Dear Betsy,

This comes as a real blow. Peter was one of my first two employees, on loan, along with Sarah Rouse, when we started the Veterans History Project. It was good to have someone who knew the Folklife Center and Library so well and, yes, he could be challenging as well as helpful. He got most annoyed with me when meetings went beyond his "break" time and was most animated when he discovered and interviewed a WWI vet. We understood each other and were good friends. I found, like you, that I could always count on him. He helped the VHP grow in so many positive ways and I hope he was proud of the time he spent there. I still have two figures he gave me: a little buddha and a plastic GI Joe. I had no idea he was ill with lung cancer and - as is so often in life - regret I did not reach out to him. 

My sympathy goes to his family and to his extended AFC family.

All best,

Sent from my iPad

On Dec 29, 2017, at 12:59 PM, Peterson, Elizabeth <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear Archie Green Union friends,


The American Folklife Center is very sad to report the death of longtime
staff member, Peter Bartis. Peter died on December 25, 2017.  As some of
you may already know, he had been undergoing treatment for lung cancer over the
past year but his health took a sudden bad turn within the last couple of
weeks. He was with family and his spouse Ben when he passed.  Luckily,
several AFC staff were able to see him in the past week.

At the time of his retirement in September, Peter was the longest-serving
employee in the American Folklife Center’s history (41 years!), a record
that will probably go unchallenged for a long time. In many ways, Peter’s
presence and diligent work has defined the Center for over 40 years. His
presence is certainly woven throughout a range of the AFC's programs...our
field surveys, Local Legacies, the Veteran's History Project.  I know he was very proud of his service at AFC.

Peter leaves the legacy of the AFC Internship Fund program, which he established upon his retirement. 

Soon after I started at the AFC, Peter came in to my office and sat down.
He proceeded to give  me a lot of good advice about how to get things done
in the Library.  For those of you who worked with him as staff or AFC trustee, that will likely bring a smile.
Peter was a character, with a good sense of humor, matter of fact in
demeanor and full of opinions, and he was someone I could always count on
to keep me on track.  He got right to the point and I will miss that.  A
fuller appreciation of Peter, written by Steve Winick, can be found on
today's AFC blog:

All of us at AFC will miss him.  I say appreciate the friends and family in
your midst and happy new year to one and all.


Best wishes from everyone at AFC!




Elizabeth Peterson

Director, American Folklife Center

Library of Congress

101 Independence Ave.

Washington, D.C. 20540-4610

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