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Todd Harvey, Reference Librarian, American Folklife Center
Created: June 27, 2022
Last Updated: June 27, 2022
The American Folklife Center (AFC) produces guides for the purpose of directing users to resources and collections in support of research on a range of topics connected to folklife, cultural heritage, and ethnographic documentation.
This guide is part of a series of topical guides focusing on "areas of distinction" within AFC collections, as articulated in the Center's Collection Policy Statement. These topical guides are intended to be curated access points for AFC's rich resources, rather than comprehensive of definitive listings.
This guide provides an introduction to doing research on the Seeger family, whom former Librarian of Congress Dr. James Billington honored for:
"...their special ability to touch the American soul, to evoke and enrich the spirit of our culture over a very long period of time."
The Seeger family collections at the American Folklife Center reflect the family's long association with the Library of Congress, beginning in the 1930s and continuing today. Seeger family members appear in more than seventy-five AFC collections as performers, subjects, or documentarians. Of particular note are the recordings of 1950s bluegrass and country music made by Mike Seeger, film footage made by Toshi and Pete Seeger, a large number of interviews made by David Dunaway to prepare his biography of Pete beginning in the 1970s, and the Resettlement Administration recordings made by Charles Seeger during the 1930s.
As well, the Library of Congress Music Division holds significant collections relating to the Seeger family. A finding aid provides details to those materials:
In 2007, the American Folklife Center Center produced a two-day Seeger Family Tribute that brought together members of the family along with performers and scholars to consider the legacy of the family upon American culture.
The following guide offers general research strategies for use of the American Folklife Center collections.