HOME

TheInfoList




American folklore encompasses the
folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psycholog ...

folklore
s that have evolved in the present-day United States since Europeans arrived in the 16th century. While it contains much in the way of Native American tradition, it is not wholly identical to the tribal beliefs of any community of native people. Folklore consists of
legend A legend is a genre of folklore that consists of a narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional ( memoir, biography, news report, documentary, Travel literature, tra ...

legend
s, music,
oral history Oral history is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life using audiotapes, videotapes, or transcriptions of planned interview conducted with a member of the public F ...
,
proverb A proverb (from la, proverbium) is a simple and insightful, traditional saying that expresses a perceived truth based on common sense or experience. Proverbs are often metaphorical and use formulaic speech, formulaic language. Collectively, they ...

proverb
s,
joke A joke is a display of humour Humour (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English) or humor (American English) is the tendency of experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. The term derives from the humoris ...
s, popular beliefs,
fairy tale A fairy tale, fairytale, wonder tale, magic tale, fairy story or ''Märchen'' is an instance of European folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common ...

fairy tale
s, stories,
tall tale A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual. Some tall tales are exaggerations of actual events, for example wikt:fish story, fish stories ("the fish that got away") such as, "That fish was so big, why I ...
s, and
customs Customs is an authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that u ...
that are the
tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious ...

tradition
s of a
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
,
subculture A subculture is a group of people within a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, ...
, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared.


Native American folklore

Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
cultures are rich in
myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...
s and
legend A legend is a genre of folklore that consists of a narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional ( memoir, biography, news report, documentary, Travel literature, tra ...

legend
s that explain natural phenomena and the relationship between humans and the spirit world. According to
Barre Toelken John Barre Toelken (June 15, 1935 – November 9, 2018) was an American folklorist. Barre Toelken was born in Enfield, Massachusetts :''See Enfield, Connecticut Enfield is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally lar ...
, feathers, beadwork, dance steps and music, the events in a story, the shape of a dwelling, or items of traditional food can be viewed as icons of cultural meaning. Toelken, Barrebr>''The Anguish of Snails'', Utah State University Press, 2003
Native American cultures are numerous and diverse. Though some neighboring cultures hold similar beliefs, others can be quite different from one another. The most common myths are the
creation myths A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) is a symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an , , or . Symbols allow people to go beyond what is n or seen by creating linkages between otherwis ...
, which tell a story to explain how the earth was formed, and where humans and other beings came from. Others may include explanations about the Sun, Moon, constellations, specific animals, seasons, and weather. This is one of the ways that many tribes have kept, and continue to keep, their cultures alive; these stories are told as a way of preserving and transmitting the nation, tribe, or band's particular beliefs, history, customs, spirituality, and traditional way of life. According to Barre Toelken, "Stories not only entertain but also embody Native behavioral and ethical values." There are many different kinds of stories. Some are called "hero stories"; these are stories of people who lived at one time, and who were immortalized and remembered through these tales. There are "
trickster In mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that som ...

trickster
stories", about the different trickster figures of the tribes, spirits who may be either helpful or dangerous, depending on the situation. There are also tales that are simply warnings; they warn against doing something that may harm in some way. Many of these tales have morals or some form of belief that is being taught. This is how the things were remembered.


Founding myths

The founding of the United States is often surrounded by legends and tall tales. Many stories have developed since the founding long ago to become a part of America's folklore and cultural awareness, and non-Native American folklore especially includes any narrative which has contributed to the shaping of
American culture The culture of the United States of America is primarily of Western culture, Western origin, but its influences include White Americans, European American, Asian Americans, Asian American, African Americans, African American, Latin Americans, ...
and belief systems. These narratives have varying levels of historical accuracy; the veracity of the stories is not a determining factor.


Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an Italian ...

Christopher Columbus
, as a hero and symbol to the then-immigrants, is an important figure in the body of American myth. His status, not unlike most American icons, is representative not of his own accomplishments, but the self-perception of the society which chose him as a hero. Having effected a separation from England and its cultural icons, America was left without history—or heroes on which to base a shared sense of their social selves.
Washington Irving Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American short-story writer, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. He is best known for his short stories " Rip Van Winkle" (1819) and " The Lege ...

Washington Irving
was instrumental in popularizing Columbus. His version of Columbus' life, published in 1829, was more a romance than a biography. The book was very popular, and contributed to an image of the discoverer as a solitary individual who challenged the unknown sea, as triumphant Americans contemplated the dangers and promise of their own wilderness
frontier A frontier is the political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive ...

frontier
. As a consequence of his vision and audacity, there was now a land free from kings, a vast continent for new beginnings. In the years following the Revolution the poetic device "Columbia" was used as a symbol of both Columbus and America. King's College of New York changed its name in 1792 to Columbia, and the new capital in Washington was subtitled
District of Columbia ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscape ...
.


Jamestown

In May 1607, the
Susan Constant ''Susan Constant'', possibly ''Sarah Constant'', captained by Christopher Newport, was the largest of three ships of the Virginia Company, English Virginia Company (the others being ''Discovery (1602 ship), Discovery'' and ''Godspeed (ship), Godspe ...
, the
Discovery Discovery may refer to: * Discovery (observation) Discovery is the act of detecting something new, or something previously unrecognized as meaningful. With reference to sciences and academic disciplines An academic discipline or academic fi ...
, and the Godspeed sailed through Chesapeake Bay and thirty miles up the James River settlers built
Jamestown, Virginia The Jamestown settlement in the Colony of Virginia was the first permanent British colonization of the Americas, English settlement in the Americas. It was located on the northeast bank of the James River, James (Powhatan) River about southwe ...
, England's first permanent colony. Too late in the season to plant crops, many were not accustomed to manual labor. Within a few months, some settlers died of famine and disease. Only thirty-eight made it through their first year in the New World.
Captain John Smith John Smith (baptized 6 January 1580 – 21 June 1631) was an English soldier, explorer, colonial governor, Admiral of New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United ...
, a pirate turned gentleman turned the settlers into foragers and successful traders with the Native Americans, who taught the English how to plant corn and other crops. Smith led expeditions to explore the regions surrounding Jamestown, and it was during one of these that the chief of the Powhatan Native Americans captured Smith. According to an account Smith published in 1624, he was going to be put to death until the chief's daughter,
Pocahontas Pocahontas (, ; born Amonute, known as Matoaka, 1596 – March 1617) was a Native American tribes in Virginia, Native American woman, belonging to the Powhatan, Powhatan people, notable for her association with the colonial settlement at J ...

Pocahontas
, saved him. From this the legend of Pocahontas sprang forth, becoming part of American folklore, children's books, and movies.


Pilgrims

Plymouth Rock Plymouth Rock is the traditional site of disembarkation of William Bradford and the ''Mayflower ''Mayflower'' was an English ship that transported a group of English families known today as the Pilgrims from England to the New World in 162 ...

Plymouth Rock
is the traditional site of disembarkation of William Bradford and the
Mayflower ''Mayflower'' was an English ship that transported a group of English families, known today as the Pilgrims (Plymouth Colony), Pilgrims, from England to the New World in 1620. After a grueling 10 weeks at sea, ''Mayflower'', with 102 passenger ...

Mayflower
Pilgrims who founded
Plymouth Colony Plymouth Colony (sometimes Plimouth) was an British America, English colonial venture in America from 1620 to 1691 at a location that had previously been surveyed and named by Captain John Smith (explorer), John Smith. The settlement served as t ...
in 1620, and an important symbol in American history. There are no contemporary references to the Pilgrims' landing on a rock at Plymouth. The first written reference to the Pilgrims landing on a rock is found 121 years after they landed. The Rock, or one traditionally identified as it, has long been memorialized on the shore of Plymouth Harbor in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The holiday of
Thanksgiving Thanksgiving is a national holiday A holiday is a day set aside by Norm (social), custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow ...
is said to have begun with the Pilgrims in 1621. They had come to America to escape religious persecution, but then nearly starved to death. Some friendly Native Americans, including
Squanto Tisquantum (; 1585 (±10 years?) – late November 1622 Old Style, O.S.), more commonly known as Squanto (), was a member of the Patuxet tribe best known for being an early liaison between the Native American population in Southern New England ...

Squanto
, helped the Pilgrims survive through the first winter. The perseverance of the Pilgrims is celebrated during the annual Thanksgiving festival.


Revolutionary War figures


George Washington

George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
(February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799), the country's first president, is the most preeminent of American historical and folkloric figures, as he holds the place of " Father of his Country". Apocryphal stories about Washington's childhood include a claim that he skipped a silver dollar across the
Rappahannock River The Rappahannock River is a river in eastern Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, Southeastern regions of the ...

Rappahannock River
at
Ferry Farm Ferry Farm (also known as the George Washington Boyhood Home Site or the Ferry Farm Site) is the name of the farm A farm is an area of land that is devoted primarily to agricultural processes with the primary objective of producing food and ...

Ferry Farm
. Another tale claims that as a young child, Washington chopped down his father's cherry tree. His angry father confronted the young Washington, who proclaimed "I cannot tell a lie" and admitted to the transgression, thus illuminating his honesty. Parson Mason Locke Weems mentions the first citation of this legend in his 1806 book, ''The Life of George Washington: With Curious Anecdotes, Equally Honorable to Himself and Exemplary to His Young Countrymen''. This anecdote cannot be independently verified.
Samuel Clemens Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), known by his pen name A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym (or, in some cases, a variant form of a real name) adopted by an au ...

Samuel Clemens
, also known as Mark Twain, is also known to have spread the story while lecturing, personalizing it by adding "I have a higher and greater standard of principle. Washington could not lie. I can lie but I won't."


Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736June 6, 1799) was an American attorney, Planter class, planter, politician, and orator best known for his declaration to the Virginia Conventions, Second Virginia Convention (1775): "Give me liberty, or give me death ...

Patrick Henry
(May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799) was an attorney, planter and politician who became known as an orator during the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. Patrick Henry is best known for the speech he made in the House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775, in Saint John's Church in Richmond, Virginia. With the House undecided on whether to mobilize for military action against the encroaching British military force, Henry argued in favor of mobilization. Forty-two years later, Henry's first biographer, William Wirt, working from oral histories, tried to reconstruct what Henry said. According to Wirt, Henry ended his speech with words that have since become immortalized: "I know not what course others may take; but as for me, Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" The crowd, by Wirt's account, jumped up and shouted "To Arms! To Arms!". For 160 years Wirt's account was taken at face value. In the 1970s, historians began to question the authenticity of Wirt's reconstruction.


Betsy Ross

Betsy Ross Elizabeth Griscom Ross (née Griscom;Addie Guthrie Weaver, ''"The Story of Our Flag..."'', 2nd Edition, A. G. Weaver, publ., 1898, p. 73 January 1, 1752 – January 30, 1836), also known by her second and third married names, Ashburn and C ...

Betsy Ross
(January 1, 1752 – January 30, 1836) is widely credited with making the first American flag. There is, however, no credible historical evidence that the story is true. Research conducted by the
National Museum of American History The National Museum of American History: Kenneth E. Behring Center collects, preserves, and displays the heritage of the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or Ame ...

National Museum of American History
notes that the story of Betsy Ross making the first American flag for General George Washington entered into American consciousness about the time of the 1876 centennial celebrations. In the 2008 book ''The Star-Spangled Banner: The Making of an American Icon'', Smithsonian experts point out that accounts of the event appealed to Americans eager for stories about the revolution and its heroes and heroines. Betsy Ross was promoted as a patriotic role model for young girls and a symbol of women's contributions to American history. Other Revolutionary War heroes who became figures of American folklore include:
Benedict Arnold Benedict Arnold (Brandt (1994), p. 414 June 1801) was an United States, American military officer who served during the American Revolutionary War, Revolutionary War. He fought with distinction for the American Continental Army, rising to the r ...

Benedict Arnold
,
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also ...

Benjamin Franklin
,
Nathan Hale Nathan Hale (June 6, 1755 – September 22, 1776) was an American Patriot, soldier and spy for the Continental Army The Continental Army was the army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" emi ...

Nathan Hale
,
John Hancock John Hancock ( – October 8, 1793) was an American Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing a state. National founders are typically those w ...

John Hancock
,
John Paul Jones John Paul Jones (born John Paul; July 6, 1747 July 18, 1792) was a Scottish-American naval captain who was the United States' first well-known naval commander in the American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–17 ...

John Paul Jones
and
Francis Marion Francis Marion ( 1732 – February 27, 1795), also known as the Swamp Fox, was a military officer who served in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). Acting with the Continental Army and South Carolina militia commissions, he was a ...
.


Tall Tales

The
tall tale A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual. Some tall tales are exaggerations of actual events, for example wikt:fish story, fish stories ("the fish that got away") such as, "That fish was so big, why I ...
is a fundamental element of American folk literature. The tall tale's origins are seen in the bragging contests that often occurred when men of the
American frontier The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, includes the geography, history, folklore, and culture in the forward wave of American expansion that began with European colonial settlements in the early 17th century and e ...
gathered. A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, relayed as if it were true and factual. Some such stories are exaggerations of actual events; others are completely fictional tales set in a familiar setting, such as the American Old West, or the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. They are usually humorous or good-natured. The line between myth and tall tale is distinguished primarily by age; many myths exaggerate the exploits of their heroes, but in tall tales, the exaggeration looms large, to the extent of becoming the whole of the story.


Based on historical figures

* (September 26, 1774 – March 18, 1845), widely known as Johnny Appleseed, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He became an American legend while still alive, largely because of his kind and generous ways, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples. Johnny Appleseed is remembered in American popular culture by his traveling song or Swedenborgian hymn ("The Lord is good to me..."). *
Daniel Boone Daniel Boone (September 26, 1820) was an American pioneer and frontier, frontiersman whose exploits made him one of the first Folklore of the United States, folk heroes of the United States. Boone became famous for his exploration and settlement ...

Daniel Boone
(November 2, 1734 .S. October 22– September 26, 1820) was an American pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman whose frontier exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. *
Davy Crockett David Crockett (August 17, 1786 – March 6, 1836) was an American folk hero A folk hero or national hero is a type of hero – real, fictional or mythology, mythological – with their name, personality and deeds embedded in the popular cons ...

Davy Crockett
(August 17, 1786 – March 6, 1836) was a 19th-century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician. He is commonly referred to in popular culture by the epithet, "King of the Wild Frontier". He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives, served in the
Texas Revolution The Texas Revolution (October 2, 1835 – April 21, 1836) was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejano Tejanos (, ; singular: ''Tejano/a''; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a ...
, and died at the
Battle of the Alamo The Battle of the Alamo (February 23 – March 6, 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution The Texas Revolution (October 2, 1835 – April 21, 1836) was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos (Hispanic T ...
. *
Mike Fink Mike Fink (also spelled Miche Phinck)O'Neil, Paul. The Old West: The Rivermen. Time-Life Books, New York. 1975 p.71 (c. 1770/1780 – c. 1823), called "king of the keelboaters", was a semi-legendary brawler Beat 'em up (also known as brawl ...
(c. 1770/1780 – c. 1823) called "king of the keelboaters", was a semi-legendary brawler and river boatman who exemplified the tough and hard-drinking men who ran keelboats up and down the
Ohio Ohio () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

Ohio
and
Mississippi Mississippi () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; a ...

Mississippi
Rivers. * Martha Jane Canary (May 1, 1852 – August 1, 1903), better known as
Calamity Jane Martha Jane Cannary (May 1, 1852 – August 1, 1903), better known as Calamity Jane, was a well-known Americans, American American frontier, frontierswoman, Exhibition shooting, sharpshooter, and Storytelling, raconteur. In addition to many expl ...
, was an American frontierswoman, and professional scout best known for her claim of being an acquaintance of
Wild Bill Hickok James Butler Hickok (May 27, 1837August 2, 1876), better known as "Wild Bill" Hickok, was a folk hero of the American Old West known for his life on the frontier as a soldier, scout, lawman, gambler, showman, and actor, and for his involvement ...

Wild Bill Hickok
. She is said to have also exhibited kindness and compassion, especially to the sick and needy. It was from her that
Bret Harte Bret Harte (born Francis Brett Hart; August 25, 1836 – May 5, 1902) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United ...

Bret Harte
took his famous character of Cherokee Sal in ''The Luck of Roaring Camp''. *
Jigger Johnson Albert Lewis Johnson (18711935), better known as Jigger Johnson (also nicknamed Wildcat Johnson, Jigger Jones, or simply The Jigger), was a legendary lumberjack, logging foreman, trapper, and fire warden for the U.S. Forest Service who was known t ...

Jigger Johnson
(1871–1935), was a
lumberjack Lumberjacks are mostly North American workers in the logging industry who perform the initial harvesting and transport of trees for ultimate processing into forest products. The term usually refers to loggers in the era (before 1945 in the Unite ...

lumberjack
and
log driver Log driving is a means of moving lumber, logs (sawn tree trunks) from a forest to sawmills and pulp mills downstream using the current of a river. It was the main transportation method of the early logging, logging industry in Europe and North ...
from northern
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as the American Northeast, the Northeast, and the East Coast) is a geographical region In geography ...

New England
who is known for his numerous off-the-job exploits, such as catching
bobcats The bobcat (''Lynx rufus''), also known as the red lynx, is a medium-sized cat native to North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also b ...

bobcats
alive with his bare hands, and drunken brawls. * John Henry was an African-American railroad worker who is said to have worked as a "steel-driving man"—a man tasked with hammering a steel drill into rock to make holes for explosives to blast the rock away in constructing a railroad tunnel. According to legend, John Henry's prowess as a steel-driver was measured in a race against a steam-powered hammer, which he won, only to die in victory with his hammer in his hand and his heart giving out from stress. The "Ballad of John Henry" is a musical rendition of his story. *
Molly Pitcher Molly Pitcher is a nickname given to a woman said to have fought in the American Revolutionary War. She is most often identified as Mary Ludwig Hays, who fought in the Battle of Monmouth in June 1778. Another possibility is Margaret Corbin, who ...
was a nickname given to a woman said to have fought in the American Battle of Monmouth, who is generally believed to have been
Mary Hays Mary Hays (1759–1843) was an autodidact intellectual who published essays, poetry, novels and several works on famous (and infamous) women. She is remembered for her early feminism, and her close relations to dissenting and radical thinkers ...
. Since various Molly Pitcher tales grew in the telling, many historians regard Molly Pitcher as folklore rather than history, or suggest that Molly Pitcher may be a composite image inspired by the actions of a number of real women. The name itself may have originated as a nickname given to women who carried water to men on the battlefield during the war. Other historical figures include Titanic survivor
Molly Brown Molly, Mollie or mollies may refer to: Fish * '' Poecilia'', a genus of fishes collectively known as "mollies" * '' Poecilia sphenops'', a species of fish commonly known as "molly" Film, television and theatre * ''Molly'' (1983 film), an Austral ...
, Wild West showman
Buffalo Bill Cody William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (February 26, 1846January 10, 1917) was an American soldier, bison Bison are large, even-toed ungulates in the genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice an ...

Buffalo Bill Cody
, and sharpshooter
Annie Oakley Annie Oakley (born Phoebe Ann Mosey; August 13, 1860 – November 3, 1926) was an American marksman, sharpshooter who starred in ''Buffalo Bill, Buffalo Bill's Wild West'' show. Oakley developed hunting skills as a child to provide for her impo ...

Annie Oakley
.


Fictional characters

*
Paul Bunyan Paul Bunyan is a Giant (mythology), giant lumberjack and folk hero in American folklore, American and Canadian folklore. His exploits revolve around the tall tales of his superhuman labors, and he is customarily accompanied by Babe the Blue O ...

Paul Bunyan
is a lumberjack figure in North American folklore and tradition. One of the most famous and popular North American folklore heroes, he is usually described as a giant as well as a lumberjack of unusual skill, and is often accompanied in stories by his animal companion, Babe the Blue Ox. The character originated in folktales circulated among lumberjacks in the Northeastern United States and eastern Canada, first appearing in print in a story published by Northern Michigan journalist James MacGillivray in 1906. * The
Lone Ranger The Lone Ranger is a fictional masked former Texas Ranger who fought outlaw An outlaw is a person declared as outside the protection of the law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elem ...

Lone Ranger
is a fictional hero of the west who fought raiders and robbers in the Texas area. The sole survivor of a group of six rangers, he set out to bring the criminals who killed his brother to justice. The Lone Ranger is said to have been based on
Bass Reeves Bass Reeves (July 1838 – January 12, 1910) was an American law enforcement officer A law enforcement officer (LEO), or peace officer in North American English, is a public-sector The public sector (also called the state sector) is the p ...

Bass Reeves
by Historian Art Burton but that is in dispute. * Johnny Kaw is a mythical Kansas settler whose exploits created elements of the Kansas landscape and helped establish wheat and sunflowers as major crops. The character dates to the 1955 centennial of Kansas and has been explored in numerous books. * John the Conqueror also known as High John the Conqueror, and many other folk variants, is a folk hero from African-American folklore. John the Conqueror was an African prince who was sold as a slave in the Americas. Despite his enslavement, his spirit was never broken and he survived in folklore as a sort of a trickster figure, because of the tricks he played to evade his masters. Joel Chandler Harris's 'Br'er Rabbit' of the Uncle Remus stories is said to be patterned after High John the Conqueror. *
Pecos Bill Pecos Bill is a fictional cowboy in stories set during American Expansionism, westward expansion into the Southwest of Texas, New Mexico, Southern California, and Arizona. These narratives were invented as short stories in a book by Edward S. O' ...
is an American cowboy, apocryphally immortalized in numerous tall tales of the Old West during American westward expansion into the Southwest of Texas, New Mexico, Southern California, and Arizona * Captain Stormalong was an American folk hero and the subject of numerous nautical-themed tall tales originating in Massachusetts. Stormalong was said to be a sailor and a giant, some 30 feet tall; he was the master of a huge clipper ship known in various sources as either the Courser or the Tuscarora, a ship so tall that it had hinged masts to avoid catching on the moon.


Legendary and folkloric creatures

*
Bigfoot Bigfoot, also commonly referred to as Sasquatch, in Canadian folklore, Canadian and Folklore of the United States, American folklore, is an ape-like creature that is purported to inhabit the forests of North America. Supposed evidence of Bigfoot ...

Bigfoot
, also known as "Sasquatch", is the name given to an ape-like creature that some believe inhabit mostly forests in the Pacific Northwest region of, and throughout the entirety of, North America. Bigfoot is usually described as a large, hairy, bipedal humanoid, although descriptions vary depending on location. The height range is about 6 to 10 feet tall with black, dark brown, or dark reddish hair. One of the most famous accounts of Bigfoot is the Patterson-Gimlin film where a supposedly female Bigfoot marches across the screen with giant strides, turns to face the camera, then marches off up a steep hill and into the forest. There are more than 100 sightings that are reported yearly. Among these reporters are veterans, campers, hikers, explorers, hunters, and more. There are several websites, podcasts and organizations related to Bigfoot. * Champ is the name given to a reputed lake monster living in Lake Champlain, a natural freshwater lake in North America. The lake crosses the U.S./Canada border; located partially in the Canadian province of Quebec and partially in the U.S. states of Vermont and New York. There is no scientific evidence for Champ's existence, though there have been over 300 reported sightings. *
Punxsutawney Phil Punxsutawney Phil is a groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania who is the central figure in the borough's annual Groundhog Day celebration. On February 2 each year, Punxsutawney holds a civic festival with music and foo ...

Punxsutawney Phil
is a semi-mythical groundhog central to the most well-known
Groundhog Day Groundhog Day ( pdc, Grund'sau dåk, , , ; Nova Scotia ) , image_map = Nova Scotia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English (''de facto'') , Regiona ...
ceremony, a Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that claims to predict the arrival of spring. According to tradition, the same groundhog has made predictions ever since the 1800s. * is a legendary creature said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey in the United States. The creature is often described as a flying biped with hooves, but there are many different variations. The most common description is that of a kangaroo-like creature with the face of a horse, the head of a dog, leathery bat-like wings, horns, small arms with clawed hands, red eyes, cloven hooves and a forked tail. It has been reported to move quickly as to avoid human contact, and often is described as emitting a "blood-curdling scream". The legend goes as such: a woman named Mother Leeds gave birth to her 13th child on a dark, stormy night. Mother Leed is said to be a witch and her 13th child was born the Devil. It soon grew wings and hooves, killed the midwife, and took off into the night. * The White Lady is a type of female ghost reportedly seen in rural areas and associated with some local legend of tragedy. Common to many of them is the theme of losing or being betrayed by a husband or fiancé. They are often associated with an individual family line or said to be a harbinger of death, similar to a
banshee A banshee ( ; Modern Irish Irish ( in ), sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a of the branch of the , which is a part of the . Irish is to the and was the population's until the late 18th century. Although has been the first langu ...

banshee
. *
Mothman In West Virginia folklore, the Mothman is a humanoid creature reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area from November 15, 1966, to December 15, 1967. The first newspaper report was published in the '' Point Pleasant Register'', dat ...

Mothman
is a mythical creature from Point Pleasant, West Virginia described as a large humanoid with glowing red eyes on its face and large bird-like wings with fur covering its body. Mothman has been blamed for the collapse of the
Silver Bridge The Silver Bridge was an eyebar-chain suspension bridge built in 1928 and named for the color of its aluminium, aluminum paint. The bridge carried U.S. Route 35 over the Ohio River, connecting Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and Gallipolis, Ohi ...
. * The
Hodag In American folklore, the hodag is a fearsome critters, fearsome critter resembling a large bull-horned carnivore with a row of thick curved spines down its back. The hodag was said to be born from the ashes of cremated oxen, as the incarnation ...

Hodag
is a mythical beast that is said to inhabit the forests of Northern Wisconsin, particularly around the city of Rhinelander. The Hodag has a reptilian body with the horns of a bull and is said to have a penchant for mischief. *Old Black Eyes is a spectral hound said to frequent an area known as the Baker Rocks, located near the top of the Black Mountains of North Carolina. Old Black Eyes is said to be the spirit of Jim Baker who lived at the rocks and was regarded as a witch with supernatural powers by the local mountain people. According to legend Jim Baker performed some sort of ritual at an old Indian cemetery, near the Black Mountains, where he proceeded to sell his soul to the
Devil A devil is the personification Personification occurs when a thing or abstraction is represented as a person, in literature or art, as an anthropomorphic Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') ...

Devil
. The Devil proceeded to turn Baker's pupils "unnaturally black" as a sign of their deal and hell's claim on his soul. Upon his death, Baker was said to take the spirit of a 'devil dog' identifiable by the large black pupils of its eyes, that people feared to approach believing it was surrounded in black magic. It was said the only way to get rid of Old Black Eyes was to draw its picture, pin it to a tree, and then shoot it with a gun. *In North American
folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psycholog ...

folklore
, Fearsome critters were
tall tale A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual. Some tall tales are exaggerations of actual events, for example wikt:fish story, fish stories ("the fish that got away") such as, "That fish was so big, why I ...
animals jokingly said to inhabit the wilderness in or around
logging camp A logging camp (or lumber camp) is a transitory work site used in the logging industry. Before the second half of the 20th century, these camps were the primary place where lumberjack Lumberjacks are mostly North American workers in the loggi ...
s, especially in the
Great Lakes The Great Lakes also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes, is a series of large interconnected freshwater lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land ...

Great Lakes
region. Today, the term may also be applied to similar fabulous beasts. Other folkloric creatures include the
Chupacabra The chupacabra or chupacabras (, literally 'goat-sucker'; from es, chupar, 'to suck', and , 'goats') is a legendary creature A legendary or mythological creature, also called fabulous creature and fabulous beast, is a supernatural The s ...

Chupacabra
,
Jackalope The jackalope is a mythical animal of North American folklore (a fearsome critter) described as a Hare, jackrabbit with pronghorn, antelope horns. The word ''jackalope'' is a portmanteau of ''jackrabbit'' and ''antelope''. Many jackalope taxi ...
, the
Nain Rouge The Nain Rouge (French for "red dwarf Dwarf or dwarves may refer to: Common uses *Dwarf (folklore), a being from Germanic mythology and folklore * Dwarf, a person or animal with dwarfism * Dwarf to describe a small person Arts, entertainment, ...
of Detroit, Michigan,
Wendigo Wendigo () is a mythological creature or evil spirit which originates from the folklore of First Nations The First Nations (french: Premières Nations ) are the largest group of indigenous peoples in Canada, Canadian indigenous peoples, dis ...

Wendigo
of Minnesota and Chessie, a legendary sea monster said to live in Chesapeake Bay.


Literature

Santa Claus Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, or simply Santa, is a legendary character Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Character'' (novel), a 1936 Dutch ...

Santa Claus
, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, or simply "Santa", is a figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins. The modern figure of Santa Claus was derived from the Dutch figure, Sinterklaas, which may, in turn, have its origins in the hagiographical tales concerning the Christian Saint Nicholas. " A Visit from St. Nicholas", also known as "The Night Before Christmas" is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 and generally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore. The poem, which has been called "arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American", Burrows, Edwin G. & Wallace, Mike. '' Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898''. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. pp. 462–463 is largely responsible for the conception of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today, including his physical appearance, the night of his visit, his mode of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, as well as the tradition that he brings toys to children. The poem has influenced ideas about St. Nicholas and Santa Claus from the United States to the rest of the English-speaking world and beyond. ''Is There a Santa Claus?'' was the title of an editorial appearing in the September 21, 1897, edition of The (New York) Sun. The editorial, which included the famous reply "
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" is a line from an editorial by Francis Pharcellus Church called "Is There a Santa Claus?" which appeared in ''The Sun (New York City), The Sun'' on September 21, 1897, and became one of the most famous edi ...
", has become a part of popular Christmas folklore in the United States and Canada. The
Headless Horseman The Headless Horseman is a myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually gods, demigods, or supernatura ...
is a fictional character from the short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by American author Washington Irving. The story, from Irving's collection of short stories, entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, has worked itself into known American folklore/legend through literature and film. "
Rip Van Winkle ''Rip Van Winkle'' statue in Irvington, New York (a town named for Washington Irving), not far from the Tarrytown, New York">Tarrytown Tarrytown is a administrative divisions of New York#Village, village in the administrative divisions of New ...
" is a short story by the American author
Washington Irving Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American short-story writer, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. He is best known for his short stories " Rip Van Winkle" (1819) and " The Lege ...

Washington Irving
, first published in 1819. It follows a
Dutch-American Dutch Americans ( Dutch: ''Nederlandse Amerikanen''), not to be confused with the Pennsylvania Dutch The Pennsylvania Dutch (''Pennsilfaanisch-Deitsch''), also referred to as the Pennsylvania Germans, are a cultural group formed through those ...
villager in
colonial America The colonial history of the United States covers the history of European colonization of North America from the early 17th century until the incorporation of the Thirteen Colonies into the United States of America, after the American Revolu ...
named Rip Van Winkle who meets mysterious Dutchmen, imbibes their liquor and falls asleep in the
Catskill Mountains The Catskill Mountains, also known as the Catskills, are a Physiographic regions of the world, physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains, located in southeastern New York (state), New York. As a cultural and geographic region, ...
. He awakes 20 years later to a very changed world, having missed the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
. Inspired by a conversation on
nostalgia Nostalgia is a sentimentality Sentimentality originally indicated the reliance on feelings as a guide to truth, but in current usage the term commonly connotes a reliance on shallow, uncomplicated emotions at the expense of reason. Sentime ...

nostalgia
with his American expatriate brother-in-law, Irving wrote the story while temporarily living in
Birmingham Birmingham ( ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Ro ...

Birmingham
, England. It was published in his collection, '' The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.'' While the story is set in
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
's Catskill Mountains near where Irving later took up residence, he admitted, "When I wrote the story, I had never been on the Catskills."


Folk music

Native Americans were the earliest inhabitants of the land that is today known as the United States and played its first music. Beginning in the 17th century, immigrants from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Germany and France began arriving in large numbers, bringing with them new styles and instruments. African slaves brought musical traditions, and each subsequent wave of immigrants contributes to a melting pot. Folk music includes both traditional music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. The term originated in the 19th century but is often applied to music that is older than that. The earliest American scholars were with The American Folklore Society (AFS), which emerged in the late 1800s. Their studies expanded to include Native American music but still treated folk music as a historical item preserved in isolated societies. In North America, during the 1930s and 1940s, the Library of Congress worked through the offices of traditional music collectors Robert Winslow Gordon, Alan Lomax and others to capture as much North American field material as possible. Lomax was the first prominent scholar to study distinctly American folk music such as that of cowboys and southern blacks. His first major published work was in 1911, Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads, and was arguably the most prominent US folk music scholar of his time, notably during the beginnings of the folk music revival in the 1930s and early 1940s. The
American folk music revival The American folk music revival began during the 1940s and peaked in popularity in the mid-1960s. Its roots went earlier, and performers like Josh White, Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Big Bill Broonzy, Billie Holiday, Richard Dyer-Benn ...
was a phenomenon in the United States that began during the 1940s and peaked in popularity in the mid-1960s. Its roots went earlier, and performers like
Burl Ives Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (June 14, 1909 – April 14, 1995) was an American singer, musician, actor, and author. Ives began as an itinerant singer and guitarist, and launched his own radio show, ''The Wayfaring Stranger'', which popularized trad ...
,
Woody Guthrie Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (; July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter and one of the most significant figures in American folk music The term American folk music encompasses numerous music genres, variously know ...

Woody Guthrie
,
Lead Belly Huddie William Ledbetter (; January 23, 1888 – December 6, 1949), better known by the stage name Lead Belly, was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly ...

Lead Belly
, and
Oscar Brand Oscar Brand (February 7, 1920 – September 30, 2016) was a Canadian-born American American folk music, folk singer-songwriter and author. In his career, spanning 70 years, he composed at least 300 songs and released nearly 100 albums, among t ...
had enjoyed a limited general popularity in the 1930s and 1940s. The revival brought forward musical styles that had, in earlier times, contributed to the development of country & western, jazz, and rock and roll music.


African-American music

Slavery was introduced to the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
beginning in the early 17th century in
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...
. The ancestors of today's African-American population were brought from hundreds of tribes across West Africa and brought with them certain traits of West African music. This included call and response vocals, complex rhythmic music, syncopated beats, shifting accents, incorporation of hums and moans, which are sounds with no distinct meaning, and a combination of sound and body movements. The African musical focus on rhythmic singing and dancing was brought to the New World, where it became part of a distinct folk culture that helped Africans "retain continuity with their past through music." Along with retaining many African elements, there was also a continuation of instruments. Enslaved Africans would either take with them African instruments or reconstructed them once in the New World. The first slaves in the United States sang work songs and field hollers. However, slave music was used for a variety of reasons. Music was included in religious ceremonies and celebrations, used to coordinate work, and to conceal hidden messages, like when they were commenting on slave owners. African American slave songs can be divided into three groups: religious, work, and recreational songs.


African American Spirituals

Protestant hymns written mostly by New England preachers became a feature of camp meetings held among devout Christians across the South. Most slaves were either animists or Muslims, so they did not know about Christianity. To destroy any remnants of African culture or make more people disciples, slaves would be encouraged and taken to church. They became attracted to the grace and freedom that was preached within the church, which was very different from the lives they were living. Slaves would learn the same hymns that their masters sang, and when they came together they developed and sang adapted versions of these hymns, they were called Negro spirituals. It was from these roots, of spiritual songs, work songs, and field hollers, that blues, jazz, and gospel developed. Negro spirituals were primarily expressions of religious faith. These songs provided them a voice for their longing for freedom and to experience it. Around the 1840s, slaves knew that in the northern states slavery was illegal, and some northerners wanted the complete abolishment of slavery. So when they sang about heaven, it was also about possibly escaping north. In the early 19th century the Underground railroad was developed, containing a network of secret routes and safe houses, and it greatly impacted slaves’ religious music. When there was any mention of trains, stations, etc. in spirituals they were directly referencing the Underground Railroad, such as the song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” These songs were designed so that slave owners thought that slaves were only singing about heaven.


African American Work Songs

Work Songs at least had two functions: one to benefit the slaves and another to benefit overseers. When a group of slaves had to work together on a hard task, like carrying a heavy load, singing would provide a rhythm that allowed them to coordinate their movements. When picking crops, music was not necessary, but when there was silence it would be uncomfortable for the overseers. Even though there was a presence of melancholy in songs, Southern slave owners would interpret that their slaves were happy and content, possibly because of their singing.


African American Recreational Songs

Even if slave owners attempted to forbid things like drums or remnants of African culture, they did not seem to mind them learning European instruments and music. In some cases, black string players would be invited to play to entertain white audiences. Between the week of Christmas and New Years’, owners would give their slaves a holiday. This provided a chance for slave families who had different masters to come together, otherwise, they would not go anywhere. Some slaves would craft items, but masters detested industrious slaves. So most slaves would spend their recreational time doing other things, like dancing and singing. Masters approved of such activities, but they may not have listened carefully to the songs that were performed.


Folk songs

The original Thirteen Colonies of the United States were all former British possessions, and Anglo culture became a major foundation for American folk and popular music. Many American folk songs are identical to British songs in arrangements, but with new lyrics, often as parodies of the original material. Anglo-American traditional music also includes a variety of broadside ballads, humorous stories and tall tales, and disaster songs regarding mining, shipwrecks and murder. Folk songs may be classified by subject matter, such as: drinking songs, sporting songs, train songs, work songs, war songs, and ballads. * The Star-Spangled Banner's tune was adapted from an old English drinking song by John Stafford Smith called "To Anacreon in Heaven." * "The Ballad of Casey Jones" is a traditional song about railroad engineer Casey Jones and his death at the controls of the train he was driving. It tells of how Jones and his fireman Sim Webb raced their locomotive to make up for lost time, but discovered another train ahead of them on the line, and how Jones remained on board to try to stop the train as Webb jumped to safety. * "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" (sometimes "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again") is a popular song of the American Civil War that expressed people's longing for the return of their friends and relatives who were fighting in the war. The Irish anti-war song "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye" and "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" share the same melodic material. Based on internal textual references, "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye" apparently dates from the early 1820s, while When Johnny Comes Marching Home was first published in 1863. "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye" is a popular traditional Irish anti-war and anti-recruiting song. It is generally dated to the early 19th century, when soldiers from Athy, County Kildare served the British East India Company. * "Oh My Darling, Clementine" (1884) is an American western folk ballad believed to have been based on another song called Down by the River Liv'd a Maiden (1863). The words are those of a bereaved lover singing about his darling, the daughter of a miner in the 1849 California Gold Rush. He loses her in a drowning accident. The song plays during the opening credits for the highly acclaimed John Ford movie "My Darling Clementine". It also runs as a background score all through the movie. * The Yellow Rose of Texas (song), The Yellow Rose of Texas is a traditional folk song. The original love song has become associated with the legend that Emily D. West, a biracial indentured servant, "helped win the Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle in the Texas Revolution". * "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is a 1908 Tin Pan Alley song by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer which has become the unofficial anthem of baseball, although neither of its authors had attended a game prior to writing the song. The song is traditionally sung during the seventh-inning stretch of a baseball game. Fans are generally encouraged to sing along. Other American folksongs include: "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain", "Skewball", "Big Bad John", "Stagger Lee (song), Stagger Lee", "Camptown Races" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".


Sea shanties

Work songs sung by sailors between the 18th and 20th centuries are known as sea shanties. The shanty was a distinct type of work song, developed especially in American-style merchant vessels that had come to prominence in decades prior to the American Civil War. These songs were typically performed while adjusting the rigging, raising anchor, and other tasks where men would need to pull in rhythm. These songs usually have a very punctuated rhythm precisely for this reason, along with a call-and-answer format. Well before the 19th century, sea songs were common on rowing vessels. Such songs were also very rhythmic in order to keep the rowers together. They were notably influenced by songs of African Americans, such as those sung whilst manually loading vessels with cotton in ports of the southern United States. The work contexts in which African-Americans sang songs comparable to shanties included: boat-rowing on rivers of the southeastern U.S. and Caribbean; the work of stokers or "firemen", who cast wood into the furnaces of steamboats plying great American rivers;and stevedoring on the U.S. eastern seaboard, the Gulf Coast, and the Caribbean—including "cotton-screwing": the loading of ships with cotton in ports of the American South. During the first half of the 19th century, some of the songs African Americans sang also began to appear in use for shipboard tasks, i.e. as shanties. Shanty repertoire borrowed from the contemporary popular music enjoyed by sailors, including minstrel music, popular marches, and land-based folk songs, which were adapted to suit musical forms matching the various labor tasks required to operate a sailing ship. Such tasks, which usually required a coordinated group effort in either a pulling or pushing action, included weighing anchor and setting sail. * "Poor Paddy Works on the Railway" is a popular Irish and American folk song. Historically, it was often sung as a sea chanty. The song portrays an Irish worker working on a railroad. There are numerous titles of the song including, "Pat Works on the Railway" and "Paddy on the Railway". "Paddy Works on the Erie" is another version of the song. "Paddy on the Railway" is attested as a chanty in the earliest known published work to use the word "chanty", G. E. Clark's ''Seven Years of a Sailor's Life'' (1867). Clark recounted experiences fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, in a vessel out of Provincetown, Mass. c. 1865–66. At one point, the crew is getting up the anchor in a storm, by means of a pump-style windlass. One of the chanties the men sing while performing this task is mentioned by title, "Paddy on the Railway."


Shaker music

The Shakers is a religious sect founded in 18th-century England upon the teachings of Ann Lee. Shakers today are most known for their cultural contributions, especially style of music and furniture. The Shakers composed thousands of songs, and also created many dances; both were an important part of the Shaker worship services. In Shaker society, a Era of Manifestations, spiritual "gift" could also be a musical revelation, and they considered it important to record musical inspirations as they occurred. "Simple Gifts" was composed by Elder Joseph Brackett and originated in the Alfred Shaker Historic District, Alfred Shaker community in Maine in 1848. Aaron Copland's iconic 1944 ballet score Appalachian Spring, uses the now famous Shaker tune "Simple Gifts" as the basis of its finale.


Folk dancing

Folk dances of British origin include the square dance, descended from the quadrille, combined with the American innovation of a caller instructing the dancers. The religious communal society known as the Shakers emigrated from England during the 18th century and developed their own folk dance style.


Locations and landmarks

* the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke Island: In 1587, Sir Walter Raleigh recruited over 100 men, women and children to journey from England to Roanoke Island on North Carolina's coast and establish the first English settlement in America under the direction of John White as governor. Virginia Dare (born August 18, 1587) was the first child born in the Americas to English parents, Ananias and Eleanor White Dare in the short-lived Roanoke Colony. The fact of her birth is known because the governor of the settlement, Virginia Dare's grandfather, John White, returned to England in 1587 to seek fresh supplies. When White eventually returned three years later, Virginia and the other colonists were gone. During the past four hundred years, Virginia Dare has become a prominent figure in American myth and folklore, symbolizing different things to different groups of people. She is the subject of a poem (''Peregrine White and Virginia Dare'') by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet, and the North Carolina ''Legend of the White Doe''. While often cited as an Indian legend, the white doe seems to have its roots in English folklore. White deer are common in English legends and often used as symbols of Christian virtue. A similar story of a young girl transformed into a white deer can be found in Yorkshire, where it formed the basis for Wordsworth's poem ''The White Doe of Rylstone''. In the four centuries since their disappearance, the Roanoke colonists have been the subject of a mystery that still challenges historians and archaeologists as one of America's oldest. * Times Square is a major commercial intersection in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. Times Square – iconified as "The Crossroads of the World" is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theater District. Formerly Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in April 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the newly erected Times Building site of the annual ball drop on New Year's Eve. The northern triangle of Times Square is technically Duffy Square, dedicated in 1937 to Chaplain Francis P. Duffy of New York City's "Fighting 69th" Infantry Regiment; a memorial to Duffy is located there, along with a statue of George M. Cohan. The Duffy Statue and the square were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. * Empire State Building is a 102-story skyscraper located in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. Its name is derived from the nickname for New York, the Empire State. It stood as the world's tallest building for 40 years, from its completion in 1931. The Empire State Building is generally thought of as an American cultural icon. The project involved 3,400 workers, mostly immigrants from Europe, along with hundreds of Mohawk ironworkers, many from the Kahnawake reserve near Montreal. Perhaps the most famous popular culture representation of the building is in the 1933 film King Kong, in which the title character, a giant ape, climbs to the top to escape his captors but falls to his death after being attacked by airplanes. The 1957 romantic drama film An Affair to Remember involves a couple who plan to meet atop the Empire State Building, a rendezvous that is averted by an automobile accident. The 1993 film Sleepless in Seattle, a romantic comedy partially inspired by An Affair to Remember, climaxes with a scene at the Empire State observatory. Other locations and landmarks that have become part of American folklore include: Independence Hall, Monument Valley, Ellis Island, Hoover Dam, Pearl Harbor, the Vietnam War Memorial, and the Grand Canyon.


Cultural icons

* The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The bell was commissioned from the London firm of Lester and Pack in 1752, and was cast with the lettering (part of Leviticus 25:10) "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." In the 1830s, the bell was adopted as a symbol by abolitionist societies, who dubbed it the "Liberty Bell". It acquired its distinctive large crack sometime in the early 19th century—a widespread story claims it cracked while ringing after the death of Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835. * Statue of Liberty The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tablet upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad. * Uncle Sam (initials U.S.) is a common national personification of the American government and came into use during the War of 1812. According to legend, Samuel Wilson, a meatpacker in New York, supplied rations for the soldiers and stamped the letters U.S. on the boxes, which stood for United States but was jokingly said to be the initials of Uncle Sam. An Uncle Sam is mentioned as early as 1775, in the original "Yankee Doodle" lyrics of the Revolutionary War . "Columbia (name), Columbia", who first appeared in 1738 and sometimes was associated with liberty, is the personification of the American nation, while Uncle Sam is a personification of the government; they are some times shown working together or disputing with one another over political issues, especially in the political cartoons of Puck (folklore), Puck. With the American Revolutionary War came "Brother Jonathan" as a personification of the Americans, American Everyman; but it wasn't until after the War of 1812 Uncle Sam appeared. * Shark Mouth nose art on military aircraft: Although originally from Austria this stylistic design was applied to the American Volunteer Group in Asia known more commonly as "The Flying Tigers". This design was painted on the units' P-40 fighters around the large air intake near the front of the plane. This image has since been placed on various aircraft such as American UH-1 and AH-1 helicopters during the Vietnam War as well as the modern-day A-10 Thunderbolt II, A-29 Supertucano and AT-6 Wolverine, and other vehicles both military and civilian alike. Other Cultural Icons include, Rosie the Riveter, the United States Constitution, the Colt Single Action Army, Smokey Bear, the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Columbia (name), Columbia, and Apple Pie.


History

Historical events that form a part of American folklore include: the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere#The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, Paul Revere's Ride, the
Battle of the Alamo The Battle of the Alamo (February 23 – March 6, 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution The Texas Revolution (October 2, 1835 – April 21, 1836) was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos (Hispanic T ...
, the Salem witch trials, the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the California Gold Rush, the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the Attack on Pearl Harbor.e.g. Vincent Kelly Pollard, "Pearl Harbor", in Nadeau, Kathleen M.., Lee, Jonathan H. X., eds. ''Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife, vol. 1'' (Santa Barbara CA: ABC-CLIO, 2011), 630-31.


See also

* Black Heritage Trail * John C. Campbell Folk School * Seeing the elephant


References


Further reading

* Coffin, Tristram P.; Cohen, Hennig, (editors), ''Folklore in America; tales, songs, superstitions, proverbs, riddles, games, folk drama and folk festivals'', Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1966. Selections from the ''Journal of American folklore''. * —the evolution of the Elephant Riddle that entered U.S. folklore in California in 1963
Cox, William T. with Latin Classifications by George B. Sudworth. Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods. (Washington, D.C.: Judd & Detweiler Inc., 1910)


External links


American Folklore Society


American Studies at the University of Virginia {{DEFAULTSORT:Folklore Of The United States American folklore, Folklore by country