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American Folklife Center Collections: Tennessee

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

Introduction

American Folklife Center collections from Tennessee document the diversity of its expressive culture. Among its unique collections are the vast archive of storytelling found in the International Storytelling Collection and cognate collections, as well as extensive documentation from the Smoky Mountains and Cumberland Plateau. Additionally, African-American singing and sermonizing from south-eastern Tennessee is well documented from the 1940s onward.

Bob Fulcher Collection and Oral History

In this featured video, Bradley Hanson and Tom Rankin interview Bob Fulcher upon the donation of his collection of music and traditions from the Cumberland Plateau to the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress.

Bob Fulcher is the manager of the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park. He has spent four decades engaged in folklife fieldwork and programming, supporting traditional artists and providing inspirational mentoring to young culture workers. Fulcher started the Tennessee State Parks Folklife Project in 1979, initiating cultural fieldwork throughout the park system. In 2000, he launched the Cumberland Trail Heritage Project. Since 2001, he has interpreted regional music as host of "The Cumberland Trail" radio show on WDVX in East Tennessee. He formed Sandrock Recordings in 2011, a music label specializing in traditional music and has released more than two dozen albums of field and historical recordings during his career, with various labels. Fulcher is also a recipient of the 2019 NEA National Heritage Fellowship.

Collections of Interest

The following collection titles listed below link to fuller bibliographic in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.

Podcasts and Blog Posts

Public Programming

The Fairfield Four is an African-American gospel quartet that has existed for more than 95 years. The group is best known for its performance in the film "O Brother Where Art Thou" and for collaborations with popular artists such as Dolly Parton, John Fogerty and Vince Gill. As traditional American folk musicians, the quartet has achieved the highest honors possible, including induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, three Grammy Awards and the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.