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Record Group Number: 000158
Series/Collection Number: .S 1580
Creator: Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs. Florida Folklife Archive
Title, Dates: Thelma Ann Boltin folklife papers, 1955-1967.
Amount: 1.30 cubic ft.
Medium Included: photographs
Organization/Arrangement: Alphabetical by subject, then chronological.
Terms Governing Use:
Biographical/Historical:     Legislation in 1979 (79-322, SB 1208) transferred the Florida Folk Arts component of the Stephen Foster Memorial to the Florida Department of State. Operating as the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs from ca. 1985 until 1995, the Bureau coordinated the annual Florida Folk Festival and directed such programs as Folk Arts Apprenticeships, Folk Arts in Education, Folk Heritage awards, annual research surveys, and numerous other projects and programs. From 1995 through June 30, 2021, the renamed and reorganized Florida Folklife Program continued the majority of these operations from within the Division of Historical Resources, Bureau of Historic Preservation in Tallahassee. During the 1995 reorganization, the State Archives of Florida acquired the Florida Folklife Collection from the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs' previously maintained Florida Folklife Archives. Legislation in 2021 (2021-71, L. O. F., HB 909) transferred the Florida Folklife Program and its operations from the Division of Historical Resources to the newly renamed Division of Arts and Culture, previously the Division of Cultural Resources, effective July 1, 2021. The program is charged to "identify, research, interpret, and present Florida folk arts, artists, performers, folklore, traditions, customs, and cultural heritage and make folk cultural resources and folklife projects available throughout the state."

    Thelma Ann Boltin (1904-1992), affectionately known as "Cousin Thelma," was actively involved in the field of folklore for over 50 years. She was born in Beaufort, South Carolina in 1904, and moved with her family to Gainesville in 1907. She graduated from Emerson College in 1928, returning to Gainesville in the 1930s to teach and direct student plays at Gainesville High School. She was the first certified full-time speech teacher in Florida for Florida Public Schools. She was actively involved with the Gainesville Little Theatre and the University of Florida Players. The Thelma Boltin Center is a recognized Florida Heritage Site in Gainesville, Florida.

    She was recognized for her decades of passion and dedication to the annual Florida Folk Festival, helping plan, organize, and participate in the festivals beginning with her work in 1952 for the very first festival. In 1955, she was appointed special events director at the Stephen Foster Memorial park, a position she proudly held for two decades. She became known as the "Queen of Florida Folklore", a human institution among the ranks of Floridians dedicated to preserving and collecting folkways in the state. She served as chairman of folk music for the Florida and National Federation of Music Clubs and was the recipient of a national award from the American Association for State and Local History for "contributions to preservation and popularization of Florida folkways, folklore, and folk music."

Summary:     This series consists mainly of forms, pamphlets, lists, programs, correspondence, publications, credentials, reports, questionnaires, clippings, and instructional material that pertain to Thelma Ann Boltin's involvement in the Florida Folk Festival and the Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center in White Springs, the Florida Federation of Music Clubs, and the National Federation of Music Clubs. The information focuses on the development and enrichment of folk music at the state and national levels, and includes coverage of annual conventions, folk festivals, and Jeannie competitions, as well as bi-annual board meetings.

    Also included in this series are collections of superstitions, folk tales and children's rhymes; photos of Thelma Boltin and others at the Florida Folk Festival and other locations; radio scripts from a series recorded at the Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center between late 1963 and 1964; preliminary sketches of dresses; various songbooks; and a scrapbook of clippings, photos, and other miscellaneous items.

Finding Aids: Searchable index to images available online at #
Folder listing available. 0
Additional Physical Form:
Reproduction Note:
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
Associated Materials:
Language Notes:
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Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields: Muir, Clifton J., Mrs.
Boltin, Thelma Ann, 1904-1992
Florida Federation of Music Clubs
National Federation of Music Clubs
Florida. Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center.
Performing arts Florida
Women History 20th century Florida
Folk music Florida
Folk festivals Florida
Folklore Florida
Folklore Performance Florida
Folk songs Florida
Folk singers Florida
Folk literature Florida
Folklore and education Florida
Music Societies, etc
Children Folklore Florida
Photographs. aat
Radio scripts. aat
Songbooks. aat
Preliminary sketches. aat
Scrapbooks. aat
Florida Social life and customs
Florida Songs and music
Florida Folk Festival
Added Entries Boltin, Thelma Ann, 1904-1992
Florida Folklife Program
Florida. Dept. of State.  --Division of Historical Resources.