American Folklore Society

The American Folklore Society (AFS) serves the field of folklore studies, comprised of people and institutions that study and communicate knowledge about folklore throughout the world. Members of three groups made common cause by creating the AFS in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1888: scholars in then-developing humanities departments at colleges and universities, museum anthropologists, and private citizens with an interest in the subject. Today, the Society produces publications, meetings, and both print and web resources to support our members’ work to study, understand, and communicate about folklore, and to help them build professional and social networks inside and outside our field.

 Société Internationale d´Ethnologie et de Folklore

SIEF is an international organization that facilitates and stimulates cooperation among scholars working within European Ethnology, Folklore Studies, Cultural Anthropology and adjoining fields.

The International Society for Folk Narrative Research

The International Society for Folk Narrative Research is a scholarly and professional organization of international specialists in the areas of folk narrative, popular literature, folklore, and related fields. According to its statutes, the Society’s main goal is “to develop scholarly work in the field of folk narrative research and to stimulate contacts and the exchange of views among its members.” Acknowledging developments in the field, this goal has broadened in recent years to covering all aspects of narrative as representing the pivotal category of human communication.

International Society for Contemporary Legend Research

The International Society for Contemporary Legend Research (ISCLR) encourages study of so-called “modern” and “urban” legends, and also of any legend that circulates actively. Members are especially concerned with ways in which legends merge with life: real-life analogs to legend plots, social crusades that use legends or legend-like horror stories, and search for evidence behind claims of alien abductions and mystery cats.


Folk Art PA

Folk Art PA is a program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts that sustains folk and traditional arts across the commonwealth through services-to-the-field, a statewide Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program, and the Folk Arts Infrastructure partnership, a system of seven independent regional organizations working together to support Pennsylvania folk arts.

Middle Atlantic Folklife Association

The Middle Atlantic Folklife Association (MAFA) is a professional association supporting folklorists and others concerned with traditional folk culture in the mid-Atlantic region. It serves Virginia, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Susquehanna Folk Music Society

The Susquehanna Folk Music Society, based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is a nonprofit education and arts organization dedicated to the advancement, promotion and preservation of traditional, contemporary and international folk music and folk culture.

The Philadelphia Folklore Project

Established in 1987, the PFP is an independent public folklife agency that documents, supports, and presents Philadelphia-area folk arts and culture – including the arts of people who have been here generations and those who have just arrived. The PFP works to preserve and strengthen the folk cultural life of our communities through enhancing the persistence, diversity and vitality of our vernacular folk cultures.

Folklore Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania

An organization promoting traditional music, dance, and storytelling in Northeastern Pennsylvania


American Folklife Center’s Pennsylvania Folklore Guide

Pennsylvania’s folk traditions are both historically and culturally rich. As noted in its 1991 legislation by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, “the Commonwealth has historically served as a homeland for people from nations of the world seeking a new life in freedom and dignity” (1991: House Bill 1103). The American Folklife Center’s collections include material that documents a diversity of folk traditions, including recordings of occupational folklore of anthracite and bituminous miners and river boat raftsmen; Irish music; fiddle and string band music; and ethnic, religious, and musical traditions of Pennsylvania German, Lithuanian, Yiddish/Jewish, Slavonic, and Bulgarian communities.

Library of Congress Online Collection of Pennsylvania Folklore

This online collection of primary materials pertains to folklore and folklife in Pennsylvania.

Records of the Pennsylvania Folklore Society (held at Ursinus College Library)

The origins of the Pennsylvania Folklife Society Collection lay in the work of Alfred L. Shoemaker, J. William Frey, and Don Yoder, who in 1949 established the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center, affiliated with Franklin & Marshall College, to study and preserve the folk culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Later, the name of the center was changed to the Pennsylvania Folklife Society to underscore the group’s interests in all aspects of folk culture (not just folklore), including cooking, folksong, religion, furniture, and language. The society founded the Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Festival at Kutztown in Berks County, the first of its kind in the nation and a model for many others. The society established the magazine Pennsylvania Folklife which was published through the mid-1990s.

University of Pennsylvania Folklore and Folklife Collection

Penn had for several decades the world’s premier department in the field and the depth of the library collection reflected that status. Now that folklore is only a program the collection is more basic, supports other fields and is strongest in reference works. The larger collection focused on primary source materials such as texts and tools providing access to them.

Free Library of Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania German Fraktur and Manuscripts Collection

The Free Library of Philadelphia is home to one of the largest public collections of fraktur, highlighting a wide range of fraktur styles and artistic skills and showing how the designs changed over time. Items include some of the earliest fraktur made in America and several examples of the tools that fraktur artists used.

Penn State’s Folklore and Folklife Research Guide

This guide is not specific to research on Pennsylvania folklore, but does provide a general overview of folklore research resources.