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American Folklife Center Society Wide Award Nominations

The Center incorporates the Library's Archive of Folk Culture which was founded in 1928 as a repository for American folk music. The Center carries out its congressional mandate through its collections, programs, and services, which have touched all fifty states.

The American Folklife Center

The American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress was created by the U.S. Congress in 1976 through Public Law 94-201 and charged to "preserve and present American folklife."


The Archie Green Public Folklore Advocacy Award

Archie Green Public Folklore Advocacy Award
Nominate someone for this award.

As many of you know, at the 2008 AFS meetings in Louisville the Public Folklore Section voted to institute a second award, modeled on the Botkin Award, to honor individuals contributing to the field from outside the Society. The committee, chaired by Steve Zeitlin, and including Elaine Thatcher, Kathy Condon, Sue Eleuterio, and Peter Bartis were charged with finalizing the name for the award, and setting the process in motion. Marsha MacDowell is the AFS Board Representative. We decided upon "The Archie Green Public Folklore Advocacy Award." Like the Botkin prize, this is a Society-wide award.

Tom Davenport, folklore filmmaker and creator of was the first venerable award recipient. The committee, responding to a wide range of support letters, recognized Folkstreams as a visionary project, started at a time when streaming films on the web was in its infancy. It has gone on to become an extraordinary democratic initiative in public folklore and education, exponentially increasing the visibility of the field, and giving grassroots communities across the U.S. access to their own traditions, folklore, and cultural history. In addition, the committee recognized the excellence of Davenport's own work as a filmmaker documenting American folk culture.

Here is the information you will need to submit a nomination. Please submit nominations by August 1, 2010. The Archie Green Public Folklore Advocacy Award is not a cash prize, but the recipient receives a specially designed, framed certificate.

Who is this award for?

Devotees, community members, advocates, and others who generally operate outside the professional field of folklore and who have made significant contributions to the preservation and encouragement of folk traditions in the United States through public oriented projects, programs and other innovative activities. Awardees should have advanced the general mission of public sector folklore either individually or in concert with others, including professional folklorists.

Award Criteria

* Positive impact on tradition(s) and communty(ies). Areas of impact may include cultural preservation, presentation, funding, advocacy, and/or community engagement.
* Depth and quality of contribution.
* Quality and depth of nomination package, including support letters.

How to Submit a Nomination

Nominations should include a primary letter of nomination, a one or two page bio or resume on the individual being nominated, and no less than three and no more than five letters of support from a broad range of people, including community members who have benefited from the nominee's work, folklorists, and people from outside the folklore field. Letters of nomination should specifically address the above review criteria, providing evidence of the nominee's impact on particular traditions and communities.

All nominations and support materials must be submitted in electronic format so they can be distributed quickly and easily to the committee members. Nominations will be active for three years, so nominees from our first round will be once again considered. Please send nominations to Steve Zeitlin, steve (at) Please feel free to contact any of the committee members with questions or suggestions.

Committee Members

Steve Zeitlin steve (at) citylore -dot- org
(212) 529-1955, x 301

Peter Bartis
peba -(at)- loc -dot- gov
(202) 707-4919

Kathy Condon condonk -(at)- aol -dot- com
(718) 797-0236

Sue Eleuterio
sueeleu -(at)-
(219) 902-1831

Marsha MacDowell macdowel -(at)- msu -dot- edu
(517) 355-6511

Elaine Thatcher elaine-dot-thatcher (at ) usu -dot- edu
(435) 797.0299

Elaine Thatcher
Proposal Development Specialist, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Program Coordinator, Mountain West Center for Regional Studies
Utah State University
0735 Old Main Hill
Logan UT 84322-0735
435.797.0299 voice
435.797.1092 fax

Botkin Award

Benjamin A. Botkin Prize

Each year, the Public Programs Section of the American Folklore Society joins with the AFS Executive Board to award the Benjamin A. Botkin Prize of $200 to an individual for significant achievement in public folklore. This prize is given in recognition of the work of Benjamin A. Botkin (1901-1975). Eminent New Deal-era folklorist, national folklore editor of the Federal Writers' Project in 1938-1939, advocate for the public responsibilities of folklorists, author and compiler of many publications on American folklore for general audiences, and head of the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress from 1942 to 1945, Botkin has had a major impact on the field of public folklore and on the public understanding of folklore.

The review criteria are:

  • Engagement of a broad public audience in the materials of folklore
  • Impact on the field of public folklore: development of models, methodology, visibility, advocacy
  • Impact on communities/constituents and their traditional culture
  • Contributions to the body of materials of folklore/public folklore
  • Quality of artistry in presentation: writing, photography, stagecraft, etc.
  • Quality of scholarship
  • Impact on the discipline of folklore, its theories and methodology
  • Quality/adequacy of nomination package itself
  • Breadth of support, as evidenced by letters from community members and non-folklorists in addition to folklore colleagues

The next deadline for nominations is August 31, every year. Please direct nominations, as well as your questions, to Botkin Prize Committee chair Anne Pryor (608/266-8106), Folk and Traditional Arts Specialist at the Wisconsin Arts Board. Nominations should include a letter of nomination; a one- or two-page biography or resume of the nominee; three to five letters of support from a broad range of people, including community members who have benefited from the nominee's work and people from outside the folklore field in addition to colleagues. Letters should specifically address the review criteria listed above and should explain how the nominee has taken folklore to a broad public audience.
All nomination letters and support material must be submitted in electronic format so they can be distributed easily and quickly to the committee members. Nominations remain active for three years. Previous nominators should contact Pryor to ensure that their nominations are still in the pool, to arrange to send electronic versions of materials previously sent in hard copy, and to inquire about adding new or updated materials to those nominations.

Elli Köngäs-Maranda Award

Each year, the Women's Section of the American Folklore Society awards two prizes in honor of pioneering scholar Elli Köngäs-Maranda. The prizes recognize superior work on women's traditional, vernacular, or local culture and/or feminist theory and folklore.
Student Prize for an undergraduate or graduate student paper (up to 30 pages in length) · entrants must either be currently enrolled in a degree program as of the submission deadline or have been enrolled in one during the previous academic year.

  • carries an award of $100
  • submission deadline is September 15, of each year
  • may be submitted as either hard copy or (preferably) email attachment

Professional/Non-Student Prize

  • eligible work includes: publications, films, videos, exhibitions or exhibition catalogues, or sound recordings
  • materials should have been published/produced no more than two years prior to the submission deadline
  • carries an award of $250
  • submission deadline (postmarked) is September 1, 2010
  • please submit three copies of books, videos, etc.

    The awards will be announced at the American Folklore Society Annual Meeting. Prize recipients need
    not be members of the Society.

    Please direct all submissions and questions to:

    Yvonne J Milspaw
    618 West High Street
    Hummelstown, PA 17036 or
    717 - 566 - 4867

    About Elli Köngäs-Maranda
    Internationally renowned feminist folklorist Elli Kaija Köngäs-Maranda was born in Finland in 1932. She studied Finnish folklore at the University of Helsinki and did her doctoral dissertation at Indiana University (1963) on Finnish-American folklore. She held various research positions, and taught at the University of British Columbia (1970-1976) and at Laval University from 1976 until her premature death
    in 1982. She was elected a Fellow of the American Folklore Society in 1978. Academically, she was known for her structural analysis of traditional culture, demonstrating precision and mathematical intellect,
    but also for her eloquent writing. She published extensively and in
    English, French, Finnish, German, and Russian. Her feminism was
    particularly evident in her research and writing on the Lau people,
    based on fieldwork conducted between 1966 and 1976. In 1983, the
    American Folklore Society Women's section inaugurated two prizes in her
    memory, one for student work and one for professional work, funded by
    highly successful auctions, T-shirt sales, the making and raffling of a
    quilt, and, most recently, the sale of note cards commemorating that

    Barbro Klein's obituary gives the most personal feminist view of Elli
    (see Folklore Women's Communication, fall-winter 1983 (30-31):4-7). For
    an example of Elli's work, see “The Roots of the Two Ethnologies, and
    Ethnilogy.” Folklore Forum 15 #1 (1982):51-58, at
    ). See also Felix J. Oinas, “Elli Kaija Köngäs Maranda: In Memoriam.”
    Folklore Forum 15 #2 (1982):115-123, at
    ( ). A full bibliography of her work in
    French and English (as well as several example studies, a longer
    biography, and an introduction to her contributions to folkloristics) is
    in Travaux et Inédits de Elli Kaija Köngäs Maranda, Cahiers du CELAT 1,
    1983. A later consideration of Elli's intellectual contributions,
    particularly her unusual uniting of fieldwork and structural analysis,
    can be found in Leila K. Virtanen, “Folklorist Elli Kaija Köngäs
    Maranda: A Passionate Rationalist in the Field.” The Folklore Historian
    17 (2000):34-41.

    Yvonne J. Milspaw, Ph.D.
    Professor of English and Humanities
    Director, Honors Program
    Harrisburg Area Community College
    Harrisburg, PA 17110