The American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress collects and documents folklife and traditional culture from the United States and around the world. Originally concentrating on folk music in the 1920s, the American Folklife Center now collects ethnographic materials in many formats. Some of those collections and materials are Bulgarian in origin or content.
The Martha Forsyth Collection of Bulgarian Recordings is a rich source of folk music from the South Western regions of Bulgaria. Comprised of 104 audiocassettes, 4 CDs, and one box of documents, these field recordings produced from 1978 through 1985 are available only onsite at the American Folklife Center. Additional recordings by Martha Forsyth and other folklorists are included in the Center for Traditional Music and Dance collection.
Other collections containing Bulgarian content are the Cooperative Acquisitions Project with 12 discs of Bulgarian folk Music, the Gordon Bok / Khalmyk Duplication Project, containing some popular orchestral arrangement of Bulgarian folk music, and the Joel Martin Halpern Collection.
The American Folklife Center frequently sponsors lectures and performances on folk culture. In 2005 as part of the Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lecture series, ethnomusicologist Timothy Rice spoke on "Music in Bulgaria: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture." The lecture was recorded and added to the collections, along with his presentation slides and examples.
Besides the selected special collections in the American Folklife Center mentioned above, the Library of Congress collects in depth published books and periodicals on the folk ways of other countries, including Bulgaria. Those materials are part of the vast general collections and may be identified using the Library of Congress online catalog. Staff of the European Reading Room are happy to help researchers locate published materials on Bulgarian folklife.
The American Folklife Center was created in 1976 by the U.S. Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibitions, publications, and training. Designated by the U.S. Congress as the national center for folklife documentation and research, the American Folklife Center continues to collect and document living traditional culture, while preserving for the future its unparalleled collections in the state-of-the-art preservation facilities of the Library of Congress.