate Press, features stories and photos from VHP collections, selected by VHP staff.
  • AFC Brochure: AFC created a full-color glossy brochure, Highlights of Fiscal Year 2006, containing a summary of its activities in FY2006.  Copies were sent to members of Congress and members of the AFC Board of Trustees.  Copies were also employed for publicity and public relations.



For the dates: October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007

Combined Reference and Directional inquiries.

Type of query Number of responses
In-person 3405
Phone 2435
Letter/Fax 182
Email/Web-Based 6955
Total 12,977

Note: While VHP collections are served in AFC’s reading room, VHP also receives direct inquiries to a public email address, [email protected]  Reference and directional inquiries to this account exceeded 4,000 this year, and are included in the “email/Web-based” figure above.


The AFC and VHP Websites received over 2.2 million hits to top-level Web pages, as follows: 210,046 visits to AFC home page, 328,348 to the Community Roots site, 215,154 to VHP home page, 36,729 to the Educational Resources area, 33432 to Collections and Research Services, 479,749 to Finding Aids, 128,927 to online issues of Folklife Center News, 34,225 to Online Collections navigation page, 76,557 to Folklife Sourcebook, 150,375 to Services to the States, 63,514 to the Homegrown and Botkin archives, 76,809 to the popular “Halloween” and “Yellow Ribbon” essays, and 455,581 to AFC teachers guide.

In addition, AFC received over five million hits to its American Memory presentations.


Since some new acquisitions require a period of time before they are counted and cataloged, AFC does not yet have precise numbers on many FY 2007 acquisitions.  AFC’s numbers below represent only those items that have been counted by AFC staff, and are likely to be very low. 

VHP’s figures below are estimates, based on the number of collections acquired and the average number of items contained in their collections.  Since VHP collections are quite uniform, this is likely to produce a closer estimate than simply reporting those items that have been counted.

American Folklife Center
Manuscripts                                            94,189
Sound Recordings                                     11,051
Graphic Images (including Photographs)            340
Moving Images:                                            853
Digital Files:                                             79,908
Total Items Acquired                                186,341

Veterans History Project
Manuscripts                                             15,200
Sound Recordings                                        4275
Graphic Images (including Photographs)         17,167
Moving Images                                            3928
Electronic Media:                                           836
Total Items Acquired                                  41,406

Total Items Acquired, AFC & VHP              227,747



Processing statistics for both AFC and VHP are estimates.  AFC’s estimate is a count of the materials known to have been arranged, described, and made available to researchers in FY 2007.  Like most libraries, AFC’s acquisitions and processing are moving from analog to digital.  In the following list, materials that come as digital files are listed under “Digital Files,” regardless of whether the content is text, audio, video, or still image. This produces a different kind of count from counts of analog items such as manuscript pages, since a single digital file may contain (for example) one or more manuscript pages, one photograph, an hour of audio, or a half-hour video.

VHP’s estimate is based on the number of collections acquired and the average number of items contained in the collections that they have processed in FY 2007.  Since VHP deals heavily with World War II era materials such as journals and letters, and audio recordings made with private citizens’ home equipment, they still receive primarily analog collections.

American Folklife Center

Formats Processed
Sound recordings       16,076
Manuscripts   82,345
Moving Images    147
Photographs       6,248
Graphic Materials (non photographic)    3,758
Artifacts    210

Digital Files          


Electronic Media                     29
Total Items   187,521
Items added to MAVIS



American Folklife Center
Sound recordings   

These collections are technically part of the American Folklife Center, but generally counted separately.  During FY 2007, 12,480 collections were completely processed and 7 collections were partially processed.


Formats Processed
Sound recordings     5,344
Manuscripts 19,000
Moving Images 4,978
Photographs     21,000
Graphic Materials

Electronic Media   1,045
Total Items     51,826
Items entered into VHP database  3,462
Total Items processed, AFC & VHP   239,347


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   September 26, 2018
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