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RG4798.AM:  Nebraska Folklife Center

Records:  1970s-1980s

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska

Size:  1.5 cu.ft.; 3 boxes


This collection consists of three boxes of records relating to the Nebraska Folklife Center.  This collection is arranged in four series:  1) Nebraska ethnic groups; 2) Folk crafts; 3) Folk activities and traditions; and 4) Administrative materials.  The materials reflect the many origins of Nebraska settlers and more recent immigrants, emphasizing the cherished objects and traditions that link them to the lands from which they or their ancestors came.

Series 1 includes clippings, publications, and some correspondence related to twelve ethnic groups represented in Nebraska.  Clippings and articles about the creation of folk crafts ranging from the practical (wagon making) to the decorative (needlework) and the experimental (a “healing machine”) are in Series 2.  Folk activities and their practitioners are the subject of Series 3.  Accounts of activities considered traditional, like food preparation and music making, are supplemented by articles about activities still very current, like chain letter writing and tattooing.  Series 4 holds papers collected by Lynne Ireland regarding the administration of the Nebraska Folklife Center.  It includes information on the history of Lincoln and its museums as well as on Nebraska historical sites; there is also material on theories of folklife studies and contact information for those involved in folk crafts and activities.

Note:  See the audio, moving image and photo components of this collection for related materials.


Series 1 – Nebraska ethnic groups

Box 1


  1. Ethnic diversity

  2. Czech origin

  3. German origin (includes Germans from Russia)

  4. Greek origin

  5. Hispanic origin

  6. Native American origin

  7. Irish origin

  8. Jewish origin

  9. Latvian origin

  10. Scandinavian origin

  11. Southeast Asian origin

  12. Ukrainian origin

Series 2 – Folk crafts

  1. Doll and toy making

  2. Egg decoration

  3. “Healing machine”

  4. Horseshoeing

  5. Leatherworking

  6. Needlework

  7. Painting and pottery

  8. Paper crafts

  9. Quilting

Box 2


  1. Spinning and weaving

  2. Stained glass and neon sign making

  3. Stone crafts

  4. Tattooing

  5. Taxidermy

  6. Wagon making

  7. Water witching (dowsing)

  8. Woodworking

  9. Interviews with crafts specialists and repairers

Series 3 – Folk activities

  1. Chain letter writing

  2. Contemporary folk life (urban legends, graffiti)

  3. Dance

  4. Food preparation

  5. Gandy dancing and train hobbies

  6. Hairdressing

  7. Holiday activities

  8. Hunting, trapping, and fishing

  9. Language

  10. Medicine and cures

  11. Music making

  12. Rituals and ceremonies

  13. Rope twirling

  14. Rural sports

  15. Storytelling

  16. Arts and crafts demonstrations/conferences

  17. Festivals and celebrations (centennials, reunions)

Series 4 – Administrative materials

Box 3


  1. Clippings re the Nebraska State Historical Society

  2. Clippings re Lincoln museums, c. 1950-c. 1970

  3. Clippings re Lincoln history

  4. Clippings re Nebraska state historical sites

  5. Clippings re Nebraska towns vanishing

  6. Travel arrangements for fieldwork

  7. Theories of folk life studies

  8. Folk life contact lists

  9. Folk life contact lists, cont.

  10. Folk life survey questionnaires

  11. Copies of folk life photographs housed in Photo Dept

  12. John Carter’s correspondence re Chautauqua

  13. Lynne Ireland’s Northeastern Crafts Project materials


BQ        2005