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The American Folklife Center
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 home >> about the center >> folklife in your state >> pennsylvania
Documentary photo from the "Rivers of Steel" Local Legacies project
Documentary photo from "Rivers of Steel," one of Pennsylvania's Local Legacies projects.


Pennsylvania's folk traditions are both historically and culturally rich. As noted in its 1991 legislation by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, "the Commonwealth has historically served as a homeland for people from nations of the world seeking a new life in freedom and dignity" (1991: House Bill 1103). The American Folklife Center's collections include material that documents a diversity of folk traditions, including recordings of occupational folklore of anthracite and bituminous miners and river boat raftsmen; Irish music; fiddle and string band music; and ethnic, religious, and musical traditions of Pennsylvania German, Lithuanian, Yiddish/Jewish, Slavonic, and Bulgarian communities.


Finding Aid: View a complete list of our Pennsylvania collections.

Local Legacies: This project provides a "snapshot" of local culture as it was expressed in the year 2000. View Pennsylvania's Local Legacies projects.

Veterans History Project: Browse state collections from the Veterans History Project.

Songs of America: Browse an interactive state map for selected songs from the American Folklife Center’s collections, as well as songs from the Library’s Music Division and Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.


Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac: Aztec dance ensemble from Pennsylvania. Recorded in Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., June 18, 2009. [catalog record] [event flyer and webcast]

"Waking up the People" Presented by Linda Goss: African American Storytelling. Recorded July 29, 2006. [catalog record] [event flyer and webcast]

Additional Resources

Educational Resources: View a list of educational materials related to Pennsylvania and Philadelphia from A Teacher's Guide to Folklife Resources.

Folklife Resources: Find state folklife-related agencies, societies, archives, higher education programs, and more, in Folklife Sourcebook: A Directory of Folklife Resources in the United States.

Publications: Pennsylvania Folk Music (bibliography from 1981). [full text]

Pennsylvania German Fraktur and Printed Broadsides. [catalog record]

"A Fraktur Primer," Folklife Annual 88-89. [catalog record]

"Plastic Strap Baskets: Containers for a Changing Context," Folklife Annual 88-89. [catalog record]

"Aids to Adaptation: Southeast European Mural Paintings in Pittsburgh," Folklife Annual 90. [catalog record]

"The Satisfaction of Reproduction: A Baroque Painter in Italian Philadelphia," Folklife Annual 90. [catalog record]

"Monsters and Clowns: A Deaf American Halloween," Folklife Annual 90. [catalog record]

Published Recordings: Songs and Ballads of the Anthracite Miners, Library of Congress AFS L16. [audiocassette]

Songs and Ballads of the Bituminous Miners, Library of Congress AFS L60. [audiocassette]


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   May 15, 2015
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