Thelma Boltin (L), "Queen of Florida Folklife", observing action at the Folk Festival's main stage with folklorists Peggy Bulger and Doris Dyen (R)- White Springs, Florida

Thelma Boltin (L), "Queen of Florida Folklife", observing action at the Folk Festival's main stage with folklorists Peggy Bulger and Doris Dyen (R)- White Springs, Florida

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,
(please include photographer's name when noted).


  • Thelma Boltin (L), "Queen of Florida Folklife", observing action at the Folk Festival's main stage with folklorists Peggy Bulger and Doris Dyen (R)- White Springs, Florida

Image Number

  • FS82224


  • 1982

Date Note

  • Photographed in May 1982.

Series Title

General Note

  • Thelma Ann Boltin, affectionately known by many as "Cousin Thelma," was the voice and face of the Florida Folk Festival for 30 years, an institution that she helped found in 1952. Although never academically trained, Boltin was actively involved in the field of folklore for over 40 years, and became known as the "Queen of Florida Folklife.gcs She served as the 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." Born in Beaufort, South Carolina in 1904, she moved with her family to Gainesville in 1907 where she became one its most active community leaders. After a stint at Emerson College in Boston, Boltin began teaching high school speech and drama. From 1954 through the 1980s, Boltin was actively involved with the Florida Folk Festival, as co-founder, performer, promoter, director, and emcee. She died in 1992.
  • Doris J. Dyen, PhD, is currently the Director of Cultural Conservation for the River of Steel National Heritage Area in Pennsylvania. Often focusing on ethnomusicology, she worked on African American shape-note singing in Alabama for her dissertation. She also co-authored Resources of American Music History (1981), and co-produced an album of Alabama Sacred Harp singers in 1982, as well as extensive lecturing, giving public programs, and publishing several articles. For the FFP, Dyen worked on the Folklife Library Project, the Lucreaty Clark Video Project, the Ida Goodson Recording Project, the Seminole Slide Tape Project, and the West Florida Survey.
  • Peggy A. Bulger served as Floridagass State Folklorist and administrator of the Florida Folklife Program from 1976 to 1989. Not only was she Floridagass first state folklorist, she was one of the only employees during the programgass first years. Laying the foundation for todaygass diverse program, Bulger created the bulk of the fieldwork within Folklife Collectiongass first years. A native of New York State, she received her MA in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University in 1975; and her PhD in Folklife and Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. After establishing Floridagass folklife program, including apprenticeship programs, educational videos and publications, workshops, exhibits, and creating the Florida Folklife Collection, Bulger left in 1989 to work as the Folk Arts Director and Senior Program Officer for the Southern Arts Federation in Atlanta. In 1999, she was chosen as the director of Library of Congressgas American Folklife Center b1s only the second person to hold that post since the centergass creation in 1976.

Physical Description

  • 1 slide - col.

Subject Term

Geographic Term

Personal Subject

Subject Meeting

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