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Voices, Spring-Summer 2009:
Follow the links on the Table of Contents to see articles and columns.
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Voices Spring Summer 2009


Volume 35

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Dynamic yet Fragile: Reconsidering the Archive of New York State Folklife
by Ryan A. Donaldson

12 Set in Stone: The Art of Stonework and Wall Building in Westchester County
by Tom van Buren

20 Chicago Folklore Prize Winner: Felicia R. McMahon’s Not Just Child’s Play
by Libby Tucker

26 Mikvah Musings
by Hanna Griff-Sleven

30 How the FBI Proved that My Father Wore Overalls: A McCarthy-Era Story for Our Times
by Paul Margolis

Departments and Columns
11 Still Going Strong: Wig Maker
by Paul Margolis

18 Upstate: The [Adirondack] Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music!
by Varick A. Chittenden

19 Downstate: Free Market Flavor
by Steve Zeitlin

25 Foodways: The Big Concession
by Makalé Faber Cullen

28 Play: Yankee Doodling
by John Thorn

29 In Praise of Women: Maeve Flanagan
by Eileen Condon

32 Good Spirits: Bed, Breakfast, and Ghosts
by Libby Tucker

Master Wall Dulio Prado's crew
Cover: Dulio Prado’s crew assembles a wall in Bedford, New York. Photo: Tom van Buren

From the Spring-Summer 2009 issue of Voices:

A Call to Action

Just before the new year, along with hundreds of arts nonprofits across the state, the New York Folklore Society received alarming news. New York State’s deficit reduction plan instituted in December 2008 included extensive cuts to a number of state programs— including the grants budget of the New York State Council on the Arts. The cuts to NYSCA meant that pending requests for fiscal year 2008–9 funding, including the New York Folklore Society’s request for general operating support, could not be considered.

While the NYFS is now scheduled to receive 2009–10 funding, the loss of this year’s funding has had a serious impact upon our finances. The NYFS has since applied for federal stimulus funding to the arts, which the NEA will make available to arts organizations nationwide after July 1. Nevertheless, the 2009 funding loss forced the NYFS, its director, staff members, and board members to revisit and reduce the costs of a spectrum of the society’s services to the folk and traditional arts communities of New York State. As part of a strategic plan to help our organization weather the current economic storm, NYFS board and staff made the decision to shorten this issue of Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore. The issue you are reading has been reduced to two-thirds of the normal length—thirty-two pages, rather than forty-eight—and its graphic design has been simplified. This decision enabled us to avoid delaying the release of this issue or canceling Voices for this fiscal year. More than ever before in the seven decades since the New York Folklore Society was founded, the society and its journal need your support to survive. The raw cost of producing and distributing each issue of Voices amounts to approximately $12,000. More than half of this amount pays three staff members to work on the publication: soliciting material for the journal from artists and writers all over the state, sending contributions out for review, editing content, copyediting, proofreading, handling photographs and other graphic elements, and designing each issue. Printing and distributing the journal costs the NYFS roughly $5,000 per issue. The journal is released twice each year, in the spring and in the fall, at a total annual expense of nearly $25,000.

If you are already a New York Folklore Society donor, member, and Voices subscriber, we thank you for your loyal support thus far, and ask that in 2009, you consider doubling your annual contribution to the organization. If you are not yet a member of the folklore society, but read and refer to this journal regularly in your work or personal pursuits, we invite you to become a member and contributor to the society and journal now, at any donation level that may be comfortable for you.

There are two ways you can take direct action to help us resolve this crisis. You can join us by making a financial contribution using the subscription and donation materials included in this issue—and you can join us for food, music, and celebration at a gala benefit concert and Voices release party on Friday, May 29, 2009, at 5:30 p.m. (reception) and 7:00 p.m. (concert). The event will be held in the GE Theatre at Proctors, 432 State Street, Schenectady. To purchase tickets for the event, please contact the New York Folklore Society at (518) 346-7008. See the concert announcement on our What’s Happening page of our new Music Section of our website for further details.

We thank you in advance for your support. If you care about Voices and about the future of our collective work in the field of folk and traditional arts, please know that you stand in good company, as our history and recent testimonials both confirm.

Eileen Condon


Bruce Buckley taking photographs at the Fife Folk Conference in Logan, Utah, 1978

New old-style dry stone wall in Salem, New York, built by Kevin Towle

Charles Lino (left) plays the lokembe (thumb piano), while Dominic Raimondo sings at a January 5, 2008, book signing in Syracuse

The author’s late father, Samuel Margolis

Spring–Summer 2009, Volume 35:1–2

Acquisitions Editor Eileen Condon
Managing Editor Sheryl A. Englund
Design Mary Beth Malmsheimer
Printer Eastwood Litho

Editorial Board: Varick Chittenden, Lydia Fish, José Gomez-Davidson , Nancy Groce, Lee Haring, Bruce Jackson, Libby Tucker, Kay Turner, Dan Ward, Steve Zeitlin

Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore is published twice a year by the New York Folklore Society, Inc.

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