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Record Group Number: 000158
Series/Collection Number: .S 1714
Creator: Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs. Florida Folklife Archive
Title, Dates: St. Johns River Basin Survey records, 1982-1985.
Amount: 2.75 cubic ft. (including 73 audio cassettes and 39 reel-to-reel tapes)
Medium Included: audiotapes
Organization/Arrangement: Files are arranged by type or topic of record (e.g. informant information sheets, tape logs); cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes are organized by format, then chronological by date recorded.
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."

    In winter 1985, the Bureau contracted with two folklorists to conduct a folk arts survey of the St. Johns River basin in northeastern Florida.  The St. Johns River is the largest and most used river in Florida, supporting much river commerce as well as a modest amount of commercial fishing.  Folklorists Mary Anne McDonald and Kathleen Figgen conducted the survey from January through March 1985 under the direction of Folklife Coordinator Blanton Owen and Bureau Chief Ormond Loomis.  Documentation compiled in the survey was used to prepare and present the "St. Johns River Basin Folklife Area" at the 1985 Florida Folk Festival.

    McDonald focused particularly on the long tradition of commercial fishing along the St. Johns River, and Figgen on the relatively recent presence of Mexicans and Mexican Americans who formed a significant portion of the labor force for the fern industry in and around Seville ("Little Mexico") in the heart of the "fern belt" in Central Florida. They also surveyed African- American, Anglo-American, Minorcan, and other cultural traditions in the region.

Summary:     This series consists of files and audio tapes generated by fieldwork undertaken to document the folklife of the communities surrounding Florida's St. Johns River.  Commercial fishing traditions and the Mexican-American and African-American communities received significant attention in the survey.  The series includes informant information sheets providing name and location of informants and their area(s) of knowledge or skills; fieldnotes providing additional information on informants or on subjects discussed by them; and tape logs listing and describing each performance or subject of discussion on audio tapes of informant interviews, performances, or events.

    Among subjects discussed in the records are the dance, music, religion, and foodways of Mexican Americans; music and religion of African Americans; and life and culture among these and other populations along the river, including fern growning; fishing, netting, and trapping; music, including bluegrass, old time gospel, quartet-style gospel, white gospel, country gospel, bluegrass gospel, and blues; crafts and skills such as woodworking, quilting, and boatmaking; cattle ranching; and religion and revivalism.

    Among the communities surveyed are Astor, Barberville, Bostwick, Crescent City, De Land, De Leon Springs, Georgetown, Green Cove Springs, Hastings, Hermits Cove, Lake Como, Melrose, Middleburg, Orange Springs, Orangedale, Palatka, Pierson, Pomona Park, Saint Augustine, San Mateo, Seville, Switzerland, and Welaka.

    The vast bulk of the series dates from January through March 1985, but a few items filed with the series for reference purposes date from 1982 through 1984.

Finding Aids: Searchable index to sound recordings available online at #
Folder listing available. 0
Additional Physical Form:
Reproduction Note:
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
Associated Materials:
Language Notes: Some audio tapes are in Spanish.
Ownership/Custodial History:
Publication Note:
General Note:
Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields: African American churches Florida.
African Americans Florida.
African Americans Folklore. Florida
Folk art Florida
Folk artists Florida
Folk dance music Florida
Folk music groups Florida
Folk music Florida
Folk singers Florida
Folk songs Florida
Gospel music Florida
Bluegrass music Florida
Blues (Music) Florida
Hispanic Americans Folklore Florida
Hispanic Americans Social life and customs Florida
Boatbuilding Florida
Fishing Florida
Fishing nets
Ranches Florida
Cattle Florida
Wood-carvers Florida
Woodworkers Florida
Revivals Florida
Mexican Americans Folklore Florida
Mexican Americans Social life and customs Florida
Folk festivals Florida
Machine-readable artifacts. aat
Audio cassettes. aat
Audio tapes. aat
Sound recordings. aat
Field notes. aat
St. Johns River (Fla.)
Florida Religion
Astor (Fla.)
Barberville (Fla.)
Bostwick (Fla.)
Crescent City (Fla.)
De Land (Fla.)
De Leon Springs (Fla.)
Georgetown (Fla.)
Green Cove Springs (Fla.)
Hastings (Fla.)
Hermits Cove (Fla.)
Lake Como (Fla.)
Melrose (Fla.)
Middleburg (Fla.)
Orangedale (Fla.)
Palatka (Fla.)
Pierson (Fla.)
Pomona Park (Fla.)
Saint Augustine (Fla.)
San Mateo (Fla.)
Seville (Fla.)
Switzerland (Fla.)
Welaka (Fla.)
Orange Springs (Fla.)
Florida Folk Festival
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