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Josh and Henry Reed, ca. 1903.
Josh and Henry Reed, ca. 1903. Photograph from the collection of James Reed, reproduced with permission. From the online presentation Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier: The Henry Reed Collection.


The rich and varied folk traditions of Virginia are well represented in the collections of the American Folklife Center. Among its recordings are African American Baptist services dating from the 1930s; ballads from Hampton, Richmond, and the Appalachian region; folk music, both African American and Anglo-American, dating from the 1930s to the present, recorded in Chilhowie, Lynchburg, Profitt, Brown's Cove, Saltville, Mission Home, and many other areas; square dance music and calls; a recorded interview with a Civil War general; menhaden fishers' folklore; and contemporary African American folktales and church services from Rappahannock County.


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

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

Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project Collection: Includes documentation related to the 1978 Blue Ridge Parkway Project field survey, which examined folklife in and around an area of the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Virginia and North Carolina border. [catalog record] [finding aid]

Online presentations: Quilts and Quiltmaking in America, 1978-1996: 410 photographs and 181 sound recordings provide a glimpse into America's diverse quilting traditions. Selected from the Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project and the "All American Quilt Contest" sponsored by Lands' End and Good Housekeeping.

Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier: 184 Traditional fiddle tunes performed by Henry Reed of Glen Lyn, Virginia that evoke the history and spirit of Virginia's Appalachian frontier. Recorded from 1966-1967, when Reed was over eighty years old, many of the tunes passed back into circulation during the fiddling revival of the later twentieth century.

Concert Webcasts

The Sama Ensemble: Traditional Iranian music and dance from Virginia. Recorded April 25, 2007. [catalog record] [webcast and event flyer]

Carter Family Tribute: Old Time Music from Virginia NEA National Heritage Fellow Concert. Recorded September 20, 2005. [catalog record] [webcast and event flyer]

Additional Resources

Educational Resources: View a list of educational materials related to Virginia 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: Blue Ridge Harvest: A Region's Folklife in Photographs. [catalog record]

A Brief List of Publications Pertaining to Folk Music of Virginia (bibliography from 1971). [full text]

A Brief List of Material Relating to the White Top Mountain Folk Festival, White Top, Virginia (bibliography from 1970) [full text]

Published Recordings: Anglo-American Ballads, Library of Congress AFS L1. [audiocassette]

Anglo-American Shanties, Lyric Songs, Dance Tunes, and Spirituals, Library of Congress AFS L2. [audiocassette]

Afro-American Spirituals, Work Songs, and Ballads, Library of Congress AFS L3, reissued on Rounder CD 1510. [audiocassette]

Child Ballads Traditional in the United States (II), Library of Congress AFS L58. [audiocassette]


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   May 15, 2015
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