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The Historic Roots of American Folklife

Folklife in America is essentially a condition of the past; even where it still exists it belongs to the past. Documenting and recording and collecting the artifacts of folklife where it survives today are therefore of prime importance to the cultural and social historian. In the traditional patterns of daily existence and the sounds, forms, and techniques of folklife are the ingredients to help us understand better the origins of our own culture. Yet, in a world from which it is already possible to escape into space and return alive, where today's events occurring on one side of the earth can be seen in the remotest parts of the other half,

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