Accepted Paper:

Collecting folklore at home  


Rita Grīnvalde (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art, University of Latvia)

Paper short abstract:

One’s domiciliary environment may serve well for collecting folklore. What have been folklorists’ advantages and challenges doing fieldwork at home and recording their relatives’ folklore repertoire? The historical study is based on the materials of the Archives of Latvian Folklore, ILFA, UL.

Paper long abstract:

Recording the folklore repertoire of the closest family members may be challenging, still, it may be a great success as well. Since early 1920s up to these days, not all but quite a number of Latvian folklorists have been fascinated by their own childhood homes as the places for collecting folklore. Repeatedly, they have done fieldwork in the familiar domiciliary environments assigning their parents and other relatives the roles of folklore narrators. The paper seeks to analyze the history of shaping those collections as well as reflections and attitudes folklorists themselves have had towards collecting folklore at home.

In the paper, a special attention will be paid to Anna Bērzkalne's (1891-1956) manuscript, LFK [49]. A considerable amount of folklore texts she recorded and included into her collection at the Archives of Latvian Folklore were brought to Riga from her parents' home in Vidzeme, "Čiglas". With romantic pathos, Anna Bērzkalne, the founder of the Archives, considered "Čiglas" a paradise-like area for folklore collecting. Bērzkalne's main storyteller and singer of folksongs was her mother Ede Bērzkalne (1862-1951). The folklorist not only recorded fully her repertoire but also carried out a comparative study of her mother's songs and the fundamental publication of Latvian folksongs, "Latvju dainas" (1894-1956, Vol. 1-6).

The research is based on the materials of the Archives of Latvian Folklore, ILFA, UL.

Panel Arch03
Dwelling in the cultural archives II: policies and archive practices