Profile: Stephen Winick

Library of Congress

Stephen Winick has been the writer and editor at the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center since 2005. He has M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in English from Columbia University.
He is an active scholar, and serves as co-convener of the Music and Song section of the American Folklore Society. A singer with the OCEAN Orchestra and Ship’s Company Chanteymen, he has performed at diverse venues, including the Music Center at Strathmore, the Birchmere, the Lisner Auditorium, The U.S. Navy Memorial, and Mystic Seaport Museum.

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NoteStreams By Stephen Winick

On the Bunny Trail: In Search of the Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny, like Santa Claus, is the bringer of gifts on a popular American holiday. Throughout the country, the swift little creature is said to deliver decorated eggs to children on Easter. In some variants of this story, the bunny is even said to lay eggs, presenting a challenge to biology teachers everywhere!
So what’s the story on this odd tradition? Let’s take a look.
Note: Some of this research, and an interview with the author, was included in a report on CBS Sunday Morning, which aired Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016.
Library of Congress Blogs

Category: History

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April Fools: The Roots of an International Tradition

Keep a sharp eye on the newspapers and news websites this April 1 and you’ll probably some headlines that look.... suspicious. Read further, and there's a good chance you'll find that some of those stories are simply complete hoaxes. After all, it’s April Fools’ Day.
But where did we get this curious custom of playing pranks on April 1?

Library of Congress Blogs

Category: History

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Paul Brady, Carrie Grover, Bob Dylan, and 'Arthur McBride'

A few years ago, I wrote an article in Folklife Center News about popular recordings inspired by AFC collection items. One of the ones I chose was Paul Brady’s version of an Irish ballad he called “Arthur McBride and the Sergeant” (see thelyrics at this link). In the article I revealed that Brady had based his version on the singing of Mrs. Carrie Grover, of Gorham, Maine, and that AFC has the only known recording of Mrs. Grover singing the song. Given recent developments, I think it’s time to expand my research and comments on “Arthur McBride,” [1] and to present Mrs. Grover’s recording to our readers.

Category: Biography

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Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne”

As the Old Year turns to the New Year, thousands of people around the world will sing along to “Auld Lang Syne,” a Scottish song that has come to be firmly associated with New Year’s celebrations. The song has a fascinating history, and we’re lucky at the Library of Congress to have several unique items relating to this global favorite, including what just may be Burns’s original, and very unusual, words to the song.

Category: Music

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Rhetoric and the Lomax Archive

The following post was written by Jonathan Stone, Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Utah.
I write on occasion of a recent publication that may be of interest to readers of Folklife Today. We are still in the middle of the Lomax Centennial year and the article “Listening to the Sonic Archive: Rhetoric, Representation, and Race in the Lomax Prison Recordings” appeared in Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture a few weeks ago. The article offers a fresh historical accounting of John A. and Alan Lomax’s journeys through Southern prisons in the early 1930s as well as in-depth rhetorical analysis of eight songs, seven of which were field recordings made during that trip.

Category: History

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