Library of Congress
American Folklife Center
The American Folklife Center at the Library
of Congress was created by Congress in 1976 "to preserve and present
American Folklife." The Center incorporates the Archive of Folk Culture,
which was established at the Library in 1928 as a repository for American Folk
Music. The Center and its collections have grown to encompass all aspects of
folk life from this country and around the world.
101 Independence Avenue, SE, Washington, D.C.
The American Folklife Center's Office and Reading Rooms are located in the
Jefferson Building on the ground floor. They are open 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday
through Friday (except federal holidays).
All recorded interviews of Folk
Music Archives are part of the permanent archive
collection of the American Folklife Center.
The best known
publications from the Archive of Folk Culture are the albums edited by Alan
Lomax, B.A. Botkin, Duncan Emrich, Frances Densmore, Willard Rhodes, Archie
Green, Charles Seeger, and other folklorists, issued by the Library of Congress
beginning in 1941 under the series title Folk Music of the United States.
A second series, Folk Music of America, was released at the time of the
Center and the Recorded Sound Division of the Library are currently
collaborating with Rounder Records to re-issue many of the Center's recordings
in compact disc format. In addition, commercial recording companies have issued
over 100 recordings compiled from the collections of the Archive.
Hickerson began his career at the Library of Congress in June 1963 as a
reference librarian in the Archive of Folk Song. In 1974 he became its eighth
head. In 1978 the Archive of Folk Song became part of the American Folklife
Center. Joe became head of acquisitions, but continued to serve in the capacity
of reference librarian and chief resource contact for researchers from around
Folk Music Archives
interviewed Joe in the Folklife Reading Room on
October 2, 2000. "I
composed the fourth and fifth verses for a song Pete Seeger
recorded, "Where Have All The Flowers Gone," based
on a Russian folksong."
first met Pete while attending Oberlin College and graduated in 1957. Joe
said during the interview, "Pete
lived in Beacon not too far from
Camp Woodland in Phoenecia, New York where I was a camp counselor
that summer . . . by chance he heard the new verses being sung
and wrote them down."
In an interview with Mary Travers of Peter, Paul & Mary on December 14, 2000
she said, "I
learned the song from Bob De Cormier our musical director." Nick
Reynolds, John Stewart and Bob Shane of The Kingston Trio told Folk Music
heard them [PP&M] sing it at Storyville in Boston - - we liked it and went
to New York the next day and recorded it on Decca." Pete
Seeger candidly told FMA: "the
royalties from the song pays my taxes!"
Photo Above: Joe Hickerson in the Folklife Reading Room
playing the guitar that Burl Ives donated to the Folk Archive in 1989.
Photo Credit: James Hardin
Photo Archival Note: Burl Ives played a
left handed guitar.
retired on July 2, 1998 after thirty-five years at the Library of Congress. He
said, "I chose that date because my term of service equaled one-half the
life of the Archives." The Music Division of the Archive was established on
July 1, 1928.