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American Folklife Center Collections: Pennsylvania

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


Candacy A. Taylor, photographer. Folosade Bey Al-Rasul and Nzinga Foreman-Bey interview conducted by Candacy Taylor, 2012-08-24. Hairdresser and beauty shop culture in America: Archie Green Fellows Project, 2012-2013. Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

American Folklife Center collections from Pennsylvania document the diversity of its expressive culture. Among its unique collections are recordings of Irish music; fiddle and string band music; and ethnic, religious, and musical traditions of Pennsylvania German, Lithuanian, Yiddish/Jewish, Slavonic, and Bulgarian communities; and documentation of the occupational folklore of anthracite and bituminous miners, river boat raftsmen, and health care workers.

Hairdresser and Beauty Shop Culture in America Collection

In 2012, documentarian Candacy Taylor received an Archie Green Fellowship to document hairdresser and beauty shop culture across America. The resulting 16 in-depth interviews were conducted at various types of hair-related establishments, from upscale New York City salons to home beauty parlors in Philadelphia and West Virginia, and suburban and small town shops in Washington, D.C., Boston, and California. The collector focused on shops that served particular communities and/or immigrant populations, including Asian Americans, Dominican and other Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Indian Americans, and Anglo-Americans as well as a Jewish American wigmaker in Brooklyn, New York, who made wigs primarily for the Hasidic community.

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

An Illustrated lecture presented by professor Don Yoder. The Pennsylvania Dutch culture, which is now over three centuries old and still evolving, is an American hybrid creation put together from Continental Europe, British Isles, and American building blocks in Southeastern Pennsylvania. While this culture is a unit linguistically, and in most other ways, it is divided down the middle by religion. The "two worlds" are those of the "Plain Dutch" — Amish, Mennonites, and Brethren — and the much large world of the Lutheran and Recorded churches of the German and Swiss Reformates. May 5, 2011.

Additional Public Programming