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 1979 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 7 series.
Series 1: Program Books, Festival Publications, and Ephemera
Series 2: Caribbean Carnival
Series 3: Children's Area
Series 4: Folklife in the Museum - Folk Medicine
Series 5: Folklore in Your Community
Series 6: Medicine Show
Series 7: Native American Architecture
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 1979 Festival of American Folklife was produced by the Smithsonian Folklife Program of the Office of American and Folklife Studies and cosponsored by the National Park Service.
For more information, see Smithsonian Folklife Festival records.
The 1979 Folklife Festival continued to take community as its theme, as had been announced in 1978. The Festival celebrated the creative genius of many cultural groups - some had been on American soil only for months, others for millenia. The point of the Smithsonian festivals and the museums' displays of diversity struck home to the people who came to the museums and reached out for reaffirmation of identity. People feared the loss of identity in the sense of anomie that came with being a cipher, a numeral, a set of digits, organizers believed; they feared big government, big business, megastates that might rule the world. Coupled with the fear of homogenization was the fear of the loss of one's own soul. One way to strengthen our sense of identity and to demonstrate our essential humanity, the Festival asserted, was the reaffirmation of the differences among us, the persistence of our traditions at the ground roots of life, a countercurrent for survival.
In 1979 the Festival welcomed the newly-arrived ethnic community of Vietnamese, who had brought with them rich folklife traditions. From the West Indies came immigrants who enliven our cities with the folk theatrical spectacle of Carnival. Native Americans from several tribal groups shared their knowledge of ways in which their housing has been adapted to local environmental conditions.The International Year of the Child was celebrated at the Festival in the program book cover and articles, and in the living presentations of children's folklife in the Children's Area, where Lumbee Indian children re-created a Field Day celebration, and several other children's communities enacted Halloween traditions. Occupational communities were represented by D.C. firefighters, taxicab drivers, and stonecarvers from the National Cathedral. Other communities represented, which had formed around particular interests or institutions, were a medicine show, mom-and-pop neighborhood stores, street criers, and CB radio clubs.
As with the two preceding years, the 1979 Festival (October 3-8) was 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). Indoor activities including a symposium focused on folk medicine took place in the National Museum of History and Technology, in the days preceding the outdoor Festival (September 27-30). The 1979 Program Book provided information on each of the programs.
The 1979 Festival was again co-presented by the Smithsonian Institution and National Park Service, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Music Performance Trust Funds. It was organized by the Folklife Program within the Office of American and Folklife Studies.
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, E. Richard Sorenson, Thomas Vennum
Folklife Program, Office of American and Folklife Studies
Ralph Rinzler, Director; Richard Derbyshire, Archivist; Susan Kalcik, Folklorist; Jeffrey LaRiche, Program Coordinator; Jack Santino, Folklorist; Peter Seitel, Senior Folklorist; Thomas Vennum, Jr., Ethnomusicologist; Steve Zeitlin, Folklorist
National Park Service
William J. Whelan, Director; Manus J. Fish, Jr., Regional Director, National Capital Region
Fieldworkers and presenters:
Nicholas Bocher, Sylvia Grider, Glenn Hinson, Marjorie Hunt, Fred Lieberman, Susan Manos, Phyllis May, Robert McCarl, Maxine Miska, Peter Nabokov, Elliott Parris, Kate Rinzler, Betsy Seamans, Barbara Strickland, Katherine Williams, Peggy Yocum
Forms Part Of:
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 1979 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 email@example.com 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.
Cummings, Homer S. (Homer Stillé), 1870-1956 Search this
5.94 Linear feet (20 boxes)
The collection, which dates from 1932 to 1993 and measures 5.94 linear feet, documents the career and personal life of Washington, DC cabdriver Percival Bryan. The collection is comprised of an autobiography, autograph books, citations, correspondence, memorabilia, photographic prints, and printed materials.
The papers are organized into five series. The Photographs series has been further arranged into subseries. The contents of each series and subseries are arranged alphabetically. There are oversize materials in the Biographical and Photographs series. The series and subseries are arranged as follows:
Series 1: Autobiographical
Series 2: Biographical
Series 3: Autograph albums
Series 4 Memorabilia
Series 5: Photographs
Subseries 5.1: Portraits
Subseries 5.2: Bryans and friends
Subseries 5.3: Special events
Subseries 5.4: Social groups
Subseries 5.5: Travel and recreation
Subseries 5.6: Miscellaneous
Born in Galena, St. Mary's Parish, Jamaica, Percival Bryan (1906-1996) came to the United States in 1924 as a stowaway in search of adventure and opportunity. He settled in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C., involved himself with various social and civic organizations, and was instrumental in forming the Caribbean American Inter-cultural Organization. He worked as a White House butler under Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), Harry S. Truman (1884--972), and Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969). Bryan also served as a chauffer for Attorney General Homer S. Cummings (1870-1956) before becoming a cab driver. An autograph collector, Mr. Bryan collected over 100,000 signatures of notable individuals.
Separated Materials note:
Three-dimensional items located in the objects collection.
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist at ACMarchives@si.edu
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution.