Skip to Main Content

American Folklife Center Collections: Portugal

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


Sidney Robertson Cowell, collector. Alice Lemos Avila with Olive and Joachim Flores and Frank Cunha. Between 1938 and 1939. W.P.A. California Folk Music Project collection. Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

American Folklife Center collections documenting Portuguese peoples from Portugal and the United States represent the diversity of their expressive culture. Among the American Folklife Center's unique collections are Folk music of the Azores recorded by Artur Santos and his wife Túlia Santos; ethnographic documentation projects undertaken by the American Folklife Center including as the Lowell, Massachusetts, Folklife Project; the Rhode Island Folklife Project; and the Ethnic Heritage and Language Schools project; as well as the W.P.A. California Folk Music Project collection of recordings of various ethnic groups by Sidney Roberton Cowell, available online as California Gold. The recordings of Portuguese Americans in California are particularly noteworthy because Cowell was assisted by a member of that community, Alice Lemos Avila, who helped introduce her to singers and also translated Portuguese song lyrics for the collection. Read more about this collection 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. Also named the W.P.A. California Folk Music Project collection. Includes Portuguese songs and music.

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