Art of the Hunt: Hunting & Fishing Folklore

Art of the Hunt: Hunting & Fishing Folklore


>>Nancy Groce: It’s June
7th 2018 and I’m Nancy Groce. I’d like to welcome
Andrea Graham here to the Library of Congress. Andrea has just given a
wonderful Botkin lecture on the Art of the Hunt
and is a well-known and widely respected folklorist
especially known for her work on the Intermountain West. We’re going to be talking a
bit about your career, Andrea. How you got into folklore
and what you’re doing in some of your projects because
you’ve been involved in many projects over the years. Welcome.>>Andrea Graham: Okay.>>Nancy Groce: Let
me start by– Where are you from originally?>>Andrea Graham: Born in Schenectady New
York upstate New York and lived there till
I was in junior high. Then my family moved to
suburban Philadelphia so I finished high school there. Went to college at
University of Pennsylvania. My parents were always–
We were always travelling. We would always visit things
like local historical societies and historic house museums. We’d have to ride
the steam trains because my dad loves old trains. I grew up interested
in local stuff and then every place
had a story. I think that influenced
my later interests.>>Nancy Groce: You did
folklorist at undergraduate?>>Andrea Graham: No. I was anthropology as an
undergraduate at Penn. I started as a biology
major and I quickly figured out that wasn’t exactly
what I wanted to do. It was more human behavior,
so I switched to anthropology. Then I took an introduction
to folklore class from Barbara
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett when I was probably a
sophomore or a junior. That was it. That opened up all
the possibilities like “This is what I want to do.” It’s everyday life but it’s the
creative parts of everyday life. She talked about
nicknames and jokes. We went on field trips to a
palm reader in Philadelphia. It was just a wonderful class
and she’s a fantastic teacher. That’s why I became
a folklorist. I finished my undergrad
as an anthropology major and then immediately applied
to the folklore program that was at Penn at the time.>>Nancy Groce: What
was it, the leading one in the country in the-?>>Andrea Graham: Yeah.>>Nancy Groce: This
was in the 70s?>>Andrea Graham: Yeah. Undergrad I graduated in ’78. I just had my 40th reunion.>>Nancy Groce: Congratulations.>>Andrea Graham: I didn’t go. Then two more years of
grad school at Penn. I never wanted a PhD. I never wanted to be
a college professor. I wanted to be a
public folklorist. I didn’t even know
that term didn’t exist. It was just getting
started in the mid 70s. I didn’t know there
was such a thing but I knew that’s what
I wanted to do maybe from spending all this
time visiting museums. My mother used to
work in a museum.>>Nancy Groce: Where
did she work?>>Andrea Graham: In
Schenectady Museum. I spent many hours looking
through their exhibits. I had that interest that I
want to learn about this stuff but I wanted to bring
it back to a public. I knew that’s what
I wanted to do.>>Nancy Groce: You were really
among the first generation of public folklorists. The NEA was just setting up state folklorist
programs in the late 70s.>>Andrea Graham: Mid 70s
is when the NEA program, the Library of Congress
program were established.>>Nancy Groce: What was your
first job as a folklorist?>>Andrea Graham: It was working
at the Blue Ridge Institute in Ferrum, Virginia– far rural
southwestern Virginia south of Roanoke. A friend of mine in grad
school had mentioned that she knew the guy
who was the director who had gone to Cooperstown.>>Nancy Groce: Who was that?>>Andrea Graham: Roddy Moore. I just wrote him a letter. This was back when you mailed
letters looking for jobs. I just wrote and
said, “This friend of mine mentioned
your organization. I’m looking for work.” He wrote back and said, “We
don’t have anything right now but we’ve applied for NEA
funding to set up an internship, sort of a training
position for here. We’ll let you know.” He did. He got back to
me in the fall and said, “We’ve got this funding.” He was up visiting family in
New Jersey so we actually met up and did an interview. That was my first job. It was a small regional
folk life program based at a little Methodist college. They did a folk life festival. They did exhibits. I helped them set up an archive. I learned to write
for program books and write press releases
and exhibit text. Everything that I do today
I learned on that job. My education at Penn
was very theoretical. There were no classes
in public folklore. That first job, that
was my training ground. It was a wonderful experience.>>Nancy Groce: How
long were you there?>>Andrea Graham: I was
there for almost two years. They had a farm museum. They had moved in a farm
building so I got to dress up and cook over a pyre. It was very small and
everybody got to do everything. They just threw me in
and said, “Do this.”>>Nancy Groce: Do you remember
your first interview there, first field work?>>Andrea Graham:
I did a project. They let me pick a
little field project. I researched funeral traditions. I’m not sure why I was
interested in that. I had done some gravestone
research earlier in grad school. I interviewed– I don’t even
remember who I interviewed now but I found some
interesting old photographs and poked around in cemeteries.>>Nancy Groce: Then from
Ferrum where did you go next?>>Andrea Graham: Next
was the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee.>>Nancy Groce: You
were involved in that?>>Andrea Graham: I was
involved in the World’s Fair.>>Nancy Groce: I’ve
heard stories. Tell me about that.>>Andrea Graham: There was
this whole folk life festival component of the World’s
Fair which went for 6 months. It was 7 days a week, 10
hours a day of performers and craft demonstrators. I was running the food
demonstration area. We had a working
moonshine still. A bunch of folklorists
worked there. A lot of–>>Nancy Groce: Who else
was down there at the time?>>Andrea Graham:
Blanton Owen was the head. What was his name? Dick Van Kleeck was
sort of the manager. I’m not sure where he is now. Blanton was sort of
the senior folklorist. He did a lot of fieldwork
and scheduling everybody. Drew Beisswenger worked there. I’m trying to remember who else. A lot of folklorists–>>Nancy Groce: Was Peter
Bartis down there at the time?>>Andrea Graham:
I don’t think so. I think maybe Mick Moloney did
some of the original research and planning for the festival. Lots of artists came through. I was going to say something–>>Nancy Groce: That’s
really learning under fire. Six months every day?>>Andrea Graham: Yeah. 6 months every day all day. Mary Hufford is the one who–
She started out working here and she set up the
Foodways program. Then she got the job at
the Library of Congress and she left a month or two in. I was able to step in and do
the Foodways demonstration. We had people cooking possums.>>Nancy Groce: The usual.>>Andrea Graham: Yeah. Fried apple pies and grits. Southern food traditions. Then we had this working
moonshine still that was with some very entertaining
characters who were in charge of it and telling all kinds
of lies to the visitors.>>Nancy Groce: That
was in the early 80s? ’84?>>Andrea Graham: ’82.>>Nancy Groce: ’82? Then– ?>>Andrea Graham: Then we
went without work for a while because the festival ended. I was with–>>Nancy Groce: When
you say ‘we’?>>Andrea Graham: I was with
Blanton Owen at that time.>>Nancy Groce: Were you
married at that point?>>Andrea Graham:
Not at that point. We were married later. We lived in western North
Carolina near his brother. There was a house that
needed house sitters. We had a place to stay
and applied for jobs. Then he got a job in Florida
at the Florida program to start their apprenticeship
program. We moved to White
Springs, Florida. I did some contract work. Then one of the other staff
people had left for a year to go back and get
a Master’s degree so I filled in for her position.>>Nancy Groce: Who was that? Peggy Bulger?>>Andrea Graham: Mary. Peggy was there at the
time and Ormond Loomis->>Nancy Groce: Okay. Peggy Bulger was there?>>Andrea Graham: Peggy Bulger.>>Nancy Groce: Who
was here at the library for many years, of course.>>Andrea Graham: Right. Yeah. Ormond Loomis was the
director of the program. Nancy Nusz was there
when I was there. It was a great group
of folks too.>>Nancy Groce: It remains a
small field but at that time in the early 80s there weren’t that many people doing
public sector folklore. I remember looking at everybody
as sort of an extended family. Do you have those memories too?>>Andrea Graham: Oh, yeah. I got to know people by working, and especially working
in the South. There were a lot of
folklorists there. I got to know a lot
of those folks and Blanton had known a lot
of them too through music. He’d been in the field
longer than I had.>>Nancy Groce: It was
slightly different than say, being a historian where if you
came to someone’s town you sort of expected them to put you up and stop everything
and take you around.>>Andrea Graham: Oh, yeah.>>Nancy Groce: At least I
had a lot of houseguests. You probably had a lot of
houseguests too at that time.>>Andrea Graham: Yeah.>>Nancy Groce: Maybe we
were all just so underpaid that that was the way we got by.>>Andrea Graham: Yeah. These were all short term
contract jobs, some of them. The first five years
was all grants or the World’s Fair
that had an end. That was in the South. The first five years
I worked in the South. Parts of it I miss. The culture is so
rich and the music and just the language
and storytelling. I always really enjoyed that.>>Nancy Groce: When
and how did you get to shift your focus to the West?>>Andrea Graham:
Blanton had interviewed for the Nevada Arts
Council folklorist position. It was a brand new position. It was in 1980. No, ’85.>>Nancy Groce: These were
the state folklorist positions that [inaudible] had–>>Andrea Graham: Right. They had applied–>>Nancy Groce: They
were at the NEA, right?>>Andrea Graham: — applied for
NEA funding to start a position. Partly what helped him get the
position was the first national cowboy poetry gathering which
happened in January 1985. The arts council had just gone
to the legislature saying, “We would like to have
a folklorist position.”>>Nancy Groce: This
was in Elko?>>Andrea Graham: The
arts council was in Reno. The state government
is in Carson City. They had gone to the
legislature and said, “We would like a
folklorist position.” Then the cowboy poetry
gathering happened which got tremendous
national publicity and stories in TIME Magazine. The arts council was able to go
in to the legislature and say, “This is why we need
a folklorist. They’ll do this kind of stuff
and bring attention to Nevada and feature Nevada artists.” That first gathering
really sparked the position. Blanton got the position in the
fall of ’85 as the folklorist for the Nevada Arts Council,
so we moved to Nevada. That was a culture shock. Although me moving from
suburban Philadelphia to Ferrum, Virginia was a pretty
big culture shock too, though I loved it. I grew up in the
suburbs but I’ve always since then gravitated to small
towns and small communities. I just like that better. We lived in this little
town, Virginia City in Nevada even though
the office was in Reno. He started that program. I did some contract work. We did a lot of work together. I ended up writing for the local
weekly newspaper just piecing together work. I had no training
as a journalist but I knew how to
interview people. That was really fun. We got connected with the
Western Folklife Centre, the Cowboy Poetry Gathering. We would go out to that every
year and help with that event.>>Nancy Groce: Who was
running that at the time?>>Andrea Graham: Hal. Hal Cannon who had started it. He was still the
artistic director. I worked in Nevada. Then Blanton and I split
up in about five years. 1990. He took a leave from
the job at the arts council and they hired me as a
replacement because they knew me and I knew the whole
history of the program. Then he ended up just
resigning from that position so I took over that position. 1990 to 2000, 10 years I worked
for the state arts council. It moved from Reno to Carson
City in that time to the capital where it should have
been, where it belonged. It was much easier
to have a presence with other state agencies
and the legislature when we were in the capital.>>Nancy Groce: What kind of field work were
you doing in Nevada?>>Andrea Graham: I did a lot
of work in Las Vegas which was at that point, the early
90s, was just starting to really explode
population wise. People were coming in
from all over the world, all over the country
for jobs, service jobs. There was a tremendous
number of immigrants from South America,
the Philippines. There was an Ethiopian
community. Those communities were
really starting to grow. We did a lot of field work
with those newcomer groups. It was hard because a lot of them hadn’t found
each other yet. It’s a 24 hour town. People are working
different shifts. It was very hard for
people to get together. It was hard to do fieldwork because people hadn’t
made those connections.>>Nancy Groce: Were you doing
work with the casinos at all?>>Andrea Graham: A little bit. We did a little bit of work with
the traditions of the casinos. Like craps dealers have
an incredible language that they talk to each other
so they can communicate without the players
knowing what they’re saying. They have different
kinds of rolls and different kinds of bets. It’s a very rich language. There was actually a craps
dealer who was documenting. He was documenting the
occupational traditions of that field.>>Nancy Groce: I know
some of your fieldwork from that period I
think has just come into the Library of Congress. Is some of this material in our
collection now, do you think?>>Andrea Graham: I think
it was the stuff from ’85 to ’90 is what’s
been sent so far. That was mainly when Blanton
was running the program but I did a lot of
that fieldwork, helped with a lot
of that fieldwork. Yeah, the arts council has been
getting that stuff organized. It’s all slides and black and
white film and cassette tapes.>>Nancy Groce: We’re
delighted to have it here. The material I’ve seen
has been excellent. The archivists love that it’s
coming in in very good shape.>>Andrea Graham: Yeah. Rebecca [inaudible] who works
for the arts council as one of their folklorist
program managers and is really good
at organizing stuff. I think she’s working on
the next batch of stuff. There was a lot of
stuff from Las Vegas. We started a folklife festival down there working
with the city. The county cultural affairs and the state museum
had a branch there and put together a festival to feature these
artists who had come in. A lot of people who lived
there didn’t know about. Didn’t know these
newcomer artists. It kept going for– I’m
not sure it’s still going. We eventually had to pull back because it was just
taking all of our time. We had also started a similar
festival in Reno working with the local arts council. We started in Reno. We were doing two
festivals a year and we couldn’t do
anything else. The idea was that these local
groups would pick it up. The Reno group wasn’t able to. Las Vegas they kept it
going for quite a while. Then we also had an
apprenticeship program. We were working with a lot of Native American
artist do that program. Basket makers. There was a revival of basket
making among the Washoe, Paiute and Western Shawnee
were the three main tribes. They organized a basket makers
group that we helped support that was teaching and really
strengthening that tradition. That was wonderful to see.>>Nancy Groce: That’s
a nice feeling when you feel you’ve helped
sustain something and–>>Andrea Graham: Yeah. It came from them. The impetus came from them. We were just able to support
it, fund it and promote it.>>Nancy Groce: You left the
Nevada Arts Council in 2000?>>Andrea Graham: 2000.>>Nancy Groce: Where
did you go from there?>>Andrea Graham: From there
I went to Pocatello, Idaho. I met another guy
who lived there. We got married and moved there. He had a daughter who lived
there so he couldn’t leave. I was the one who had to move. He had a much better
paying job than I did. He understood I was
going to be freelancing and that was okay with him. I was able to do
quite a bit of work. I just let people know that I
was available for contract work, and especially people
in state arts councils. They’re so busy doing
paperwork and managing grants that they never have time
to go out and do fieldwork. That’s what they
needed help with. Those people they would
have a particular region or a particular topic and
they needed some fieldwork. I did a lot of contract
fieldwork.>>Nancy Groce: Small jobs? Small contract jobs?>>Andrea Graham: Yeah.>>Nancy Groce: For
example what? What were you doing?>>Andrea Graham: One of
them was back in Nevada. A county on the Utah
border, just one county. They hadn’t really done
much work out there and wanted a folklife survey
of who was there in the way of traditional artists. I did that. Then actually the county next
to it, the adjoining county in Utah they had been talking about creating a heritage
area in that region. It was originally
supposed to be bigger and other people backed out. It was these two
counties centered on Great Basin National Park
which is right on the border. The people in Utah knew
that I was working in Nevada and they said, “Would you
come do this same thing here on our side of the line?” We worked through the state
arts council in Utah and got, I think it was the
humanities funding. Then I did a field survey
in that adjoining county. We had the two counties and
made some recommendations on these are the things
that you could promote through a heritage area. It is now the Great
Basin Heritage Area.>>Nancy Groce: Could you just
take a minute and describe when you do a survey, how
do you go about doing it? You’re dropped in the middle of someplace you’ve
never been before. Where do you even start?>>Andrea Graham: Usually
you have a few leads. Maybe somebody, whoever set up
the project knows a few people. You just start with
those people and ask them if they know anybody else who
does these kind of things and–>>Nancy Groce: What kind of things would you be
looking for say in that area?>>Andrea Graham:
Quilters, wood carvers, occupational traditions. I’ve always included that even if it’s working for
an arts council. Cowboy poetry would be. I mean that’s ranching
community. Different occupations. If t has a history of mining
so not really active anymore but people who used to work
in the mining industry. Local museums. I always go to the local museum
because they know people. Sometimes they’ll have
stuff in their collection which is obviously
a homemade something and you say, “Who made that?” I was working in Idaho
in Twin Falls, Idaho. Went into a museum and saw these
little folded paper umbrellas and Japanese lanterns
made out of folded paper. I said, “Who made those?” They said, “This old Japanese
guy who’s lived here all his life.” I got his name and went
and interviewed him about how he made these out
of old place mats that he got from a senior center because
he needed a whole bunch with the same design. Just these folded
paper umbrellas. I found him at a museum. Local museums are
great resources.>>Nancy Groce: Have you heard
the term ‘windscreen survey’?>>Andrea Graham: Yeah. Some of it is just
driving around and looking at the landscape. People make customized
mailboxes. I love those. They look like tractors
or whatever. I’ll take pictures of those. That’s the kind of
windscreen stuff. Or ranch gates. Like I talked about in the talk, who makes those metal
signs on ranch gates? Sometimes you can find out
and talk to that person. Shops. Sometimes local shops
will have local artisans’ work. I found a guy who makes
willow furniture doing this Nevada survey. I think he had some little
baskets or something in a shop. I found out who he was.>>Nancy Groce: It’s sort of
like detective work, yeah?>>Andrea Graham: It is. Everyone you talk to you
ask, “Do you know anyone else who makes things or
sings songs or whatever?” Cowboy gear makers, sometimes
they’re harder to find because they just make gear for
their friends unless you happen to talk to somebody
who knows them. Local architecture. If there’s a distinct building
style, especially on ranches.>>Nancy Groce: Like
barns or fencing?>>Andrea Graham:
Farms or fences. There are traditional patterns of the way people will
set up a ranchstead. [Coughs].>>Nancy Groce: You were
at Pocatello till when?>>Andrea Graham: I was there
for nine years, I think. I had been doing some
contract fieldwork in Wyoming for the arts council on
this hunting project. I’d also had a long
term contract with the South Dakota Arts
Council managing their state folk arts program. They only have three
people on their staff. It’s a very small agency
but they got NEA funding for a contract folklorist
position to manage their program. They had an apprenticeship
program. Then I would do various
projects, a lot of exhibits.>>Nancy Groce: You were working in both Wyoming and
South Dakota?>>Andrea Graham: Yeah, as
part time work and I would–>>Nancy Groce: How
much driving did you do?>>Andrea Graham:
My poor little car. I was putting 20,000
miles a year on my–>>Nancy Groce: For field work?>>Andrea Graham: — on my
little car for fieldwork. In 2009 the University of Wyoming American studies
program had established this position basically for
a public folklorist. It’s classified as a
researcher in their system– probably one of their
research public programs. Annie Hatch at the Wyoming
Arts Council had worked with John Dorst in the
American Studies program to set this position up. They’d gotten NEA funding. That job opened up in 2009. I moved to Wyoming. That was only three
quarter time when it started but I still had the
South Dakota contract that had been going every year. I knew with the two of
those jobs together I could support myself. [Laughter]. I moved to Laramie to
this small town in Wyoming where the university is based. It’s the only university
in the state, the only four year university. The American Studies program
had been very supportive. Annie Hatch was there to work
with also at the arts council. We did this big Art
of the Hunt project that was already underway. I’d actually done some
contract fieldwork–>>Nancy Groce: The one that
you just gave a Botkin lecture on today, right?>>Andrea Graham: Right. I had done some fieldwork
already. Then when I came in I knew that
was going to be my big project. It was something that I
knew very little about. I don’t have a hunting
background. It was a real education
but it relates to everything in Wyoming. Hunting is just a part
embedded in the culture. It was a great way to
get to know the state.>>Nancy Groce: What
are you working on now?>>Andrea Graham:
After we finish the Art of the Hunt project->>Nancy Groce: Which was 2014? 2015?>>Andrea Graham:
The exhibit was 2014 and it was up to Labor Day 2015. Then it was over. This had been 6 years
of my life. Annie and I both sat up
and said, “Now what?” We had just been so
focused on that project. I have a lot of flexibility
at the university so I needed to come up with another project. I had noticed driving
around doing a lot of this survey work these
little community buildings, community halls in either
very small towns or sometimes out in the country not
near anything else. Some of them were
obviously still used, some of them looked
like they weren’t. I just got curious about
these community halls. I had seen them a
little bit in Nevada. I’d seen them in western South
Dakota in rural communities. I just got curious. Who built these halls? When were they built? Why? What were they used for? Who are they– ?>>Nancy Groce: How do they
function in the community?>>Andrea Graham: Right. Why are some of them
still used and some of them looks like aren’t? I picked that as my project
and started driving around and finding these buildings
and trying to find someone who would let me in– figuring out who the people
in charge were. A lot of them are
founded by women’s clubs.>>Nancy Groce: Really?>>Andrea Graham: Homemakers
clubs or through extension or just a group of women in a
rural community who got together to meet and visit and have
luncheons and whatever. Then they would decide, “Our
houses are too small for this. We need a place where the
community can get together and meet.” They would raise money and
have bake sales and box socials and get their husbands
to build a building. A lot of them, that’s
how they happened. There’s sort of a pattern
to them so they must have– Were they communicating? Did they hear about
others or see other ones? Or was it just sort
of logical like, “We need a place
to get together. Let’s build a building”? In some communities it was a
school that was already there, like a one-roomed school sort
of served as a community center. A lot of those schools
have closed when they were consolidated
and so they would turn them into an official
community center. A lot of them are
former schools. Some of them the community,
for whatever reason, dried up and people aren’t there and
so the halls were abandoned. Some of them are very,
very actively used, especially the ones that
are really in small towns so there are people around. A couple of them the
firemen meet there and they have church
services there and 4-H meets there
and a lot of them–>>Nancy Groce: They’re really
the nexus for their communities.>>Andrea Graham: Yeah. A lot of them especially in
earlier days were dances. Every Saturday they’d have
a dance in these halls that brought people together. Funerals, wedding showers,
anniversary parties. They’re just wonderful
community spaces. How does a community develop
its sense of community? These places really
help with that. I’m in the midst
of doing fieldwork. I have a list of about 80
so far around the state and I know there are more. Just getting out on the road
and finding them or finding out who has information
about them. That’s the same thing. I go to one and I say, “Do
you know of any others here?” They’ll tell me and I’ll say, “Who should I talk
to about that?” and they’ll get me
a phone number.>>Nancy Groce: Just basic
fieldwork, that thing?>>Andrea Graham:
Fieldwork, detective work. Yeah.>>Nancy Groce: If you step
back, the whole idea of doing– What attracts you to
the Intermountain West? Is it the landscape or the
people or the way it played out? Do you see it as
a unique region?>>Andrea Graham:
As a region, yeah. It’s different than the
Midwest or the coast. I just got very fond of it. I never dreamed I’d end up
out West but these small– Like I said, I like
smaller communities. It’s much easier to do fieldwork because everybody
knows everybody. You’re never more than
two degrees of separation from anybody in Wyoming. You talk to someone and you
find out you have someone in common that you know. That happens all the time and that’s what I
love about Wyoming. It’s not like Las Vegas. Especially when I was there and these communities
hadn’t coalesced. It was very hard to do fieldwork because people didn’t
know each other, and that’s how you do
fieldwork is making that chain of connections. That’s very easy to do in
small towns and rural areas. That’s one thing that I like. These ranchers live 100 miles
apart and they know what’s going on in each other’s lives more than I know my next
door neighbors.>>Nancy Groce: Why
do you think that is?>>Andrea Graham: They
depend on each other. People have this idea
of, ‘We’re individuals’ and ‘We don’t need anybody’,
but they totally need each other and depend on each other. If someone’s branding,
all the neighbors for 100 miles will come and help
then they’ll go help the other neighbor in return. They do depend on each other
because they are so isolated. I think it’s the same of
folklorists in the region too. When you move out the Western
regional folklorists had been meeting in Logan, Utah for
several years in conjunction with this Fife conference that Utah State’s
folklore program put on. They would bring in some
folklorists as presenters and the Western public
folklorists. We tried to figure out
what the first year was but it was in the early 1980s. It was the first regional group
of folklorists to get together. I think it was the same thing. We were so scattered. I wasn’t there at the
time but they were so few and so scattered they
needed to get together. It was like their
community hall. They had to get together
and support each other and share stories about how they
were building their programs. They were all new
programs in their states. We connected with that
group when we got out West. That was wonderful in that
we were lifelong friends and we would see each other once
a year, same with the ranchers, but we knew what we were up to.>>Nancy Groce: You
kept in close.>>Andrea Graham: A
sense of community. Then when the cowboy poetry
gathering started which started from that meeting, they
wanted a regional project that they could do together. They had started hearing
about these cowboy poets and realized they were all over. That was a regional project
that brought everyone together and ended up as the gathering and now the Western Folklife
Centre in Elko, Nevada. We get together there too. All the folklorists come
in and help host sessions.>>Nancy Groce: The
community halls here– Are you teaching also? You were involved
with a field school with the American
Folklorists Centre last summer.>>Andrea Graham: Yeah. My job at the university
eventually two years ago became full time. It had been three quarter time. The university found
some extra funding and–>>Nancy Groce: Do I
remember rightly that that’s when you stopped
working at South Dakota?>>Andrea Graham:
That’s when I stopped. They overlapped. There was about nine months where I was still doing
both and it was too much. I couldn’t. I couldn’t be in
two places at once. A year ago June I dropped
the South Dakota job after 15 years, which was sad. I really liked it, but I
just couldn’t keep doing it. The university job is full time. What was added was
teaching one course. I teach a course on public
sector work in American studies which is mainly guest speakers;
people coming in from museums, archives, humanities
council, main street programs. All kinds of public
sector cultural work so the students can
hear from people who are actually
doing that work. I’ve taught it once. I’m teaching it again in
the fall, but I’m supposed to teach that every year. That’s been a new
challenge for me.>>Nancy Groce: I forget, did the American Folklife
Center approach you or you and the Western folklorists
approached the American Folklife Center?>>Andrea Graham:
For the field school?>>Nancy Groce: For the
field school in 2017.>>Andrea Graham: The University of Wyoming has a
research station in Grand Teton National
Park right on the shores of Jackson Lake. It started as a ranch and then
it was sort of vacation homes. There are all these
historic log buildings. All summer they have researchers
who come in, mostly biology and geology and scientific
researchers who can stay there and do research projects
in the park. I went up there. A colleague of mine at the university was doing
historic preservation programs. She had a field school
out in Teton Park one of the first years I was there. I went out for a couple of days and we did some oral
history interviews. That’s when I saw this
research station, the AMK ranch. I immediately said this
would be a perfect place to do a folklife field school. It’s so beautiful and it’s
inexpensive to stay there if you’re connected
with the university. I had been thinking about it for
years but just me, by myself, couldn’t really organize
something like that that far from home. I saw that the Utah state
folklore program had done a field school a couple of
summers ago in Logan working with the folklife center staff. I approached them. I said, “Are you guys
going to do this again? Would you like to
do a joint one? I have this great place that
we could do a field school.” They said, “Well, okay.” It took us a year and
a half of planning because of the logistics
of working that far away from either of our bases. We talked to the cultural branch
at Teton Park about a project. Did they have any
research they wanted done? They suggested dude ranching. There’s one dude ranch
that’s actually in the park, the last one that’s still
operating in the park. They said, “We would like to– What is contemporary
dude ranching traditions? You could help us
document that.” We said, “That sounds great.” We worked with the folklife
center staff using your model–>>Nancy Groce: We have
mostly Maggie Kruesi on our staff and Guha Shankar.>>Andrea Graham:
Maggie and Guha. They had the school built model. We recruited students, most
of them from Utah State because they have
a folklore program but we had three students from
the University of Wyoming– worked with this research center
to get the space reserved. We had a big log house that we
were all staying in together. We got there and after a couple of days we realized the
house was full of bats and there have always been
bats at the research station. The science guys
just say, “Whatever. We’re going to deal with it. We’re not worried about it.” There were a lot of bats. One of the other
Utah State faculty who was there just visiting– she wasn’t part of
our school faculty– got really concerned about the
bats and started asking around.>>Nancy Groce: They
might be rabid?>>Andrea Graham:
They might be rabid.>>Nancy Groce: Yeah. I should preface this by saying that the American Folklife
Center has been doing training sessions and field schools
for many, many years, but yours in 2017 became
legendary because– What happened?>>Andrea Graham: Jeannie Thomas
from Utah State talked to this–>>Nancy Groce: An
esteemed colleague, yes.>>Andrea Graham: — talked to
the Centre for Disease Control. She went right to the top and
said, “Here are these bats.” They said if you are
sleeping in a room with bats you don’t
know if you’ve been bit. You could have been bit because
they have little tiny teeth. They said, “We recommend
you don’t stay there.” There was a very recent
population explosion in this house that
was unexpected. They’ve always had a few but
there were baby bats everywhere and bats on the floor and
bat guano all over the place and they were flying around. It was unnerving. Actually Utah State
risk management said, “You can’t stay there. You have to leave.” That their students
had to leave. We had to leave. They put us in another
building at the research station for one night but then
they didn’t have space. People were coming in. We had to find somewhere else
to stay in Jackson in August in peak tourist season. We eventually found motels at
great expense which Utah State and the university
had to pay for. They had to shut down the lodge. They wouldn’t let anybody
else stay there and–>>Nancy Groce: Did you also
have to get rabies shots?>>Andrea Graham: Yes. Most of us had to
get rabies shots. Preventive measure
because you don’t know.>>Nancy Groce: Yeah. We kept hearing it
in Washington. We were getting these concerning
emails and phone calls about–>>Andrea Graham:
We made the paper. We made the local paper. They didn’t quite get everything
right but “Local students run into hordes of rabid bats.” Well, no, but they
could have been. We had to–>>Nancy Groce: It’s
nothing to fool around with. It’s really very serious.>>Andrea Graham: Yeah. It’s a whole series of shots. It was very disruptive to the
field school but we kept going. We briefly thought of “Do
we need to bail on this?” We said, “No. We want to keep doing it.” The students were amazing. They just charged
into the fieldwork. We had to condense our training. Then they had a week to do
interviews with the dude ranch, the family that had owned
the ranch for 70 years– many people in that family,
the employees, guests. We did lots of interviews about
the traditions of dude ranching. Of course it’s a
fascinating topic. It’s right at the
base of the Tetons. It’s a spectacular location. The students were great. They hung in there. Most of them had to get shots. Most of us had to get shots. It ate up some of our time. We were supposed to do
a final presentation. The research station has
a series of presentations by researchers and
so we were scheduled to talk about our fieldwork. We ran out of time, plus we were
not allowed to go back there because of the bats so
we had to cancel that. We went back later. We went back in November
some of us. Some of us were supposed
to go and then it snowed and we couldn’t get there. People went back to Jackson
and did a presentation on our field research. Then they had put all
of that material online, the Utah State archive. Randy Williams is just amazing. The whole collection is online. They did a little online exhibit
about dude ranching traditions. We told all the students,
we said, “This whole bat thing is
going to make a great story. Maybe not right now
but you’re going to be telling this story
to your grandkids.”>>Nancy Groce: Really,
people are still amazed by–>>Andrea Graham: Yeah.>>Nancy Groce: It’s
something you didn’t prepare in your graduate
school training for.>>Andrea Graham: Right. Yeah. You just deal with
it when it comes up. It’s always something. It’s usually not that dramatic. Utah State they had been
really strict about– They did training on. We were all got bear sprayed. They talked about
rats and Hantavirus and all these things
to be aware of. Nobody mentioned bats
in that safety training and that was what did us in. It turned into– I think
we got really good results and we had a wonderful time. The host, the family that owns
this Triangle X dude ranch, the Turners are just the most
hospitable, welcoming people. They were very generous
and let us troop around and ask questions.>>Nancy Groce: That’s online?>>Andrea Graham: Yes. If you go to the
Fife folklore archive at Utah State you can find it.>>Nancy Groce: What
haven’t I asked you about? What do you think?>>Andrea Graham: I was telling
you earlier why I think I’m interested in folklore
or why I’m a folklorist.>>Nancy Groce: Yeah, you were.>>Andrea Graham: I grew up
in these two different places in the East but neither of them
were where my family was from. People ask me, especially
out West, they say, “Where are you from?” I usually just say back East
because that’s all they care about if you’re not
from Wyoming. They’re very welcoming
but usually that’s enough. I don’t feel like
I’m from anywhere because I don’t have family
roots in those places. I wasn’t in either of them
long enough to really feel like that’s where I was from. Then I worked and moved around
and worked in other places. Like I said, I’ve always
liked smaller towns and smaller communities. I sort of always
wish that maybe I was from a traditional community
where you knew everybody, which is what folk
communities are. I think that’s my
attraction to folklore is that I’m envious of
that way of life. I’m sure it’s not ideal either where your neighbors know
everything about you, but I like that idea of
knowing my neighbors. I think that’s a factor that
I had this suburban upbringing and didn’t have that
sense of roots.>>Nancy Groce: Do
you think working in folklore has given
you these roots?>>Andrea Graham: Certainly
the community of folklorists. They’re my people even
though they’re spread out. The Western group is very close. We’re all really good
friends, so it’s good that–>>Nancy Groce: You seem
to be doing a lot of going to each other’s weddings and
hanging out with each other.>>Andrea Graham:
Yeah, going on vacation and making plans for retirement. Buying a big house
together and– Yeah. They’re my favorite people. I love working in these
small communities too. Partly because I think
it’s easier to work there because it’s easy to
make the connections, but I just like that
sense of community.>>Nancy Groce: Thank you so
much for coming to Washington to present a lecture and
also to talk about things. We’re delighted to have your
fieldwork from Nevada here. People will be using that. Thank you, Andrea.>>Andrea Graham: Yeah. It’s exciting. Thanks for having me.

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