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Croatia and the Croatian Collections in the Library of Congress

American Folklife Center

Kollo dance at Salona. John Gardner Wilkinson. Dalmatia and Montenegro. 1848. Library of Congress General Collections.

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 Croatian in origin or content.

The W.P.A. California Folk Music Project Collection, 1938-1940 is a rich source of folk music from various American ethnic groups including Croatian. Comprised of 239 discs and 115 folders of accompanying materials, over a dozen of the recordings are Croatian and freely available on the Library of Congress website, with some other materials accessible only onsite at the American Folklife Center.

The American Folklife Center frequently sponsors lectures and performances on folk culture. In 2004 in the Coolidge Auditorium the Library of Congress recorded "Jerry Grcevich and his Orchestra, Tamburitza music from Pennsylvania." The collection associated with this concert includes sound and video recordings of the concert as well as an interview with Grcevich, a Croatian-American tamburitza musician. In the interview Grcevich speaks about tambouritza traditions, his family history, and his visits to Croatia, and also demonstrates various instruments used by tambouritza groups.

Other collections containing Croatian content are the Barbara Krader collection of Serbian, Macedonian, and Croatian music with 8 sound reels of folk music, and the Robert F. Draves and Helene Stratman-Thomas Collection of Wisconsin Recordings, containing folk and dance music performed by the Tamburica Quartet.

To locate Croatian material in the Folklife Center you can use a filter in an advanced search of the Library's catalog. For example, use the search terms "Croatia," "Croatian," or "Dalmatian" and limit your location to the American Folklife Center for archival collections and to the American Folklife Reference Collection for books in the AFC reference collection. For further information about the Croatian content held by the American Folklife Center, contact them directly and see their collection guide for Croatia.

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 Croatia. 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 Croatian folklife.

Below is a featured recording from the W.P.A. California Folk Music Project Collection / John Botica: performer

About the American Folklife Center

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.