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Record Group Number: 000158
Series/Collection Number: .S 1629
Creator: Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs. Florida Folklife Archive
Title, Dates: Ralph Steele Boggs collection, 1935-1941, 1982, 1986.
Amount: 0.25 cubic ft.
Medium Included:
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."

    Ralph Steele Boggs was born in 1901 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was educated at the University of Chicago and taught Spanish and folklore for twenty years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at UNC, he established a curriculum which became the first graduate program in folklore in the United States. He joined the faculty of the University of Miami in 1950, teaching Spanish and folklore, and serving as director of the University's International Center. He was an internationally renowned folklorist, wrote several books on Spanish and Latin American folklore and on the Spanish language, and amassed an extensive library of materials on Spanish-American folklore. Boggs retired from the University of Miami in 1967 but continued to be active in folklore scholarship, working as a visiting professor of folklore at several universities. He died in 1994 in Miami.

Summary:     These papers donated to the Florida Folklife Archive by Ralph Steele Boggs primarily concern the folklife and history of the Hispanic American community of Ybor City in Tampa, Florida. The series includes folklife materials that appear to have been collected by employees of the Federal Writers' Project in the 1930s. These materials include folk songs, historical background, and descriptions of family life and culture. Also included in the series is a letter to Boggs, dated 1941, with an attached story in Spanish on the romance of "Ab-El-Hasid y Lindaraja." The collection also includes a copy of a speech given by Boggs in 1982 on the "youth of Ybor City," as well as a summary by Boggs of the development of Spanish speech sounds from classic Latin to modern Spanish. Finally, the series includes a scholarly article on folk music from the perspective of its social conditionings and functions.

Finding Aids: Folder listing available.
Additional Physical Form:
Reproduction Note: Photocopies Some fragile items were photocopied by the Florida State Archives.
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
Associated Materials: The Southern Historical Collection of the Manuscripts Department of the Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill includes the Ralph Steele Boggs Papers.
Language Notes: This series contains items in both Spanish and English.
Ownership/Custodial History: These papers were donated to the Florida Folklife Archive in White Springs by Ralph Steele Boggs (date unknown).
Publication Note:
General Note:
Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields: Folklore Florida
Hispanic Americans Folklore Florida
Folk music Florida
Hispanic Americans Social life and customs Florida
Spanish language Pronunciation
Tampa (Fla.)
Ybor City (Tampa, Fla.)
Added Entries Boggs, Ralph Steele, 1901-
Federal Writers' Project (Fla.)