August 5, 2005 The Jersey Devil is the Topic of a Lecture by Stephen Winick
Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: American Folklife Center (202) 707-5510
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at (202) 707-6362
Folklorist Stephen D. Winick of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress will give an illustrated lecture on “Tales of the Jersey Devil” at noon on Tuesday, Aug. 23, in the West Dining Room, sixth floor of the Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The lecture is free and open to the public.
The Jersey Devil is New Jersey’s answer to Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster—a mysterious creature said to inhabit the remotest part of the state. Over the years many stories have been told about this creature, from firsthand sightings to campfire tales, running the gamut from a highly developed origin myth to reports of hoaxes and scams.
The Jersey Devil also persists in contemporary New Jersey lore as a mascot and an icon of the state; the most famous example is as the name of the hockey team, the New Jersey Devils.
From 1999 to 2005, folklorist Winick directed the Delaware Valley Folklife Center in southern New Jersey—prime Jersey Devil territory. He investigated the famous creature’s presence and persistence in both folklore and popular culture and curated a traveling exhibit titled “Tales of the Jersey Devil.” In this lecture, he will recount many strange and wonderful stories about this monster, discuss the history and development of the tale and show many unusual Jersey Devil artifacts.
Winick’s lecture is part of the American Folklife Center’s Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lecture Series, which honors Botkin’s intellectual contributions toward the field of folklore. The Botkin Series provides a platform for professionals from the academic world and the public sector, as well as for colleagues working independently in folklore and related fields, to present findings from their research and fieldwork. The lectures are generally held once a month and are free and open to the public. The lectures are recorded and become part of the permanent collections of the American Folklife Center.
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 the Library in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.