The archives at the Pennsylvania Center for Folklore manages more than ten distinct collections that include documents, photographs, sound and video recordings, and material objects, mainly pertaining to the folklore, folklife, and history of Pennsylvania. Some of these collections can be accessed on-site, while others are housed in different locations. Our core collections include:
The Pennsylvania Folk Arts Collection
A significant collection of written materials, audio/video media, slides, prints, computer files, and material objects that document traditional arts surveys, folk arts apprenticeships, and folklore exhibitions managed by the Pennsylvania Heritage Affairs Commission (1983-1995), the Institute for Cultural Partnerships (1995-2010), and Jump Street Harrisburg.
The Archive of Pennsylvania Folklore and Ethnography
Several thousand manuscripts, recordings, and photographs documenting field-collected folk traditions and cultural behavior; arranged by project and genre and cross-referenced for location, ethnicity, religion, tradition-bearer, and occupation.
Manuscripts, documents, recordings, and photographs on central Pennsylvania folklore, local history, folk art, and architecture compiled by Dr. Mac Barrick (1933-1991), professor at Shippensburg University and other colleges, and author of German-American Folklore. Includes indexes for folk proverbs, beliefs, narratives, and speech.
Sue Samuelson Papers
Research and field notes of Dr. Sue Samuelson (1956-1991)—professor at Penn State Harrisburg, University of California-Berkeley, and Rutgers—relating to Pennsylvania foodways and festivals.
John Yetter Collection of Steelton Historical Material
Over 2,000 photographs and hundreds of publications on Steelton, Pennsylvania, an ethnic-industrial community in Dauphin County known for the first mill in the United States built expressly for the manufacture of steel. Compiled by John Yetter, Steelton resident, and author of Steelton, Pennsylvania: Stop, Look, Listen.
Edna Silberman Holocaust Oral History Project of the Greater Harrisburg Jewish Community
This collection consists of audio and video recordings of interviews with Holocaust survivors in the Harrisburg Jewish community. While copies of many of the video recordings are available in the Penn State Harrisburg Archives’ Center for Holocaust and Jewish Studies Collection or online through the United States Holocaust Museum (with additional materials here and a collection description here), the PACF maintains DVD copies of the video interviews as well as original audio tapes, transcripts, and other materials related to this project.
Folklore Book and Journal Collection
The PACF has also maintains a small collection of books and journals useful to folklore students and scholars. These titles are available for use in the Center, but are not available for loan.
Records of the Penn State Folklore Studies Program (1972-1986)
These records are not controlled by the PACF, but are held by the Eberly Family Special Collections Library at University Park. More information for accessing them is available here.
The Center Archives are open to the public at the following times:
DUE TO THE ONGOING COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THE CENTER IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. THE PHONE WILL NOT BE REGULARLY STAFFED, BUT RESEARCH ASSISTANCE IS STILL AVAILABLE BY EMAILING:
For driving directions, click on the Church Hall pin in the interactive map below to view in Google Maps.