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"Regional America" cut across all the other sections of the Festival by looking at the assemblages of different peoples scattered across our land. In this area, therefore, visitors could see working people and children, ethnics and blacks and Native Americans brought together to celebrate not so much their individual identities but the space in which they all live together, their homeplace within the wide American land.
A region was acknowledged to be a hard thing to create on the Mall; it is an abstract made up of a thousand concrete details: the lay of the land, the slant of the sunlight, the way a person says "Good morning," the particular records on the jukeboxes in the diner, the depth of the topsoil, the smell of Sunday dinner. So in Regional America the Festival brought together the people who lived in a particular place and asked them to demonstrate the arts and the skills that make it possible to live in that place and that most powerfully characterize it. It is the sense of home that the Smithsonian sought to capture here.
June 16-20, the Northeast. The Northeast Region combines the peoples and the traditions of the Atlantic Northeast (Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware) and those of New England. There were demonstrations of lobster trap making, whittling, quilting, and snowshoe making, traditional food preparation, and presentations of Anglo, French, and German American traditional music.
June 23-27, the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes region is a large area consisting of diverse peoples and traditions. Scandinavian, Eastern European, Mediterranean, and Native American music, crafts, and food demonstrations included birch bark canoe building, bread baking, and pysanky decorating. From the farming and dairy areas, skills such as shingle making and wood carving were presented, along with dairy cattle demonstrations of milking, calf feeding, and caring for livestock. Demonstrations of maritime activities included fish net making, waterfowl decoy carving, dock building, and storytelling. Blues and other transplanted styles of Southern music were also performed.
July 1-5, the South. Presentations included Alabama folk painting, traditional boat building, stitchery by Ethel Mohamed (who did the tapestry on the cover of the 1976 program book), decoy carving and painting, a Freedom Quilting Bee, pottery, and splint basket making. Regional America's presentation of Southern foodways traditions included the preparation of pecan pralines, various gumbos, crawfish, and sorghum.
July 7-11, the Upland South. Crafts presented this week included quilting, blacksmithing, stone carving, barrel making, and whittling. Vinegar pie, hominy, biscuits and gravy were made for sampling, with barbequed chicken, corn on the cob, cobbler, and barbequed beans for sale.
July 14-18, the Heartland. Craft presentations included the making of apple head dolls, corn husk dolls, tree branch dolls and spurs, wood carving, and pysanky (egg decorating.) Foodways demonstrations includes the preparation of such regional specialties as kolaches (a Bohemian fruit-filled bun), sweet braided bread, New Year cookies, cheese, and sauerkraut.
July 14-18, the Great West. Featured crafts included quilting by seven different participants, wagon wheel making, horse hair rope making, wood carving, braided and woven rug making, and the demonstration of traditional fence building styles. Preparation of foods from the Great West was demonstrated including bratzells (cookies baked over an open fire), whole wheat bread, and the canning of sauerkraut, pickles, relish, and jelly.
July 28-August 1, the Pacific Northwest. Craft presentations included fly tying and casting, snow sled making, fiddle making, a logging demonstration, weaving, whittling, net making, boat building, and paper cutting. Foodways demonstrations featured a camp cook making pancakes and sourdough bread, traditional to the logging life of the Pacific Northwest.
August 4-8, the Southwest. Visitors could see cowboy boot making, adobe making, mural painting, calf roping, saddle making, rawhide work, and soap making demonstrated as part of the presentation of the culture of the Southwest. Traditional ranch cooking was demonstrated, with chili, beans, and sourdough biscuits among the featured specialties.
Barbara LaPan Rahm was Program Coordinator; William K. McNeil was Folklorist; and Diana Parker was Assistant Program Coordinator.
Clarence E. Smith, 1940-, Oakland, California, ex-Texas
Lorence L. Smith, Colorado
Elaine Sylvia, California
Ron Sylvia, California, ex-Massachusetts
Elizabeth Rose Tea, 1920-, Clifton, Arizona
Pablo Trujillo, 1916-, New Mexico
Florentino Urias, Presidio, Texas
Jose Urias, Texas, Presidio, Texas
Maria Velasquez, California
Ossie White, California
Roscoe White, California
Jesse Wright, California
Jimmy Wright, singer, Fresno, California
Walter Wright, singer, Fresno, California
William Wright, 1914-1982, singer, Selma, California
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.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 1976 Festival of American Folklife, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
The glaze recipes in the studio practice files are access restricted; written permission is required to view these documents. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Toshiko Takaezu papers, circa 1925-circa 2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and the Alice L. Walton Foundation.
The microfilmed Tom and Dorothy Benrimo papers consist of biographical records; correspondence, including some illustrated letters, with friends, family members, art galleries, and others; photographs of the Benrimos and their friends, and of Tom's work; an illustrated travel diary by Dorothy in Italy; writings, including Dorothy's book, Camposantos: A Photographic Essay, and lecture notes; handwritten notebooks of Thomas's; address books and appointment books; drawings, including Dorothy's jewelry designs; Thomas's sketchbook; business and financial records; scrapbooks; and printed matter.
Biographical / Historical:
Thomas Benrimo (1887-1958) was a painter in Taos, New Mexico. He taught at Pratt Institute in New York and was one of the first artists in the United States to introduce the teaching methods developed at the German Bauhaus school of design. Benrimo relocated to Taos in 1939 for his health and there began to paint full-time.
Dorothy Benrimo (1903-1977) was a jewelry designer in Taos, New Mexico. After her studies at Carnegie Melon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Benrimo received multiple Tiffany Foundation Fellowships and worked at the Tiffany estate. She also taught at Carnegie Mellon and at Pratt until she and her husband moved to Taos in 1939. Benrimo is also a photographer and her photographs were exhibited at the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art and published in book the book Camposantos: A Photographic Essay in 1966.
The Fashion Institute of Technology Gladys Marcus Library Special Collections and College Archives holds the Tom Benrimo sketch collection, 1930-1939.
Microfilmed as part of the Archives of American Art's Texas project.
Lent for microfilming 1984 by Earl Stroh, a friend of Tom Benrimo.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.