Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Join AFS
History and Folklore Section

American Folklore Society meeting illustrated in the Baltimore American, December 29, 1897


The History and Folklore section of the American Folklore Society is devoted to historical approaches to the study of folklore and the history of folklore studies. The interests of the section include topics of historical folk narratives, folk biography, museology, oral history, local and regional history, material culture, public heritage, and historiography.


The convener of this section is Simon J. BronnerDean, College of General Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1500 North University Drive, Waukesha, WI 53186.

Contact the section convener at


The section sponsors a print journal, The Folklore Historian (ISSN 1041-8644, GR1.F34), published annually since 1983. Articles appearing in the journal are indexed in Historical Abstracts and MLA International Bibliography. Back issues are available online through the HathiTrust Digital Library.

Submit manuscripts electronically in Word to Jill Terry Rudy, Editor, The Folklore Historian; Department of English, Brigham Young University, Provo UT 84602; 801/422-2869


The Richard Reuss Prize for Students of Folklore and History, a biennial award honoring Richard Reuss (1940-1986), founding editor of The Folklore Historian and a leading chronicler of folklore studies. The prize of $100 will be awarded to a student paper on a subject dealing with historical approaches to the study of folklore or the history of folklore studies and not submitted for publication. The winner of the prize will have his or her paper submitted for publication in The Folklore Historian. Submissions should be made electronically in Word and sent to award competition is announced in odd-numbered years with a deadline of June 1.

How to apply: see the AFS Review for the most recent information. Contact the section conveners with questions.


  • The 2017 recipient of the Reuss Prize was Mary Sellers (The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg) for her essay, "A Revolutionary, Urban Legend: Charlotte Temple."
  • The 2009 recipient of the Reuss Prize was Trevor Blank (The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg) for his essay "The History of the Hoosier Folklore Society, 1937-2007” (see Folklore Historian 25, pp. 23-44).
  • The 2007 recipient of the Reuss Prize was Sarah Lash (Indiana University, Bloomington) for her essay "Tilting the Ivory Tower: The Life, Works, and Legacy of Gershon Legman.” Honorable mention went to Jeana Jorgensen (Indiana University, Bloomington) for her essay, "Why We Need Another feminist Folklore Retrospective: Political and Theoretical Feminisms in Folkloristics.”

The Wayland D. Hand Prize, given for the best book combining historical and folkloristic methods and materials. The biennial prize honors the eminent folklorist Wayland D. Hand (1907-1986). The winner of the Prize will receive $200 and be recognized at the annual meeting of the American Folklore Society and in an announcement published in the journal Folklore Historian. Organizations and publishers should submit three copies for the judges. The award competition is announced in even numbered years with a deadline of June 1.

A work offered for consideration can be an authored book, edited volume or reference work, or exhibition catalog in ebook or print formats. Submissions can be from authors or publishers. Submit three copies of the bound book or a single PDF file of the ebook for judges BEFORE June 1 to Professor Simon J. Bronner, American Studies Program, Penn State Harrisburg, 777 West Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA 17057 USA (

***For the 2020 submissions of the Wayland D. Hand Prize, the deadline of June 1 remains but in consideration of limitations on staff members of presses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the History and Folklore Section have made an exception this year to allow for submission of electronic copies of books for judges.  For more information, contact Simon J. Bronner at

  • The 2018 prize was awarded to Margarita Marín-Dale, Decoding Andean Mythology (Salt Lake City: University  of Utah Press, 2016) and Stacy I. Morgan, Frankie and Johnny:Race, Gender, and the Work of African American Folklore in 1930s America (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2017).
  • The 2016 prize was awarded to Daisy Turner's Kin: An African American Family Saga by Jane C. Beck (University of Illinois Press). Honorable Mentions went to City of Neighborhoods: Memory, Folklore, and Ethnic Place in Boston by Anthony Bak Buccitelli (University of Wisconsin Press), Folksongs of Another America: Field Recordings from the Upper Midwest, 1937-1946 by James P. Leary (University of Wisconsin Press and Dust-to-Digital), and The Amazing Crawfish Boat by John Laudun (University Press of Mississippi).
  • The 2012 prize was split between The Irresistible Fairy Tale: The Cultural and Social History of a Genre by Jack Zipes (Princeton University Press) and A Lark for the Sake of Their Country: The 1926 General Strike Volunteers in Folklore and Memory by Rachelle H. Saltzman (Manchester University Press).
  • The 2010 prize was split between Out of the Northwoods: The Many Lives of Paul Bunyan by Michael Edmonds (Wisconsin Historical Society Press) and Linthead Stomp: The Creation of Country Music in the Piedmont South by Patrick Huber (University of North Carolina Press).
  • The 2008 recipient of the Hand Prize was Guy Beiner, for Remembering the Year of the French: Irish Folk History and Social Memory (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006). Honorable mention went to Simon J. Bronner (ed.) for The Meaning of Folklore: The Analytical Essays of Alan Dundes (Utah State University Press, 2007).
  • The Hand Prize for 2006 was awarded to Wolfgang Mieder of the University of Vermont for his Proverbs are the Best Policy: Folk Wisdom and American Politics(Utah State University Press, 2005). An honorable mention was awarded to Folklore in Utah: A History and Guide to Resources, edited by David Stanley of Westminster College in Utah (Utah State University Press, 2004).


Section members meet annually at the American Folklore Society conference. The section also sponsors panels and forums at the annual meeting. The section is a co-sponsor with the Fellows of the American Folklore Society of the Francis Lee Utley Memorial Lecture at the meeting. For information, contact section convener Simon J. Bronner.

History of Folklore Studies in the US

In 1988, on the occasion of its Centennial observance, the AFS commissioned William M. Clements of Arkansas State University to edit a volume of essays on the history of our field during the previous century.

His 100 Years of American Folklore Studies: A Conceptual History provides a clear and concise history of the field of folklore in this country from the mid-1800s to the late 20th century. This 82-page book contains 19 brief essays, most focusing on changing concepts of "folklore," the "folk," and "folklorists."

Related Websites of Interest


Organization of American Historians
Harvard's Folklore and Mythology Homepage
American Folklife Center (Library of Congress)
Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (Smithsonian Institution)
Joel Chandler Harris Homepage
George Washington Cable and Mark Twain Homepage
Hoosier Folklore Society

Click here to join this American Folklore Society interest-group section.

Already a member? Click here  to visit the member-only group.

Click here to pay section dues ($15 regular$10 student). Only dues-paying members of the section receive The Folklore Historian.

Career Center
|Open Forums
|Online Store
|Member Search
|Privacy Policy
|Press Room

American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
Classroom-Office Building, Indiana University, 800 East Third Street, Bloomington IN 47405 USA

Headquartered on the campus of Indiana University-Bloomington, AFS appreciates the generous support of the IU College of Arts and Sciences.

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal