Skip to Main Content

American Folklife Center Collections: Croatia

This guide provides access to ethnographic resources documenting Croatian expressive culture in Croatia and the United States in the collections of the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.


Sidney Robertson Cowell, collector. John Botica playing the misnice, facing front, portrait, photograph. Taken between 1938 and 1939. WPA California Folk Music Collection. Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

American Folklife Center collections documenting Croatians represent the diversity of their expressive culture. Among its unique collections are ethnographic recordings made in Eastern Europe documenting Croatian ritual, events, music, and other traditions made by various scholars in the first half of the twentieth century. In the United States, Alan Lomax documented Croatian songs and music in Michigan in 1938 and recordings from that collection are available online.

As part of the documentation of ethnic groups in the American Folklife Center's Chicago Ethnic Arts Project collection in 1977, researchers interviewed members of the Yugoslavian community, including Croatians. In the 1930s, ethnographer Sidney Robertson Cowell recorded Croatian musicians and their instruments as part of her study of the music and song of central California in the 1930s. More details on these collections is provided below.

California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell

This online presentation, California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties, comprises 35 hours of folk music recorded in 12 languages representing numerous ethnic groups and 185 musicians.

It includes sound recordings, still photographs of the performers, drawings of folk instruments, and written documentation from a variety of European ethnic and English- and Spanish-speaking communities in northern California in the 1930s. Includes documentation of Croatian music, musicians, and instruments.

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.

Podcasts and Blog Posts

Public Programming

Harmonia presents traditional folk music of Eastern Europe, ranging from the Danube to the Carpathians. Its repertoire reflects the cultures of this region: Hungarian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Romanian, Croatian and Gypsy. Performed on authentic folk instruments, and styled after turn-of-the-century eastern-European Gypsy bands, their music is drawn from both the urban and rural traditions of eastern Europe. The musicians come from varied eastern-European backgrounds; in Harmonia they have found a common musical language. In addition to being polished performers on instruments as varied as accordion, upright bass, violin, pan-flute, and cimbalom (hammered dulcimer), Harmonia's members are adept at explaining their music and culture to diverse audiences. Harmonia brings to the concert stage the vitality and excitement of ethnic weddings, celebrations, and smoky cafes that inspired composers such as Bartok, Brahms and Liszt. (Event date: July 11, 2013)

Additional Public Programming