Finding Aids to Individual Collections in the Archive of Folk Culture
THE CHICAGO ETHNIC ARTS PROJECT COLLECTION
Library of Congress
The Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection consists of audio recordings,
photographs, manuscript materials, publications, ephemera, and accompanying
documentation related to the 1977 Chicago Ethnic Arts Project field survey.
At the request of the Illinois Arts Council, the American Folklife Center
assessed and documented the status of ethnic art traditions in more than
twenty ethnic communities in Chicago. Fourteen professional folklorists
conducted the fieldwork, interviewing artists, talking with community leaders,
and documenting the arts through still photographs and audiotape recordings.
The final project report presented to the Illinois Arts Council summarized
the current conditions and folk arts needs in these communities. Materials
from post-project activities such as workshops in the ethnic communities
and a traveling photographic exhibit are included in the collection.
Access and Reproduction: Listening and viewing access to the collection
is unrestricted. Duplication of the recorded materials may be governed
by copyright and other restrictions.
Key Subjects: Communities activities; dance--performance, social, and
folk; foodways; music--instrumental and vocal; religious celebrations;
textile arts; and wood carving. Ethnic groups: African-American, Austrian,
Chinese, Croatian, Cuban, Czech, Danish, Finnish, German, Greek, Irish,
Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Korean, Latino, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Native
American, Norwegian, Polish, Puerto Rican, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian,
Swedish, and Ukranian.
Languages and Dialects: Calabrese, Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Neopolitan,
Polish, Slovenian, Spanish, Ukranian
Physical Description: Location Numbers:
99 reels 7" at 7.5 ips, mono, DT stereo AFS 20,524-20,867 (reels and cassettes);
RYA 0601-0845 (cassettes);
245 audiocassettes, mono and stereo RXA 1004-1098, 1353-1356 (reels)
344 audiocassettes AFS 20,524-20,867
275 b&w negative rolls (9,900 images)
275 b&w contact sheets
187 b&w photoprints
118 matted b&w exhibition photographic prints
118 reference slides of photoprints (2 sets)
251 holders, color transparencies (approx. 3,800 images)
13 holders, reference fiches
2 videocassettes 3/4" sound, color AFC1981/004:V1-V2
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection contains the audiorecordings,
photographs, publications, ephemera, and accompanying manuscript materials
associated with the 1977 survey of ethnic artistic expression in Chicago
conducted by the American Folklife Center. The Center undertook the project
on behalf of the Illinois Arts Council, following a directive from the
Illinois legislature to increase programming for ethnic arts. The purpose
of the survey was to assess living ethnic art traditions in a contemporary
urban American setting. This was accomplished by examining factors such
as history, transmission, social structures, and individual artists' lives.
The final project report, which summarized the status of existing ethnic
arts and provided recommendations for future support, was submitted to
the Illinois Arts Council for use in program planning.
The project occurred between February and November 1977 and involved three
phases: initial planning and background research, fieldwork in Chicago,
and analysis and preparation of the final report. It was organized by Center
director Alan Jabbour and staff members Elena Bradunas and Carl Fleischhauer.
Research assistants Carol Armbruster and Peter Bartis prepared background
material. Greta Swenson coordinated the fieldwork in Chicago; Jonas Dovydenas
served as photographer and media specialist. Fieldworkers included fourteen
professional folklorists and cultural specialists. After the collection
was arranged and housed, Lucy Long prepared a detailed inventory.
The ethnic groups studied during the project were chosen according to
two criteria: representation in the 1970 census and the availability of
a professional cultural expert for that group. Fieldworkers spent one to
three weeks interviewing community leaders and artists and documenting
various arts and activities. The fieldworkers compiled information on the
following ethnic groups: African-American, Austrian, Chinese, Croatian,
Cuban, Czech, Danish, Finnish, German, Greek, Irish, Italian, Japanese,
Jewish, Korean, Latino, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Native American, Norwegian,
Polish, Puerto Rican, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish, and Ukranian.
Subjects best represented in the collection include instrumental and vocal
music, performance, social and folk dance, textile arts, foodways, religious
celebrations, wood carving, and community activities such as social club
meetings and neighborhood gatherings.
Two smaller projects resulted from the survey; materials from both are
included in the collection. The first project was a series of concurrent
weekend workshops held in November 1977 in seven Chicago ethnic communities:
Greek, Irish, Italian, Latino, Lithuanian, South Slavic, and Ukrainian.
Conducted by project fieldworkers who surveyed those groups, the workshops
focused on community cultural preservation. The second project was an exhibit
of photographs taken by Jonas Dovydenas during the fieldwork. "Inside
Our Homes, Outside Our Windows" was mounted at Chicago's Museum of
Contemporary Art in 1979 and at several other venues in 1980.
The collection not only documents the lifespan of the project and recommendations
presented to the Illinois Arts Council, but also records and preserves
the life histories and folk arts of specific urban ethnic communities in
Chicago. The materials span the years 1976 to 1981, with the largest portion
concerning the project in 1977. The collection is divided into four series
by format: manuscripts, sound recordings, graphic material, and moving
images. The inventory to the collection, photographic logs, and sound recordings
concordance (materials not included in this register) provide detailed
descriptions of the contents.
Series I: Manuscripts
The manuscript materials provide supporting documentation for the entire
project, including the follow-up workshops and the photographic exhibit.
Documents pertaining to the planning and administration of these activities
are found here. Publications such as books, brochures, articles, maps,
and so forth provide background on Chicago and specific ethnic groups.
Documentation includes fieldnotes, daily journals, logs describing the
content of the photographs and sound recordings made during the fieldwork,
and related ephemera. This series also contains summaries and reports on
the project, including a final copy of A Report on the Chicago Ethnic Arts
Series II: Sound Recordings
This series includes the 344 audiocassettes and reel-to-reel tapes used
to document the fieldwork undertaken. They provide a record of interviews,
music, and social events. The series also includes selected recordings
from the entire set. Logs that identify the content of the recordings are
found in Series I.
Series III: Graphic Images
More than 13,000 images document the fieldwork performed in Chicago. They
include black and white negative rolls, contact sheets, and miscellaneous
photoprints. Color transparencies and reference fiches are also included.
The series also contains photographs taken during the workshops, as well
as slides documenting the installation of the photographic exhibit, the
matted photoprints themselves, and reference slides of the photoprints.
Logs describing the content of the field photographs are found in Series
Series VI: Moving Images
This series contains two videocassettes related to the photographic exhibit, "Inside
Our Houses, Outside Our Windows." One describes the exhibit and the
other contains remarks by the photographer, Jonas Dovydenas. Logs of these
videotapes can be found in Series I.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF SERIES
SERIES I: MANUSCRIPTS
Archive of Folk Culture administrative
materials. The collection register [this document], accession log,
original and copy of the collection inventory.
Publicity and administration
Planning: Pre-project background materials;
project proposal; travel/media budgets; grant agreement; planning
correspondence; research schedule; coordinator's appointment book;
Fieldworkers: Blank contracts; addresses
and schedules; contracts and resumes (arranged alphabetically by
Actual project expenses: Ledger; bank
statements; expenditures; bills; honorariums; coordinator's weekly
reports and analyses.
Publicity and press releases: Press
contacts; correspondence; media coverage.
Correspondence: Coordinator's administrative
correspondence; between Center and fieldworkers; between fieldworkers
and contacts; general/miscellaneous.
Project contacts: Lists of possible
contacts; address labels; certificate recipients; blank certificates;
Consulates in Chicago; Chicago congressmen.
Post-project materials: Notes and
documents from the presentation by Alan Jabbour to the Illinois Arts
|Collected Publications and Ephemera
||General information about Chicago--resource individuals
||General information about Chicago
||General information about Chicago--ephemera.
||Information on specific ethnic groups: Materials arranged
alphabetically by ethnic group.
||Fieldnotes: Original fieldnotes arranged alphabetically
||Black and white logs: Logs describing black and white
images, arranged numerically by roll number and alphabetically by ethnic
group; fieldworkers' notes for photo identification.
||Color logs: Logs describing color images arranged numerically
by holder and alphabetically by ethnic group.
||Sound recordings--logs: Fieldworkers' sound recording
logs (arranged alphabetically); reference and evaluative logs; selected
transcribed quotes; annotations for selected sound recordings.
||Sound recordings--other: Copy of concordance; tape catalog;
|Reports and Products
||Fieldworkers' reports: Reports submitted by fieldworkers
||Edited manuscripts: Sections of edited report manuscript
arranged in final report order.
||Final report: A Report on the Chicago Ethnic Arts Project.
Complete, bound report prepared by the American Folklife Center, Library
of Congress, January 1978.
||Other: Project progress report; assessment of sound
recordings; artists suitable for festival appearances; report requests;
photographic presentation sets.
||Administrative materials: Proposals; grant agreement;
planning; publicity; invitations; mailing lists; correspondence; schedule;
handouts; instructors' reports.
||Participants, miscellaneous notes: Workshop materials
(arranged alphabetically by ethnic group).
||Photographic exhibit: Proposals; budgets; arrangement;
exhibit design; catalog; publicity; reception; travel; correspondence;
SERIES II: SOUND RECORDINGS
|99 7" reels and 245 audiocassettes of original
field recordings. Arranged by ethnic group/fieldworker. AFS 20,524-20,867;
RYA 0601-0845; RXA 1004-1098, 1353-1356. Listening copies are available
in the Folklife Reading Room.
SERIES III: GRAPHIC IMAGES
||275 rolls of black and white negatives arranged numerically
by roll number.
||275 black and white contact sheets arranged alphabetically
by ethnic group.
||275 black and white contact sheets (identical to those
in folders 126-145) arranged numerically by roll number.
||187 miscellaneous 8 x 10 and 5 x 7 black and white photoprints.
||118 matted photoprints used in the exhibit.
|Envelopes containing Slide Trays 1-248G
||Color transparencies (approximately 3,800 images) arranged
alphabetically by (holders) ethnic group. Also includes workshops,
exhibit installation, and exhibit reference transparencies.
|Envelopes condaining Slide Trays 249-261
||Reference copies of color transparencies.
SERIES IV: MOVING IMAGES
Box 18 One 3/4" sound, color unedited videotape of remarks by Jonas
Dovydenas on the Chicago Ethnic Arts Project. December 1980. AFC 1981/004:V1.
Box 18 One 3/4" sound, color videotape program used at the National
Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs installation of the photo exhibit in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin. January 1981. AFC 1981/004:V2.
ARTICLES ABOUT THE COLLECTION
American Folklife Center, "Chicago Project Highlights." Folklife
Center News I, no. 2 (April 1978): 3, 8.
______________, "Chicago's Ethnic Communities and Their Artistic
Expression." Folklife Center News I, no. 1 (January 1978):
Boyer, Bruce Hatton. "Ethnic Folk Arts in Contemporary Chicago." Chicago
History: The Magazine of the Chicago Historical Society X, no. 4
(Winter 1981-1982): 248-255.
"Chicago Ethnic Project to Study Traditions." Library of
Congress Information Bulletin, 36 no. 6. April 22, 1977: 1-2.
Melville, Annette, "Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection." In Special
Collections in the Library of Congress, 61. Washington, D.C.: Library
of Congress, 1980.