Dear Colleagues:  I want to add my voice at hearing this very sad news.  Judy was absolutely the best and I hope all of us will remember her as someone who really made a huge difference to so many individuals and organizations.  Beyond her dedication to AFC and her role in literally saving the Center when it was at risk of dissolution in the late 1990s, she was  a marvelous presence in SEM, AFS, University of Illinois Press, and more.  Judy was a wonderful, caring friend to many of us, always there with both personal and professional support.  To end this sad note with a fond smile, once a  colleague confided that he had received  a rejection letter from Judy concerning his book proposal to U of I Press.  He was going to save that letter forever, he said,  because Judy McCulloh's rejection letter was  so more positive and gracious than any acceptance letter he had ever received!  

With very fond remembrances of a great woman.


Kay Kaufman Shelemay
G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music and of
African and African American Studies
Harvard University
Music Building, North Yard
Cambridge, MA  02138
office tel: 617-495-4008  fax: 617-496-8081

From: Archie Green Union Listserv [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Hall, Stephanie [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2014 2:31 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Judith McCulloh

Dear Archie Green Union members:


It is our sad duty to let you know that Judith McCulloh passed away on Saturday.  As those of you who served or worked with her will know, Judy was a passionate and tireless advocate for AFC during her years as an official trustee and, since 2004, as Trustee Emerita.  Over the last years she has been a wise counselor for us, as well as the conscience of the AFC's original mission.  Judy was a truly remarkable folklorist who affected our field in many ways.  As an editor at the University of Illinois Press, she has had an incalculable effect: through the Music in American Life series in particular, she established folk and roots music as a respected field of inquiry to an extent that it never was before. As a member of NEA Folk Arts panels, and especially as a member of the AFC board, she helped folklife become more firmly established in the government, and led the fight for AFC’s permanent authorization in the 1990s.  As President and Executive Board Member of the American Folklore Society, she worked to advance the Society and the field in both academia and the public sector. 


Judy has received honors from many of the organizations she has worked with.  In 2004, AFC named her its first Trustee Emerita. In 2010, she received the Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA, which is given for major contributions to the excellence, vitality, and public appreciation of the folk and traditional arts. Earlier this year, the AFS Executive Board named Judy the first recipient of its Lifetime Award for Service to the Field.  This award will be presented posthumously at this year's annual meeting in Santa Fe. For more about Judy, you can read her biography and an interview with her on the NEA site:


Condolences should be sent to her husband Leon McCulloh, at 403 West Oregon Street, Urbana IL 612801-4127.  Plans for a memorial service, and information about donations to be made in Judy's name, are being prepared.  We will let you know when we receive those details.


As we move ahead with the important work of the American Folklife Center, let us all keep Judith McCulloh in mind as an inspiring and exemplary folklorist, friend, and trustee.


Kurt Dewhurst (Chairman) and Betsy Peterson (Director), American Folklife Center


Reply to Betsy Peterson: [log in to unmask] 202.707.1745


Posted to AGU by:

Stephanie A. Hall  [log in to unmask]

Automated Reference Specialist

American Folklife Center, Library of Congress