The Smithsonian Institution Festival of American Folklife, held annually since 1967 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was renamed the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 1998. The materials collected here document the planning, production, and execution of the annual Festival, produced by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (1999-present) and its predecessor offices (1967-1999). An overview of the entire Festival records group is available here: Smithsonian Folklife Festival records.
Scope and Contents note:
This collection documents the planning, production, and execution of the 1981 Festival of American Folklife. Materials may include photographs, audio recordings, motion picture film and video recordings, notes, production drawings, contracts, memoranda, correspondence, informational materials, publications, and ephemera. Such materials were created during the Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as well as in the featured communities, before or after the Festival itself.
Arranged in 10 series.
Series 1: Program Books, Festival Publications, and Ephemera
Series 2: Adobe Architecture
Series 3: Arts Endowment Folk Arts Program
Series 4: A Celebration of the American Tent Show
Series 5: Children's Program
Series 6: Folklore of the Deaf
Series 7: Music and Crafts of the Southeastern United States
Series 8: Northeastern Music and Dance
Series 9: Ojibwa Culture
Series 10: South Slavic Americans
The Festival of American Folklife, held annually since 1967 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was renamed the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 1998.
The 1981 Festival of American Folklife was produced by the Smithsonian Office of Folklife Programs and cosponsored by the National Park Service.
For more information, see Smithsonian Folklife Festival records.
In 1981, the fifteenth annual Festival of American Folklife returned to the summer, resuming the schedule of two five-day weeks that had characterized Festivals in the 1973-1975 era. The 1981 Festival would be the last held on a site on the National Mall later to be occupied by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, between 14th and 15th Streets and between Constitution Avenue and Madison Drive (see site plan).
Preparations for the Festival's return to summer involved going back to many old friends in mid-winter and asking them if they would make one or two kiln-loads of pottery in mid-spring for the coming Festival. The Folklife Program asked others, "Can you come to Washington for two weeks around the Fourth of July?" In keeping with the International Year of Disabled Persons, Festival organizers asked still others, 'Will you help us with a special program on the folklore of Deaf people?" The Smithsonian encountered approval at almost every turn. A return to summer was greeted with enthusiasm as was the combination of old themes with some new ones. The lengthened two-week format was appealing, and Fourth of ]uly weekend in the Nation's Capital sounded just fine, too.
The Smithsonian also turned to the Folk Arts Program of the National Endowment for the Arts to help out because the return to summer involved producing two Folklife Festivals in less than one year, and time for fieldwork was limited. The result was a series of daytime programs and evening concerts that drew on five years of intensive work on the part of the Arts Endowment in supporting folk arts performance and documentation.
The 1981 Program Book provided information on each of the programs.
The 1981 Festival was again co-presented by the Smithsonian Institution and National Park Service, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy and Music Performance Trust Funds. It was organized by the Office of Folklife Programs.
Folklife Advisory Council
Wilcomb E. Washburn, Chairman, Roger Abrahams, Richard Ahlborn, Richard Dorson, William Fitzhugh, Lloyd Herman, Robert Laughlin, Scott Odell, Ralph Rinzler, Peter Seitel, Richard Sorenson, Thomas Vennum
Office of Folklife Programs
Ralph Rinzler, Director; Richard Derbyshire, Archivist; Susan Kalcik, Folklorist; Jeffrey LaRiche, Program Coordinator; Jack Santino, Folklorist; Peter Seitel, Senior Folklorist; Thomas Vennum, Ethnomusicologist; Steve Zeitlin, Folklorist
National Park Service
Russell E. Dickenson, Director; Manus J. Fish, Jr., Regional Director, National Capital Region
Fieldworkers and presenters:
Erdye Betrand, Peggy Bulger, Simon Carmel, Marda Freeman, Monica Goubaud, Nick Hawes, Glen Hinson, Geraldine Johnson, Walter Mahovlich, Richard March, Brooks McNamara, Peter Nabokov, Alyce Newkirk, Earl Nyholm, Jo Radner, Kate Rinzler, Robert Sayers, Daniel Sheehy, Robert Teske, Margaret Yocom
Forms Part Of:
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 1981 Festival of American Folklife forms part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival records .
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: Papers
1967 Festival of American Folklife records - [Ongoing]
Related Archival Materials note:
Within the Rinzler Archives, related materials may be found in various collections such as the Ralph Rinzler papers and recordings, the Lily Spandorf drawings, the Diana Davies photographs, the Robert Yellin photographs, and the Curatorial Research, Programs, and Projects collection. Additional relevant materials may also be found in the Smithsonian Institution Archives concerning the Division of Performing Arts (1966-1983), Folklife Program (1977-1980), Office of Folklife Programs (1980-1991), Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies (1991-1999), Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (1999-present), and collaborating Smithsonian units, as well as in the administrative papers of key figures such as the Secretary and respective deputies. Users are encouraged to consult relevant finding aids and to contact Archives staff for further information.
Access by appointment only. Where a listening copy or viewing copy has been created, this is indicated in the respective inventory; additional materials may be accessible with sufficient advance notice and, in some cases, payment of a processing fee. Older papers are housed at a remote location and may require a minimum of three weeks' advance notice and payment of a retrieval fee. Certain formats such as multi-track audio recordings and EIAJ-1 videoreels (1/2 inch) may not be accessible. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at 202-633-7322 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Copyright and other restrictions may apply. Generally, materials created during a Festival are covered by a release signed by each participant permitting their use for personal and educational purposes; materials created as part of the fieldwork leading to a Festival may be more restricted. We permit and encourage such personal and educational use of those materials provided digitally here, without special permissions. Use of any materials for publication, commercial use, or distribution requires a license from the Archives. Licensing fees may apply in addition to any processing fees.