American Folklife Center – Online!

I imagine there are many people now a days that have never spent any time going through a major library’s card catalog.  Perhaps that’s a good thing.  I wiled away hours and whole days of my life in the UCSB library, researching bibliographies and such stuff back in the 60s when others were out playing poker, surfing, burning banks, and indulging other creative recreations.AFC catalog card

Nevertheless, I grew to enjoy finding odds and ends in those immense card catalogs, finding things I hadn’t a clue existed anywhere in God’s creation. Things that made one stop and ponder, such as “The Barbed Wire Collector’s Journal”, complete with photos, descriptions, history,  and discussion of eighteen-inch strands of barbed (or bobbed) wire. I began to realise that for every topic I could think of, and some that I couldn’t, there existed a depth of knowledge that a card catalog could reveal to the unwary browser.

One of this country’s greatest treasures is the Library Of Congress, based -of course!- in Washington DC. I have friends back east that regularly take advantage of its facilities. I have managed one vist about 16 years ago and was sorry. Sorry because I was overwhelmed by all that great material – especially in its Folklore Dept. – which was unavailable to me on a regular basis, based as I am on the Left Coast. Now, computers and digital databases have replaced card catalogs and the ‘net has made it possible for all Americans to share some of the wonderful resources of what is now called the American Folklife Center. In the just-arrived Summer 2007 issue of the AFC News (as we know, the people in Washington work, live, and move in glacial terms) comes an article that announces the old card catalog once in use there has been digitized and made available on-line! What a great find and resource for thos eof us who still listen to the amazing collection of field recordings stored in the archives there.
AFC Cards

CLICK HERE to enter the card catalog, and have fun browsing.

About Peter Feldmann

Peter Feldmann has long been a musical mainstay in Santa Barbara and Southern California. Besides actively performing bluegrass and old time music with a variety of groups, Peter is also known as a bluegrass historian, collector, music consultant, teacher, and producer, both of live concerts and radio/tv programs throughout the area. His music has been heard in clubs, concerts, saloons, universities, pre-schools, at weddings, wakes, parties, barn-raisings, calf-ropings, rodeos, auctions, fund raisers, wine tastings and chili cook offs. Peter founded Santa Barbara's Old Time Fiddler's Convention (1972), UCSB's Old Time Music Front (1964), and The Bluebird Cafe (1971). Through these and other outlets, he was the first to bring many prominent folk, blues, and bluegrass artists, including Bill Monroe, Mance Lipscomb, The Stanley Brothers, The New Lost City Ramblers, Fred McDowell, Furry Lewis, Rose Maddox, the Balfa Brothers, and many others to the Santa Barbara area. Peter also helped others access the music by teaching privately, and in group classes for Santa Barbara Continuing Education, UCSB Extension, and McCabes Guitars. He was the first on the West Coast to produce and market instruction Lps - three on How To Play Country Fiddle, and one each on Clawhammer Banjo, and Maybelle Carter Style Guitar. He still presents lectures on country music history at UCSB, Santa Barbara area libraries, and for various interest groups, festival workshops, etc. In 2006, he presented his monograph titled "The Big bang Of Bluegrass Music" (describing the origins of bluegrass 1938 - 1946) to the worlds first International Music Symposium at the University of Kentucky at Bowling Green. He has also been very active in radio, television, and film work, producing weekly shows on country and bluegrass music over a 21 year period on various commercial and public stations. Peter currently maintains three music-related websites, a music blog, and an entertainment service company, "BlueGrass West!", based in the Santa Ynez Valley in Southern California. Peter performs tunes and songs from the heart of America's musical treasure chest. His shows can include fiddle, guitar, banjo, and mandolin. Well-known as a historian and teacher, Peter is first and foremost an entertainer, sharing his respect, energy and love for the music with his fellow musicians, friends, and audiences.
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