American Folklore Society Papers

The American Folklore Society (AFS) is a scholarly association that exists to further the discipline of folklore studies. The society was founded in Boston in 1888 by such luminaries as Francis James Child, William Wells Newell, Daniel Garrison Brinton, and Franz Boas, with its principal emphasis directed toward the publication of a scientific journal and the convening of an annual meeting.
Generations of scholarly theories and approaches are reflected in the society’s publications, including the Journal of American Folklore (JAF), which has been published quarterly since 1888. It includes articles, notes, and commentaries, reviews of publications, films and videotapes, audio recordings, and exhibitions and events, and obituaries. The society has also published bimonthly newsletter since 1971. This publication carries official news and reports of the society’s business, as well as a wide range of information relevant to the field generally. Regular features include listings of academic meetings, publication news, job notices, grant announcements, a cooperation column, prizes, and information on electronic media. Since 2009 these functions have been carried out by the AFS Review, an electronic newsletter distributed via email and hosted on the AFS website.
The society’s annual meeting takes place in October in cities throughout the continental United States and occasionally Canada. The five-day gathering offers panels, forums and workshops, film and video screenings, book exhibitions, special events, and tours of folklorist interest. The society offers several prizes to honor outstanding work in African American folklore studies, public folklore, and Francophone folklore studies.
Additionally, sections of the AFS, which are interest groups of society members, offer separate prizes. In 1995, there were approximately thirty such sections, addressing folklore genres (such as dance, folk arts, folk belief, folk narrative, foodways, and music), folklore of particular folk groups (such as African, American Indian, Baltic, British, Catholic, children, gay and lesbian, Italian, Jewish, Latino, occupational, and women), and professional issues (such as computer applications, graduate students, journals, social justice, and public programs). Sections meet at the annual meeting. Many of them sponsor sessions, offer prizes, and issue newsletters or journals of their own.
AFS is governed by an executive board composed of nine members plus the president and the president-elect, as set forth in the society’s by-laws. An executive secretary-treasurer is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the society’s business. The society’s papers and records are archived at Utah State University’s Special Collections & Archives (USU SCA). As records become inactive, AFS will transfer them to USU SCA. These materials are then indexed and made available for research. Included in the collection are correspondence, memorandums, financial records, membership records, meeting agendas, conferences, notes, questionnaires, surveys, election records, by-laws, applications, grants, committee records, and affiliate records. With the increased use of electronic communication at the turn of the 21st century, many of these records have transitioned from paper-based to born-digital. USU SCA continues to host the paper materials in onsite archival storage while this digital collection serves as the access point for born-digital materials.