The Pennsylvania Folklife Society Collection came to Ursinus in 1968. It was assembled by Dr. Alfred L. Shoemaker, a professor at Franklin and Marshall College. During the late 1940s and 50s, Dr. Shoemaker traveled around the Pennsylvania Dutch country, talking to the people and documenting their stories and culture. He wrote a newspaper column and made regular presentations on local radio whereby he encouraged people to send him stories, poems and recollections of the Pennsylvania Dutch way of life.
The letters he received, plus notes on conversations, newspaper and magazine articles, and term papers from his students, became the basis for his massive file system which consists of two parts: a structured letter file and 80,000 cards which provide brief information and serve as a cross index to the letter file.
Also included in the Folklife collection are manuscript account books, an almanac collection, dialect newspaper columns, photographs of Pennsylvania German life and the development of the Kutztown Folk Festival.
For further information please contact the Ursinus College Library Special Collections department.