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The American Folklife Center
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Traditional weaver Leota Davy
Traditional weaver Leota Davy. Photo by Gerald Milnes, courtesy Augusta Heritage Center. Part of the documentation of the "Mountain Weavers Guild and Fiber Art Traditions in the Potomac Highlands," one of West Virginia's Local Legacies projects.

West Virginia

The rich and varied folk traditions of West Virginia are well represented in the collections of the American Folklife Center. Among its recordings are: interviews with the Hammons family, documenting the family's musical and storytelling traditions; Pentecostal religious services; folk music and folklore of bituminous coal miners; and hundreds of hours of other folk music, including fiddle tunes, hammered dulcimer, banjo, and guitar. From 1991 to 1993, in cooperation with the National Park Service, the Center conducted the New River Gorge Folklife Survey, documenting the folk traditions of the area in and near the New River Gorge National River. The survey led to recommendations to the National Park Service on the creation of a cultural heritage center in the park.

In 1994 the Center began the Coal River Folklife Project, an ethnographic study of cultural heritage and environment, particularly focusing on traditional and innovative practices connected with the forest, land, and other natural resources in and around the Big Coal River of southern West Virginia.


Finding Aid: View a complete list of our West Virginia collections.

Local Legacies: This project provides a "snapshot" of local culture as it was expressed in the year 2000. View West Virginia's Local Legacies projects.

Veterans History Project: Browse state collections from the Veterans History Project.

Songs of America: Browse an interactive state map for selected songs from the American Folklife Center’s collections, as well as songs from the Library’s Music Division and Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.

Coal River Folklife Project Collection: Ethnographic field project documenting traditional customs and land use in the mountains of southern West Virginia's Big Coal River Valley from 1992 to 1999. [catalog record] [online presentation]

Concert Webcast

Gandydancer: Traditional string band music from West Virginia. Recorded December 12, 2007. [webcast and event flyer]

Additional Resources

Folklife Resources: Find state folklife-related agencies, societies, archives, higher education programs, and more, in Folklife Sourcebook: A Directory of Folklife Resources in the United States.

Published Recording: The Hammons Family: A Study of a West Virginia Family's Traditions, Library of Congress AFS L65-66. [audiocassette]


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 home >> about the center >> folklife in your state >> west virginia

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   May 15, 2015
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