October 5, 2001 American Folklife Center To Present Free Programs Nov. 15-16

"Living Lore: The Legacy of Benjamin A. Botkin" to Celebrate Former Folklife Head

Press Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public Contact: (202) 707-1743
Website: www.loc.gov/folklife

Author and television personality Roger Welsch; musicians Pete, Peggy, and Mike Seeger; "Banjo Dancing" performer Stephen Wade; and actors Floyd King, Ed Gero and Catherine Weidner from the Shakespeare Theatre are among the presenters featured at "Living Lore: The Legacy of Benjamin A. Botkin," two days of free folklife programming to be presented by the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress on Thursday and Friday, November 15-16, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (See program below.)

The event celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin A. Botkin, who served as head of the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress from 1942 to 1945. All programs will be presented in the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, and are free and open to the public. Tickets, required for the concert at 8 p.m. on November 15 by "Cherish the Ladies," are free and available with a minimal service charge from Ticketmaster at (301) 808- 6900 or (800) 551-7328.

The two-day program is presented in co-sponsorship with the Center for the Book and the Music Division of the Library of Congress, the National Council for the Traditional Arts, and the New York Folklore Society, with support from the Shakespeare Theatre and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The two-day celebration will feature free concerts, performances, interviews, and panel discussions that expand upon Botkin's groundbreaking work with folklore and folklife, the Federal Writers' Project, urban folklore, occupational folklore, and the local D.C. folk music scene.

Speakers and performers will include actors Floyd King, Ed Gero, and Catherine Weidner; folk music legend Pete Seeger; author and performer Stephen Wade; the internationally known Irish band Cherish the Ladies; folklorist and TV personality Roger Welsch; music scholar and artist Joe Hickerson; radio personality and musician Oscar Brand; historians Ann Banks and Jerrold Hirsch; Joe Wilson, director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts; Marjorie Hunt, producer of the Academy Award-winning documentary "The Stone Carvers"; the United House of Prayer Brass Band; fiddler and folklorist Alan Jabbour; Dale Johnson of the New York Folklore Society; Steve Zeitlin, executive director of New York's City Lore; John Cole, director of the Library's Center for the Book; and Peggy Bulger, director of the Library's American Folklife Center.

Benjamin A. Botkin (1901-1975) was a pioneering folklorist who focused attention on newly emerging aspects of folklore in modern life. At a time when other scholars viewed modernity as something that contaminates and destroys tradition, Botkin moved away from the concept of folklore as a collection of relics on the brink of extinction and embraced the idea that people are always creating folklore around their collective experiences.

The creation of the American Folklife Center is a legacy of Botkin's scholarship. He insisted that democracy is strengthened by valuing many different cultural voices. Today folklorists widely accept the idea that folklore is creative expression used to communicate and instill social values, traditions, and goals. This two-day celebration pays tribute to Botkin's pivotal role as the "father of public folklore" as it exists and thrives today.

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American Folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival presentation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs, and training. The Center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.


Living Lore: The Legacy of Benjamin A. Botkin
November 15-16, 2001
Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Thursday, November 15

9:00 - 9:30 a.m.: Registration

9:30 - 9:40 a.m.: Welcome
Peggy A. Bulger, Director, American Folklife Center

9:40 - 10:15 a.m.: Keynote Address: A Garland of Popularizers
Roger Welsch, Folklorist and Writer

10:15 - 10:30 a.m.: Break

10:30 - 11:20 a.m.: Mining Botkin's Treasures
Stephen Wade

10:20 - 11:45 a.m.: Break

11:45 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.: Ben Botkin and the National Folk Festival
Joe Wilson, Director, National Council for the Traditional Arts

12:05 - 1:00 p.m.: Concert
United House of Prayer Brass Band

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.: Lunch on your own
Reconvene in Coolidge Auditorium

2:00 - 3:25 p.m.: Radio and the Transmission of Folk Culture Literacy
Henry Sapoznik, Author and Historian; Hal Jackson, Broadcast Pioneer

3:45 - 4:05 p.m.: Ben Botkin and the Archive of American Folk Song, Library of Congress
Alan Jabbour, former Director, American Folklife Center

4:05 - 5:00 p.m.: The Federal Writers' Project: An Introduction
Conversation on the Federal Writers' Project and the Role of Ben Botkin: John Cole, Director, Center for the Book with Peggy Bulger and authors Ann Banks and Jerrold Hirsch

5:00 - 7:00 p.m.: Dinner on your own

8:00 - 10:00 p.m.: Coolidge Auditorium Concert
The Library of Congress Music Division presents Cherish the Ladies; traditional Irish music and dance featuring the premiere of an original piece by Donna Long for violin and piano, commissioned by the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress

Friday, November 16

9:00 - 9:30 a.m.: Registration

9:30 - 9:40 a.m.: Welcome and Acknowledgments
Peggy A. Bulger and Roger Welsch

9:40 - 10:10 a.m.: CityPlay: Botkin and the City
Steve Zeitlin, Executive Director, City Lore

10:10 - 10:25 a.m.: Break

10:25 - 11:30 a.m.: Conversation with Masters of the Building Arts
Decorative Painters: Ron Brooks, Dean Kalomas, Pauli Zmolek; and Master Masons with Marjorie Hunt, Folklorist and Education Specialist, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Institution; David Taylor, Folklife Specialist, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

All the Stage's a World: The Occupational Culture of Actors Acting
Ed Gero, Floyd King, and Catherine Weidner, the Shakespeare Theatre; Nancy Groce, Curator and Folklorist, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Institution

11:30 - 11:45 a.m.: Break

11:45 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.: Ben Botkin and the Folk Song Revival
Joe Hickerson, Musician and former head of the Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center

12:05 - 1:00 p.m.: Concert
A Treasury of American Folk Song with musicians Pete Seeger, Oscar Brand, Peggy Seeger, and Mike Seeger

1:00 - 2:15 p.m.: Lunch on your own
Reconvene in Room 119, Thomas Jefferson Building

2:15 - 3:10 p.m.: Ben Botkin and Camp Woodland: Progressive Education and Folklore in the Catskill Mountains of New York State
Dale Johnson, Director of Services, New York Folklore Society, with panelists: Pete Seeger, Joe Hickerson, Joan Studer Levine, Karl Finger, and Joanna Cazden

3:10 - 3:25 p.m.: Break

3:25 -- 4:40 p.m.: Ben Botkin and Us
Community sing and personal reminiscences of Ben by family and friends led by Oscar Brand, with Alan Jabbour. Please bring remembrances, musical instruments, and stories to share

4:40 - 5:00 p.m.: Wrap up


PR 01-145
ISSN 0731-3527