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Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History: NAFOH

A guide to the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History collection.


Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History (NAFOH)

Edward "Sandy" Ives playing guitarEdward D. “Sandy” Ives (1925–2009), was a renowned pioneer in the field of American Folklore and Oral History. He founded and served as Director of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History (NAFOH) and the Northeast Folklore Society. In 1991, Dr. Ives combined these entities, creating the Maine Folklife Center.

Dr. Ives began collecting folksongs and folktales about Maine and the Maritimes shortly after joining the faculty of the University of Maine in 1955. During his 44-year career at UMaine, Dr. Ives utilized an experiential learning pedagogy, providing opportunities for students to conduct fieldwork in folklore and oral history. Student fieldwork, as well as Dr. Ives own research, comprise a majority of NAFOH holdings described as “perhaps the finest regional archive of its kind,” by the Council of Library and Information Resources in Alexandria, Virginia.

In 2011, original NAFOH materials were sold by the University of Maine to the Library of Congress for long-term preservation. Backup and digital copies of these materials, in addition to materials accessioned by Maine Folklife Center after 2011 were transferred to Fogler Library Special Collections in 2016. Work to provide online access to the digitized collection is ongoing.

Accessing NAFOH

MFC URSUS iconFogler Library staff members are working to upload digitized items (pdfs, mp3s, jpgs) that are free from access restrictions, but it is an ongoing project.

For specific information about the collections listed on this page, please visit the NAFOH Finding Aids in DigitalCommons@UMaine.

For access to many of Dr. Ives published works, please visit the Dr. Edward D. Ives Papers in DigitalCommons@UMaine.

For access to early issues of the journal Northeast Folklore, please visit Maine Folklife Center in DigitalCommons@UMaine.

Links to these files are being added to the Special Collections's ArchivesSpace online database. 

Links to these items will also be added to the library's URSUS Catalog.  To retrieve these records,the best option is to start at the Advanced Search screen. Then for Material Type, scroll down to select ME Folklife Center. This will limit the search to only items in the folklife collections.

For more information, please contact the Special Collections Department by phone, 207.581.1686 or email,

NAFOH Statisics

The Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History collection contains

  • 3,000 sound tape reals and cassettes
  • 310 videocassettes
  • 10,000 photographs
  • 325,000 manuscripts
  • 10 DVDs

Collection Updates

Collections now available online*

*some portions of these collections may remain restricted; only files cleared for access have been made available online.

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