New York Folklore Announces increased Access to Publications

by Mar 14, 2023Blog0 comments

New York Folklore is pleased to announce that its website,, now provides increased access to back issues of its publication, Voices: the Journal of New York Folklore.

Founded as the New York Folklore Society in 1944, the organization quickly moved to create a publication. In 1945, The New York Folklore Quarterly, was inaugurated under the leadership of Editor, Harold Thompson and New York Folklore Society President, Louis Jones.  From the start, the quarterly journal was written in an accessible style. It provided articles on current research by folklorists and collectors; reports detailing the Society’s activities; the signature Upstate/Downstate columns which highlighted folklore activity in the New York City Metro region (Downstate) and elsewhere in the state (Upstate); and queries by readers. The Quarterly often read like a “Who’s Who” in folklore scholarship, with important essays written by notable folklorists.  Early issues include articles by Ben Botkin, Herbert Haufrecht, Edith Cutting, Norman Studer, Henry Shoemaker, Arthur C. Parker, and many others.  The Quarterly invited readers to present their own community’s history and lore, and included descriptions of folk culture collected by non-scholars.   Folklore in the schools was another keen interest of the early editorial team, with columns written specifically for educators and students interested in folk culture in New York State.

From these first beginnings, the Journal went through many derivations.  In 1977, the designation of “Quarterly” was dropped and the publication became New York Folklore, with a stronger orientation towards writing from the viewpoint of an academic journal.  New York Folklore continued for two decades until 1999, when the journal again was re-designed to become Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore. 

After becoming New York Folklore’s Executive Director, it became an ongoing preoccupation of mine to get the content of the journal out to a wider audience.  For several years, the journal sat behind a pay wall on our New York Folklore website.  Academic researchers continue to access the content through EBSCO Online, ProQuest, Gale Group, and other database programs but this access has only been for those affiliated with academic institutions.  To access the journal through our paywall has required a large amount of staff time to personally fulfill requests. When we re-designed our website in 2018/2019, access to the journal was made nigh impossible.

In response to your requests for greater access, New York Folklore has been working with the website developer, NewWhyWeb, to develop a searchable database for all past Voices articles and columns.  While we only have a decade’s worth of journal articles available today, we are working quickly to get as many issues as possible onto the website.   Because new journal issues will still only be available to current members, we also urge you to join New York Folklore to support all of our endeavors, including this increased access to content.  Check us out through this link and tell us what you think!