The Multimedia Collections

 "...an important cultural treasure, [which] demands to be both preserved and made accessible to those outside the Center. The CSF Collection is one of the most extensive archives of ethnographic materials in the country."   

             -- Michael Taft, Head of the Archive of Folk Culture at the Library of Congress

With the generous support of The Assisi Foundation of Memphis, The Plough Foundation, The Tennessee Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the National Park Service in association with the National Endowment for the Humanities (Save America's Treasures) we have begun to organize and digitize our archives so we can preserve and share them through this website and through the Center's outreach and educational efforts. 

Our online galleries - the SEE, HEAR and TOUCH galleries - are windows into our archives.  Every few months we present materials organized around a theme from our audio, visual and physical artifacts collections.  Our current exhibit is "Taylor Made:  The Life & Work of the Rev. L.O. Taylor".
SEE Gallery
SEE Gallery
HEAR Gallery
HEAR Gallery
TOUCH Gallery
TOUCH Gallery

The Center's Multimedia Archives on Southern life, music and culture is a vast collection of personal narratives, musical performances, film and video footage, television and radio programs, historical and contemporary photographs and many other artifacts.  With over 2,000 recordings and over 100,000 images, the Center's Multimedia Archives has a lot of material from which to draw.  While the listing below is not comprehensive, it will give you an idea of what is available for the future.  Many of these treasures are available now as CSF products through our Folklore Store on the web and in Memphis.

  • Home cut metal records
  • 78s, 45s & LPs
  • Reel to reel tape
  • Audio cassettes
  • Digital recordings
Image Photography
  • Glass negatives (4x5)
  • Film negatives (4x5, 35mm)
  • Prints (color & b/w)
  • Color slides
  • Digital images
Image Oral Histories
  • Interviews
  • Community Recordings
  • Performances
Image Moving Images
  • CSF Documentaries
  • CSF Slideshows
  • Historic Archival Footage
  • Unedited Footage
  • Documentaries about the Center


Physical Artifacts

  • Posters & Playbills
  • Correspondence
  • Personal Effects
  • Art & Crafts



Broadcast Media

  • Radio
  • Television Shows
  • News Features



* The Documentary Collection of Rev. L. O. Taylor containing photographs, film footage, recordings and artifacts.
* Over 2000 hours of recorded interviews with musicians, performers, club owners, disc jockeys, and other industry workers.
* More than 20 hours of film footage of performances, church services, congregations, baptisms, festivals, and other community events.
* Over 1250 hours of interviews conducted with performers and artists on the Center for Southern Folklore's cable television program on the Memphis Public Library's Channel.
* At least 200 hours of radio interviews.
* Twenty years of musical performances captured live at the Center for Southern Folklore's annual Memphis Music & Heritage Festival .
* Over 100,000 archival and contemporary photographs of performers, performances, and the locations where musicians lived and worked.
* A stunning collection of posters and playbills from shows, concerts and community events.
* And many other boxes yet to be opened.

The Center's Multimedia Archives include virtually unknown 78 disc recordings by Memphis' own Rev. L.O. Taylor recording gospel choirs, R&B bandleader Tuff Green recording his group's newest tunes, jug band performers like Will Shade and Laura Dukes, blues crooner A.D. "Gatemouth" Moore, sidemen and women like saxophonists Fred Ford and Evelyn Young, and legendary performers like Rufus and Carla Thomas, among others. 

Also featured in the archives are photos and objects documenting the careers of prominent Memphians such as Lucie Campbell, the music director of the National Baptist Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress, who penned such roiling gospel songs as "Touch Me, Lord Jesus," "He Understands; He'll Say 'Well Done,'" "Something Within," and "Jesus Gave Me Water;" Rev. William Herbert Brewster, a protege of Campbell's, who composed hymns like "Move on up a Little Higher" (the first million-dollar seller in the gospel genre), "How I Got Over," and "Surely God Is Able;"

We have a lot of material to choose from to create our online exhibits.  We hope you support us and have fun as we explore our collection together...


Main Office & Folklore Hall:
119 S. Main Street
At Peabody Place Trolley Stop
Memphis, TN 38103

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©2008 Center for Southern Folklore
Folklore Store:
123 S. Main Street
At Peabody Place Trolley Stop
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 525-3655
Fax: (901) 544-9965

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