New resource at the Library of Congress

New at the Library of Congress

Announcing the American Folklife Center Online Card Catalog Covering
Field Recordings 1930 to 1950

“Traditional Music and Spoken Word Catalog ”

The Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center (AFC) announces the release of its online card catalog.. This tool will enhance access to the most heavily used recordings in the American Folklife Center*s collections — field recordings made primarily in the 1930s and 40s. It will be available on the Library of Congress web site starting on November 1, 2007. This new resource, entitled Traditional Music and Spoken Word Catalog, will provide researchers the convenience of accessing AFC *s card catalog without traveling to the Library. It contains fully searchable bibliographic data representing approximately 34,000 ethnographic sound recordings in the AFC Archive. ┬áIncluded among these are the seminal field recordings associated with John A. Lomax*s and Alan Lomax’s Library of Congress collecting work (e.g., Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Jelly Roll Morton), and countless other treasures recorded by collectors such as Herbert Halpert, Zora Neale Hurston, Henrietta Yurchenco, Vance andolph, and Helen Creighton. The new catalog will be part of the site The Library of Congress Presents Music, Theatre & Dance. The web address is:

AFC*s card catalog was originally created by Work Progress Administration (WPA) workers in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and continued later by Archive of Folk Song (now AFC) staff. although these cards represent only 5 to 10 % of the AFC*s total holdings, the card catalog*s great advantage is that it provides access at the level of the individual track on the recording, and sometimes, added notes about that item. It provides the public with access to the thousands of individual songs, tunes, folk tales, sermons, monologues, and life stories in the Archive’s collections. The majority of the audio recordings listed in the catalog are instantaneous disc recordings, made on lacquer and aluminum discs, with the addition of a few early tape

In addition to providing images of each card in the original catalog, and a searchable database of the text on the cards, the web resource eventually will include sound files for some of the items listed in the catalog. AFC has also digitized its collection of approximately 1,500 transcribed song lyrics, and the images of these transcriptions will be associated with their corresponding card catalog records. In this way, AFC staff can continue to expand the usefulness of the catalog as more collection materials become available online.

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 preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs, and training. The Center includes the Archive of the AFC, which was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.

Questions about this resource may be sent to the American Folklife Center’s reference email address: Queries sent to this address will be forwarded to the appropriate folklife specialist.

Posted by:
Stephanie A. Hall
Librarian: Automated Reference Specialist
American Folklife Center
Library of Congress

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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