Series Description

Record Group Number:


Series Number:

.S 1580


Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs. Florida Folklife Archive


Thelma Ann Boltin folklife papers, 1955-1967.


1.30 cubic fet

Medium Included:


Organization / Arrangement:

Alphabetical by subject, then chronological.

Biographical / Historical:

A few recordings have access restrictions.

Terms Governing Use:

Legislation of 1979 (79-322, SB 1208) transferred to the Department of State the Florida Folk Arts component of the Stephen Foster Memorial and authorized appointment of a Folk Life Director to oversee the program. The Florida Folk Life Program was charged to "identify, research, and develop Florida folk artists, performers, folklore, traditions, customs, and cultural heritage and make folk art resources, festivals, and folk life projects available throughout the state."

Known as the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs from ca. 1985 until a 1995 reorganization, the bureau operated under the Division of Historical Resources, coordinating the annual Florida Folk Festival and directing such programs as Folk Arts Apprenticeships, Folk Arts in Education, Folk Heritage awards, and numerous research and collecting projects and programs. Part of the bureau was the Florida Folklife Archive, originally established in 1976 and maintained by the bureau as a depository for field notes and research findings of the folklife program and for the folklife collections of other researchers. 

Since 1995, the Florida Folklife Program has operated within the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources in Tallahassee and continues most of the same programs as the Bureau.

Thelma Ann Boltin, affectionately known as "Cousin Thelma," was actively involved in the field of folklore for over 50 years. She was born in Beaufort, South Carolina in 1904, and moved with her family to Gainesville in 1907. She was actively involved with the Gainesville Little Theatre and the University of Florida Players. 

In 1954, she became the director of the Stephen Foster Memorial Folk Festival after dedicating her energies from its inception in 1952, and served in this capacity for many years to come. 

She was the first certified full-time speech teacher in Florida for Florida Public Schools, and has become known as the "Queen of Florida Folklife, "a human institution among the ranks of Floridians dedicated to preserving and collecting folkways in the state. She has served as chairman of folk music for the Florida and National Federation of Music Clubs and was the recipient of a national award from the American Association for State and Local History for "contributions to preservation and popularization of Florida folkways, folklore, and folk music."


This series consists mainly of forms, pamphlets, lists, programs, correspondence, publications, credentials, reports, questionnaires, clippings, and instructional material that pertain to Thelma Ann Boltin's involvement in the Florida Folk Festival and the Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center in White Springs, the Florida Federation of Music Clubs, and the National Federation of Music Clubs. The information focuses on the development and enrichment of folk music at the state and national levels, and includes coverage of annual conventions, folk festivals, and Jeannie competitions, as well as bi-annual board meetings. In addition there are collections of superstitions, folk tales and children's rhymes; photos of Thelma Boltin and others at the Florida Folk Festival and other locations; radio scripts from a series recorded at the Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center between late 1963 and 1964; preliminary sketches of dresses; various songbooks; and a scrapbook of clippings, photos, and other miscellaneous items.

Finding Aids:

Folder listing available.

Associated Materials:

Series S1577, Photographs and Slides of Folk Arts, Artisans, and Performers, contains slide carousels to accompany audio tapes in this series for slide/tape programs produced by the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs.

Subject Access Fields:

Muir, Clifton J., Mrs.
Boltin, Thelma Ann, 1904-1992
Florida Federation of Music Clubs
National Federation of Music Clubs
Florida. Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center.
Performing arts Florida
Women History 20th century Florida
Folk music Florida
Folk festivals Florida
Folklore Florida
Folklore Performance Florida
Folk songs Florida
Folk singers Florida
Folk literature Florida
Folklore and education Florida
Music Societies, etc
Children Folklore Florida
Photographs. aat
Radio scripts. aat
Songbooks. aat
Preliminary sketches. aat
Scrapbooks. aat
Florida Social life and customs
Florida Songs and music
Florida Folk Festival
Boltin, Thelma Ann, 1904-1992 
Florida Folklife Program
Florida. Dept. of State. --Division of Historical Resources.


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