Dear AGU Members:


I am very proud to say that the American Folklife Center's first e-publication, Michigan-I-O: Alan Lomax and the 1938 Library of Congress Folk-Song Expedition  is out!  I have attached a jpeg of the book cover and the Library press release about the book and the traveling exhibition is below.  We have been receiving terrific press.  Thanks to our partners--Michigan State University Museum, the Association for Cultural Equity and Dust to Digital. This has been an innovative partnership allowing the AFC and the Library to provide greater access to our collections and reach new audiences. It will likely be a replicable model for other partnerships to come.  Lastly, congratulations to the author, AFC's own Todd Harvey, for his excellent work.


Here is the link to the book in iTunes:


Please share with your friends!  It would make a lovely digital stocking stuffer or holiday gift!


Best wishes to everyone,




Betsy Peterson, Ph.D.

Director, American Folklife Center

Library of Congress

101 Independence Ave., SE

Washington, DC 20540-4610


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September 26, 2013


Press contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022


75th Anniversary of Library’s Folklife Survey in Michigan Marked

By New e-Book, Podcasts, Traveling Exhibition


Book, Events Celebrate the 1938 Field Trip of Folklorist Alan Lomax


In 1938, the Library’s Archive of American Folk-Song (today the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress) dispatched folklorist Alan Lomax to complete a folklife survey of the Great Lakes region. He returned almost three months later with a cache of 250 discs and 8 reels of film. These materials documented the diversity of ethnicity—Irish, Finnish, Serbian, Polish, German, Croatian, Canadian French, Hungarian, and more—in Michigan, as well as cultural expression among loggers and lake sailors.

A new multimedia e-book, a series of podcasts and a traveling exhibition will mark the 75th anniversary of the Lomax field expedition to Michigan.  

Michigan-I-O: Alan Lomax and the 1938 Library of Congress Folk-Song Expedition” will be published Nov. 1 by the Library of Congress in cooperation with Dust to Digital, a media company specializing in early sound recordings. The e-book, which will be available for $9.99 from the iBookstore, was created by Todd Harvey, curator of the Alan Lomax Collection in the Library of Congress.

This innovative e-publication celebrates a compelling narrative, illustrated with original items from the 1938 field trip, including audio and video clips, field notes and telegrams. Together, these materials provide fascinating insights into both the region that Lomax called “the most fertile source” of American folklore, and the man who would become the most famous 20th-century folklorist in America.

On Sept. 30, the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress will release the first 21 podcasts in a series featuring these recordings. These and subsequent additions throughout the year will be accessible at

                Also making its debut on Sept. 30 is a traveling exhibition, “Michigan Folksong Legacy: Grand Discoveries from the Great Depression.” Produced by the Michigan State University Museum and opening in Central Michigan University’s Park Library in Mount Pleasant, the exhibition tells the story of the Library of Congress effort to document traditional culture throughout the United States, with a special focus on the 1938 field trip to Michigan.

The exhibition will travel to five additional venues (dates to be announced) located in or near sites in Michigan where Lomax made significant field recordings: the Beaver Island Community Center, the Dennos Museum in Traverse City, the Rogers City Community Theater, the St. Ignace Public Library and Northern Michigan University’s Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center in Marquette. A special event, to be held in August 2014 at the Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing, will celebrate the Lomax legacy. 

For more information about the 75th anniversary celebration of the Lomax field trip, visit the American Folklife Center’s Michigan 1938 project web page, at

                Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, publications, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

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 American Folklife Center 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. For more information, visit


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PR 13-173

ISSN 0731-3527