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American Folklife Center Collections: Arkansas

This guide provides access to ethnographic resources documenting expressive culture in the state of Arkansas at the Library of Congress.


Laura Bailey Parks, quiltmaker. 1996 Arkansas State Winner. 1992. Lands' End All-American Quilt Collection. Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

American Folklife Center collections from Arkansas document expressive culture from nearly every corner of the state and span nearly a century. Beginning with the 1930s recordings of Cummins State farm inmates by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax to the ongoing StoryCorps project. Particularly noteworthy are the Vance Randolph collection Ozark folklore from the 1930s, interviews of Civil Rights leaders, and linguistic examples from the Center for Applied Linguistics.

Quilts and Quiltmaking in America

This collection contains segments from recorded interviews with quiltmakers and graphic images (prints, positive transparencies, and negatives) from two collections in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress: the Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1982/00) and the Lands' End All-American Quilt Contest Collection (AFC 1997/011). The Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project was a field project conducted in 1978 by the American Folklife Center, in partnership with the National Park Service. The area included a seventy-mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Virginia and North Carolina border. Among the many cultural traditions documented in this collection was the late-twentieth-century quiltmaking revival. The Lands' End collection provides a different but complementary window into late-twentieth century quiltmaking. This online presentation documents the 181 state and national winners of contests sponsored by the company in 1992, 1994, and 1996, and reflects a sampling of excellent design and technical skill characteristic of prizewinning quilts during this period. 

Additional Collections of Interest

The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.

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Sonny Burgess's music spans five decades of airplay, concerts, dance parties, and radio shows. An original recording artist with Sun records, he recorded classic songs such as "Red Headed Woman" and "We Wanna Boogie" in the style now known as Rockabilly. Rockabilly is an exciting blend of the blues, country and gospel, and was an important building block of 1950s Rock and Roll. Burgess and fellow band members put on a famously energetic rock and roll show, originally in their home region of northeastern Arkansas. In the 1950s they joined Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Rich, Johnny cash, and many others on regional tours in local school gyms, promoting their releases on Sun Records. Sonny Burgess and the Pacers were known not only for their music but for their acrobatic stage shows. They continue to perform regularly, and were inducted into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame in 2002.