The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife

Exploring Early American Folklore and Culture

The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife is a continuing series of conferences, exhibitions, and publications whose purpose is to explore everyday life, work, and culture in New England’s past. Founded on the premise that traditional lore and material folk culture are rapidly disappearing in New England, the series focuses attention on emerging areas of folk studies, regional and local history, cultural geography, historical archaeology, and vernacular and antiquarian studies. Conferences are held in June or July of each year with concurrent exhibitions at participating museums and art galleries. Dublin Seminar conferences are sponsored by Historic Deerfield.

Topics are announced at the conference of the preceding year. Selected and edited transcripts of papers presented at Dublin Seminar conferences are published each year as the Annual Proceedings. Catalogues of exhibitions accompanying Dublin Seminar conferences are published separately. Named after the town of Dublin, New Hampshire, where the series started in 1976, the conference has met at Deerfield, Massachusetts, since 1989; Historic Deerfield began its sponsorship after 2008.


Call for papers

Entertainments at Taverns and Long Rooms in New England, 1700-1900

The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife (founded 1976) is pleased to announce the subject of next year's conference, Entertainments at Taverns and Long Rooms in New England, 1700-1900, to be held in Deerfield, Massachusetts, June 21-23, 2019.

The Seminar is now accepting proposals for papers, presentations, and performances concerning all types of popular entertainments, including singing and small theatrical groups,street musicians, strolling magicians, and animal showmen, operating in New England taverns, long rooms, coffeehouses, exhibition rooms, assembly halls, barns, and open-air rotundas from 1700 through 1900. Performers to be considered will include magicians, slack-wire artists, rope flyers, tightrope walkers, pantomimists, electrical machine operators (and accompanying healers), demonstrators of automata and perpetual motion machines, puppeteers, sleight-of-hand artists, ventriloquists, peep-box entertainers, lantern showmen, card-players, trick riders, prize-fighters, fortune tellers, firework specialists, parachute jumpers, and hot-air or hydrogen balloonists. Also of interest are papers addressing gambling, vaudeville, and prostitution, as well as stationary exhibits such as waxwork museums and profile or physiognotrace machines, and community-based amateur entertainments. Preference will be given to analytical papers exploring subjects such as the cultural origin of these acts; the roles of ethnicity, race and class; their actual popularity; the involvement of children; patterns of advertising and self-naming; the influence of maritime presence and activities; as well as the larger role of competing professional English and French theater and singing troupes. Special consideration will be given to talks accompanied by demonstrations. Our primary focus is on New England, but papers dealing with New York State, adjacent areas of Canada, and the middle and southern colonies are also encouraged.

The Seminar seeks presentations that reflect original research, especially those based on primary or underused resources, such as material culture, archaeological artifacts, advertising and flyers, letters and diaries, vital records, and federal and state censuses, as well as newspapers, portraits, prints and photographs, business records, recollections, autobiographies, and handed-down memories (i.e., oral histories).

Entertainments in Taverns and Long Rooms in New England, 1700-1900, will be held in Deerfield, Massachusetts, June 21-23, 2019 and will consist of approximately seventeen lectures or presentations of twenty minutes each, with related tours and workshops. Selected papers will appear as the 2019 Annual Proceedings of the Dublin Seminar to be published about eighteen months after the conference.

To submit a paper proposal for this conference, please e-mail a one-page prospectus that cites sources and a one-page vita or biography by February 10, 2019.

Please send proposals to:

Peter Benes, Director 
The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife
Historic Deerfield
P.O. Box 321
Deerfield, MA  01342

E-mail: pbenes@historic-deerfield.org

To register for this year’s seminar, please visit the event page.

Publications for Sale:

Seminar Proceedings, exhibition catalogues, and occasional publications generated by conferences held from 1976 through 2007 are available for purchase through Historic Deerfield's Museum Gift Shop and Bookstore.  View available publications.

For more information:
Peter Benes, Director
The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife
Historic Deerfield, P.O. Box 321, Deerfield, MA  01342
E-mail: dublinseminar@historic-deerfield.org
Phone: 978-369-7382

Past Dublin Seminar topics

1976   Puritan Gravestone Art
1977   New England Historical Archaeology
1978   Puritan Gravestone Art II
1979   New England Meeting House and Church
1980   New England Prospect: Maps, Place Names, and the Historical Landscape
1981   The Bay and the River
1982   Foodways in the Northeast
1983   American Speech: 1600 to the Present
1984   Itinerancy in New England and New York
1985   Families and Children
1986   The Farm
1987   Early American Inventories
1988   House and Home
1989   New England/New France
1990   Medicine and Healing
1991   Algonkians of New England
1992   Wonders of the Invisible World
1993   New England’s Creatures: 1400‒1900
1994   Painting and Portrait Making in the American Northeast
1995   Plants and People
1996   New England Music
1997   Textiles in Early New England: Design, Production, and Consumption
1998   Rural New England Furniture: People, Place, and Production
1999   Textiles in New England II: Four Centuries of Material Life
2000  New England Celebrates: Spectacle, Commemoration, and Festivity
2001  Women’s Work in New England, 1620‒1920
2002  The Worlds of Children, 1620‒1920
2003  Slavery/Antislavery in New England
2004  New England Collections and Collectors
2005  Life on the Streets and Commons
2006  New England Diaries 1: Diary Diversity, Coming of Age
2007  New England Diaries 2: Neighborhoods, War, Travel, and History
2008  New England and the Caribbean
2009  Waterways and Byways, 1600‒1890
2010  Dressing New England: Clothing, Fashion, and Identity
2011   New England and the Civil War
2012   The Irish in New England
2013   Foodways in the Northeast II: A Second Helping
2014  Let the Games Begin: Sports and Recreation in New England
2015  Schooldays in New England: 1650-1900
2016  New England at Sea: Maritime Memory and Material Culture
2017 Small World: Toys, Dolls and Games in New England
2018 Religious Spaces: Our Vanishing Landmarks


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