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American Folklife Center Collections: Indiana

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


Alan Lomax, author. Letter from Alan Lomax to Robert Barton Allen thanking him for contributing interview recordings made in Bloomington, IN. December 18, 1941. Radio Research Project manuscript collection (AFC 1941/005). Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

American Folklife Center collections from Indiana document expressive culture from across the state and span over nine decades. Beginning with items in the Alan Lomax Ohio and Indiana collection, and continuing on to today with StoryCorps interviews and documentation in the Occupational Folklife Project, American Folklife Center collections illustrate the rich variety of traditional culture in this geographically central and culturally rich state.

Particularly noteworthy are the many disc recordings made by Alan and Elizabeth Lomax in Bloomington and other south-central Indiana towns in 1938. They recorded over 50 discs in Indiana during the trip in late March, which also took them to Ohio and Kentucky. The recordings contain songs and stories, featuring much material in French, a wealth of fiddle tunes, and a series of Amish hymns.

After the Day of Infamy: "Man-on-the-Street" Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor

This collection provides insight into the opinions and thoughts of people around the United States immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. While serving as a folklore consultant on the Library's Radio Research Project, Alan Lomax sent a telegram on December 8, 1941 asking fieldworkers around the U.S. to collect "man-on-the-street" reactions. This request resulted in approximately four and one half hours of recordings that were used to create a fifteen-minute radio program for the Mutual Broadcasting System. A second set of recordings, in which the interviewees were asked to address their thoughts and opinions on the attack and the declaration of war directly to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was made under the auspices of the Office of Emergency Management in January and February 1942. These recordings total approximately seven and one half hours and were also used to create a radio program, entitled "Dear Mr. President," which was broadcast in May 1942. The collection includes six recordings from Indiana.

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

In 2010, the American Folklife Center hosted The Not Too Bad Bluegrass Band from Bloomington, Indiana. Formed in 1987, original members included Jeff White, who went on to play with superstars like Alison Krauss and Vince Gill; singer-songwriter Bob Lucas; and Lisa Germano, who later played fiddle with John Mellencamp's band. For their 2010 appearance in the Library's Coolidge auditorium, the line-up included: Brian Lappin (banjo), Doug Harden (mandolin), Greg Norman (bass), Kent Todd (fiddle), and Brady Stogdill (guitar).