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NYFS Newsletter 1999-vol20-no2-2
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Fall/Winter 1999

From the Director
Ellen McHale

African American folk culture ha been an enormously creative and powerful force in American life...Yet much of contemporary scholarship on African American folklore subjects is underfunded and is accomplished under other disciplinary rubrics...

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Meet the NYFS Board: Cecily Cook
If I’m asked to explain how I came to do what I’m currently doing, I usually tell two stores. The first is that when I was 17 years old, I went on a bicycle trip in China, and this sparked a strong interest in Asia...

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West Side Stories: Memories of a Saratoga Neighborhood
Mary Ann Fitzgerald and Leona Signor

At wakes and funerals, amid all the sorrow, people tend to comfort one another with stories and memories. Hearing stories at my Uncle Phonsey Lambert’s funeral gathering was so appropriate because he was one of the best storytellers on the West Side...

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Bang, Bang, You’re Dead: The Play Paradox
Steve Zeitlin

Twelve times since 1997, our eyes have witnessed students opening fire on their fellow teachers and students. As American schoolchildren, the perpetrators of these crimes probably shared in the irreverent, often violent rhymes in American children’s folklore...

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Voices Fall/Winter 1999
“While upholding the quality and authenticity of folk art has been an issue since the 1920s, it was the communist government that institutionalized a quality-control body to regulate the folk art industry.”—from “Authenticity and Kitsch: A Hungarian-American Embroider Revisits the Folk Art of her Native Land” by Eniko Farkas, in this VOICES.

Manhattan Cowgirl
Rosetta Garfield
"Cowgirl and Manhattan executive, Rosetta "Cookie" Garfield was born on a Maryland farm, where her father taught her to ride horses. . .

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Authenticity and Kitsch: A Hungarian-American Embroiderer Revisits the Folk Art of her Native Land
Eniko Farkas
I have a long-term interest in kitsch in the context of art history and in the issues of what is so-called "good taste" and who decides what is good art. . .

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Tales from the ’Hood
The stories ... are from interviews through the West Side Neighborhood Oral Narrative Project...The Princepessa Elena Society was an important neighborhood social club and community service organization...

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From Our Readers

Dear Mr. Berggren,
I am writing in response to your article in the New York Folklore Newsletter [Spring/Summer 1999]. You state that you traveled "from Grand Central to the railroad station in North Creek where Teddy Roosevelt took the oath of office after McKinley was shot." We have been trying to dispel this misinformation for years, but it continues to be perpetuated. Even those involved in the restoration of the train station realize that although Roosevelt began his journey there, he was not inaugurated there. Authoritative sources concur. In his autobiography the former President wrote: "That evening (September 14, 1901) I took the oath of office in the house of Ansley Wilcox, at Buffalo." There are scores of newspaper and eyewitness accounts that also support this.
Ann Marie Linnabery, Chief of Interpretation, Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, Buffalo, NY

Dear Ms. Linnabery,
Thank you for your letter setting the record straight. A major distinction between history and folklore is documented facts vs. orally transmitted stories. Having grown up with the Roosevelt hunting-trip-to-presidency story, I made an assumption about its truthfulness and shouldn’t have. I appreciate your calling my attention to the facts. You can be sure that when telling this story in the future, I’ll put the North Creek railroad station and the Wilcox house in proper perspective.
Daniel W. Berggren, NYFS Board

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