January 16, 2017

East Carolina University’s Folklore Archive

East Carolina University Folklore Archive (ECUFA) is a university-based regional folklife collection. Established in 1968 with the institution of a course in American folklore in the English Department, ECUFA now holds approximately 8,000 manuscript collections of field documentation in addition to approximately 75,000 separately recorded items of primarily verbal lore. Hundreds of video and audiotapes, photographs, and other documentary forms accompany the manuscript collections. The range of folklife subjects is wide, with depth in folk medicine and material culture as well as verbal lore. Nearly all of North Carolina’s counties are represented, as well as many other states and several foreign countries.

The special character of ECUFA is that it almost entirely comprises supervised student fieldwork done primarily with family members or in home communities or with groups of personal reference. ECUFA collections are significant for the intimacy with which the lives of resource persons were addressed and documented by kin and community college students. The collection represents cultural documentation reaching back to the beginning of the 20th century.

Since 1978, ECUFA has served as a platform for educational outreach. The archive has produced a survey of folklife and folk arts in the immediate area of the university; published a book based on that survey and additional fieldwork; mounted a festival featuring 60 tradition-bears and artists from the area; compiled numerous subject lists of its holdings; published an annotated list of holdings for eastern North Carolina counties and an online resource, Cultural Eye, for folklife forms in eastern North Carolina.