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The American Folklife Center's competitive
awards provide modest financial awards for scholars interested in working
with ethnographic collection materials at
the Library of Congress and for those individuals conducting fieldwork
on topics related to the aims and scope of folklife research. Descriptions
of these programs and awards follow.
Gerald E. Parsons, Jr. in 1994. He founded the Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund for Ethnography at the Library of Congress in honor of his parents.
The Parsons Fund Committee for the Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund
for Ethnography at the Library of Congress invites applications
for grant funds for 2009. The committee is composed of the professional
staff of the American Folklife Center. The maximum award available this year is $1000, though this may be divided among more than one recipiant.
Purpose of Award and Eligibility
The purpose of the fund is to increase awareness of the ethnographic collections at the Library of Congress and to make the collections of primary ethnographic
materials housed anywhere at the Library available to the needs
and uses of those in the private sector. Awards may be made either to individuals
or to organizations in support of specific projects.
Scope of Projects
Projects may lead to publication in media of all types, both commercial and
non-commercial; underwrite new works of art, music, or fiction; involve academic
research; contribute to the theoretical development of archival science; explore
practical possibilities for processing ethnographic collections in the Archive
of Folk Culture or elsewhere in the Library of Congress; develop new means
of providing reference service; support student work; experiment with conservation
techniques; and support ethnographic field research leading to new Library
Application Deadlines and Procedures
The application deadline for this year's Parsons Fund Award will be March 6, 2009.
Please review application materials prior to submitting them to
the Center to ensure
that all the following
elements are included. Incomplete
applications will not be considered. In the past, successful applicants
have consulted with AFC staff members prior to submitting their application.
The application consists of:
- A narrative, 750-1500 words long, describing the proposed project
and its potential products and audiences
- A budget and proposed time-frame in which to undertake research
(typically for periods of one to three weeks)
- A resume or statement of previous experience
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of three
referees who can attest
to the applicant's professional work and qualifications to undertake
- Please do not submit photographs, videotapes, CDs, or any
Because of security measures at the Library, US Mail and Federal Express
may be delayed for over one month and sensitive media such as photographs
may be damaged or destroyed. Therefore,
we strongly recommend that applications be submitted as Word- , WordPerfect, or RTF-formatted
documents or .pdf files, attached to an email with the subject line "[your
last name] Parsons application." Address
the email to the Parsons Fund Committee at: email@example.com. You may
also fax all materials to: (202) 707-2076. If you have any questions
about procedures, please address your query to the Chair, Parsons
Fund Committee at the
listed above or call (202) 707-5510.
- Jocelyn Arem: for a research project focusing on the cultural impact of the 1960s folk revival movement, using the collections of the American Folklife Center.
- Barbara Fertig: for a research project focusing on African American residents of coastal Georgia communities, using the collections of the American Folklife Center.
- Cecilia Conway: for a research project focusing on the Beech Mountain, North Carolina collections at the American Folklife Center.
- Michael McCoyer: to support his research on
levee camps and Mississippi Delta life in the early 20th century using
the Coahoma County materials in the Alan Lomax Collection and other
- Kathleen Ryan: to support her research
on "Propaganda, Memory and Oral History in World War II Female Veterans," using
Veterans History Project materials and other Library resources.
- Eileen M. Condon: for research
on Puerto Rican traditional music in Dutchess County, New York.
- Sydney Hutchinson: to support doctoral work in ethnomusicology
at New York University for a research project titled "Analysis
of Musical Change in Dominican Merengue Típico".
- Linda Goss: for research on African-American
- David Stanley: to research collection materials related to cowboy ballad
performers, including correspondence, transcriptions, and ephemera in
several Library Divisions.
- David Hoffman: to conduct research on symposia, public hearings, position papers and other materials related to US national policy on the topic of indigenous rights and cultural and environmental conservation.
- Andrea Frierson-Toney: to research African-American traditional music
from Gee's Bend, AL, in the Robert Sonkin Collection. Research
on the performance tradition will be adapted into a theatrical production.
- Nicole Saylor: to create a web page highlighting the ethnographic fieldwork
of Sidney Robertson Cowell (1903-1995) in Wisconsin. This site will be
an addition to the Mills Music Library's Helene Stratman-Thomas project
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Now available: http://csumc.wisc.edu/src/.
- Barrett Golding: to support the creation of two public radio programs
presenting music and stories from Florida using WPA-era material from
the Archive's collections. This also included an interview with Stetson
Kennedy, head of the WPA Florida project.
- Nancy-Jean Seigel: to support her work researching, organizing, and
adding to the files of the Helen Hartness Flanders Collection in the
Archive of Folk Culture.
- Mark Jackson: to support the creation and publication of a CD based
on the music and spoken words of John Handcox, a sharecropper and member
of the Arkansas-based Southern Tenant Farmer's Union who was recorded
at the Library of Congress in 1937.
- Larry Polansky: to support research for the publication of work on
folksong transcription and notation by the ethnographer Ruth Crawford
- Anne Laskey & Gail Needleman: to undertake research for
educational music textbooks using folksong based on the Kodály
- Susan Lutz: to support for research on a documentary film entitled Sunday
Dinner: Food, Land, and Free Time.
- Yücel Demirer: to locate representations of Kurdish national identity
in the Woodrow Wilson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.
- William T. Dargan: to fund for research project on African-American
lining-out hymn performance.
- Lucy Long: to support research on the Appalachian plucked dulcimer.
- Julia Bishop: to support research on The James Madison
The Henry Reed Fund Award
Henry Reed, fiddler. Photo by Karen Jabbour, ca. 1967.
The American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, presents an award from the Henry Reed Fund for Folk Artists every other year. The next call for applications
will be in March 2010. The award amount is usually between $400 and $1000. The award may be split between more than one recipiant.
The Henry Reed Fund was established in 1990 in honor of old-time fiddler
Henry Reed, with an initial gift from founding AFC director and fiddler Alan
Jabbour. The purpose of the fund is to provide support for activities directly
involving folk artists, especially when the activities reflect, draw upon,
or strengthen the collections of the American Folklife Center. The life and work of Henry Reed is documented in the online collection "Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier."
Projects and activities might include:
- Payments to folk artists, their families, their descendants, or their
cultural communities in connection with publication or dissemination
of documents (audio recordings, manuscripts, photographs, etc.) in the
American Folklife Center's collections.
- Honoraria or reimbursement to folk artists for programs, such as concerts,
workshops, or exhibitions, which feature those folk artists and their
- Programs honoring and celebrating folk artists for their cultural contributions.
- Support for the costs of documenting distinguished folk artists and
the acquisition of resulting documentation by the Library of Congress.
Application Deadline and Procedures:
Applicants for Henry Reed Fund awards should submit a two-to-three-page description of their proposed project, with a budget and schedule of project activities. AFC staff members are happy to discuss proposals with applicants prior to submission (see contact information below).
Applications should also include a résumé, artist bio, or statement of previous experience, and the names, addresses, and phone numbers of three references who are qualified to speak about the applicant's work.
Because of security measures at the Library, materials sent via the U.S. Postal
Service or express-mail services may be significantly delayed, and sensitive
media, such as CDs and photographs, may be damaged or destroyed. Therefore,
we strongly recommend that applications only be submitted as Word- or WordPerfect-formatted
documents or .pdf files, attached to an email with the subject line: "[your
last name] Reed Fund application." Address the email to the Henry Reed Fund
Committee at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also fax all materials to (202) 707-2076.
If you do wish to send supporting audio-visual materials, please pack them
in a three-dimensional box (not a flat box) with a lightweight filler, and
send it via a service that offers a tracking number, such as Federal Express,
USPS Express Mail, or DHL. (Note: Supporting materials
will NOT be returned to the applicants.) To mail these parcels, use the
address below and mark "Fragile."
Library of Congress AFC 20540-4610
c/o American Folklife Center - Henry Reed Fund
9140 East Hampton Drive
Capital Heights, MD 20743-3809
If you have questions, contact Jennifer Cutting, Chair of the Henry Reed Fund Committee, at email@example.com or call (202) 707-5510. Applications are due no later than April 25, 2008.
- Don Roy of Portland, Maine: in support of his project to create and print a book of fiddle tunes from his Maine Acadian family music heritage.
- Jeri Vaughn of Seattle, Washington: to support reunion concert appearances
for old-time fiddle and guitar duo Robert and Lee Stripling in their
home town of Kennedy, Alabama and to subsidize Vaughn's 30-minute documentary
film of the brothers' reunion tour.
- Elizabeth LaPrelle of Rural Retreat, Virginia: to fund travel allowing
this 16-year-old Appalachian ballad singer to perform and compete at
music gatherings during the summer of 2004, and to surround herself with
older singers from whom she could learn traditional songs, style, and
The Blanton Owen Fund Award
The Blanton Owen Fund Committee at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress invites applications for 2009. The award
was established in 1999 in memory of folklorist Blanton Owen by his family
and friends to support ethnographic field research and documentation in
the United States, especially by young scholars and documentarians. Currently,
this award is offered every other year.
The application deadline for this year's award will be March 6, 2009. The maximum award available this year is $800, though this may be divided among more than one recipiant. The
application and submission procedure
is the same as for the Parsons Fund
Award, detailed above, except email applications should be given the subject line "[your
last name] Owen application."
For questions, contact the chair
of the Blanton Owen Fund Committee at the American Folklife Center:
(202) 707-5510; firstname.lastname@example.org; Fax (202) 707-2076.
Past Recipients of the Blanton Owen Fund Award
- Clifford Murphy: Mr. Murphy documented the traditions
and expressions of Country and Western musicians in the state of Maine.
- Karen N. Brewster: Ms. Brewster conducted an ethnography exploring
ecology, belief and culture as expressed in found object folk
art creations of Native Americans in the Lower Yukon River Valley.
- Sandra Grady: Ms Grady performed ethnographic fieldwork
among Somali Bantu refugees being resettled in Louisville, Kentucky.
Matthews: Mr. Matthews documented life in the Mississippi Delta in photographs
- Carrie Leonard: Ms. Leonard documented Inupiaq life in
Noorvik, Alaska, in photographs.
- Yolanda Hood: Ms. Hood performed ethnographic
fieldwork among Nigerians living in Atlanta, Georgia.