American Folklife Center

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					American Folklife Center
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The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC was created by
Congress in 1976 "to preserve and present American Folklife" (Public Law 94-201 [1] ). The
center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, established at the Library in 1928 as a repository
for American folk music. The center and its collections have grown to encompass all aspects of
folklore and folklife worldwide.
The 20th century has been called the age of documentation. Folklorists and other ethnographers
have taken advantage of each succeeding technology, from Thomas Edison's wax-cylinder
recording machine (invented in 1877) to the latest CD or digital audio equipment, to record the
voices and music of many regional, ethnic, and cultural groups in the United States and around
the world. Much of this documentation has been assembled and preserved in the center's Archive of Folk Culture, which
founding head Robert Winslow Gordon called "a national project with many workers." Today the center is working on digital
preservation, Web access and archival management.
The center's collections include Native American song and dance; ancient English ballads; the tales of "Bruh Rabbit," told in
the Gullah dialect of the Georgia Sea Islands; the stories of ex-slaves, told while still vivid in their minds; an Appalachian
fiddle tune heard on concert stages around the world; a Cambodian wedding in Lowell, Massachusetts; a Saint Joseph's Day
Table tradition in Pueblo, Colorado; Balinese Gamelan music recorded shortly before the Second World War; documentation
from the lives of cowboys, farmers, fishermen, coal miners, shop keepers, factory workers, quilt makers, professional and
amateur musicians, and housewives from throughout the U.S., first-hand accounts of community events from every state; and
international collections.
The images, sounds, written accounts and more items of cultural documentation are available to researchers at the center's
Archive of Folk Culture. There, more than 4,000 collections, assembled over the years from "many workers," embody
American traditional life and the cultural life of communities from many regions of the world. Collections in the archive include
material from all 50 states, United States trusts, territories and the District of Columbia. Most of these areas have been served
by the center's cultural surveys, equipment loan program, publications and other projects. The current director is Peggy A.

See also
   Gordon "Inferno" Collection
   StoryCorps, an American Folklife Center Special Project
   Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center, an American Folklife Center Special Project

External links
   American Folklife Center

via American Folklife Center

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