FOLK ARTS & CULTURE
Collection summaries and some of the results of documentation of communities’ expressive cultures are presented here.
Hip Hop Archive
In 2001, the New York Folklore Society and the Brooklyn-based Urban Think Tank embarked on a collaborative project documenting Hip Hop. The Community Scholars at Urban Think Tank (UTT)—“a nonpartisan, community-based home for a body of thinkers in the Hip Hop generation...the first organization that analyzes and frames political, economic and cultural issues, particularly those of concern to people of color, from the perspective of the Hip Hop generation” —identified collections important to the development of Hip Hop culture. Vee Bravo, Yvonne Bynoe, and Chic Smith of the UTT recognized the need to document this material, provide access to it, and preserve it for the future.
A Survey of Finnish and Hungarian Archival Resources in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State
In nearly every community there are individuals who care passionately about and work hard to collect or safeguard the cultural and historical documentation of their communities and groups. Often such people, known in the contemporary folklore field as “community scholars,” are very knowledgeable about local history and culture and intimately connected with their communities, but they are usually untrained in planning and carrying out the systematic collection and stewardship of records. Furthermore, they are unlikely to be attuned to the nature and importance of folklore records”the documentation of their communities’ expressive culture.
With support from the Documentary Heritage Program in 1998, the New York Folklore Society initiated a community documentation project in August of that year, with training and mentoring initiated in the Finnish community first, followed by the Hungarian community in late 1998 and early 1999.
Read more about the survey.
New York Folklore Society
The New York State Library is home to the records of the New York Folklore Society, from 1950–1998, transferred to the library on March 21, 2006. You can see a description of the scope and content at the NYSL site.
“Although Hip Hop continues to be a cultural major influence, its roots are becoming historical. Several decades have now passed since the first independent recordings were made, since people were literally dancing in the streets, since subway cars became the vehicles of art.”
—From Nancy Johnson’s Archival Questions column in Voices 29, Fall-Winter 2003: “Documenting the New: Hip Hop as Archives.”
“When you walk through the front door of Eniko Farkas’ house and into the living room, your first impression is that you have entered a mini-folk art museum, and it is hard to walk through it without stopping and looking. Displayed in china cabinets, framed and mounted on the walls are exquisite examples of the various types of Hungarian embroideries and laces she has made and collected over the years.”
—From “Eniko Farkas: Community Scholar,” a profile by Karen Taussig-Lux and Deborah Clover, that appeared in the Summer 1998 NYFS Newsletter.