Palmetto Country

Palmetto Country

Stetson Kennedy collected folklore and oral histories throughout Florida for the WPA between 1937 and 1942. The result was this classic Florida book, back in print for the first time in more than twenty years with an Afterword update and dozens of historic photographs never before published with this work. Alan Lomax said, "I doubt very much that a better book about Florida folklife will ever be written."

“I don't know of any book on my whole shelf that hits me any harder than Palmetto Country. It gives me a better trip and taste and look and feel for Florida than I got in the forty-seven states I've actually been in body and tramped in boot. If only, and if only, all our library books could say what [Kennedy does]—the jokes and songs and old ballads about voodoo and the hoodoo and the bigly winds down in your neck of the woodvine.”  --Woody Guthrie Folk Musician and singer-songwriter, This Land is Your Land



Florida Frontiers “Florida Folklorist Peggy Bulger”

Peggy Bulger wanted to follow in Stetson Kennedy’s footsteps. In fact, Bulger wrote her doctoral dissertation about him.

As head of the Florida Writer’s Project for the Works Project Administration in the 1930s and ‘40s, Kennedy traveled throughout the state documenting the traditions, folktales, and folk songs of Florida’s diverse population. He recorded the oral histories of Greek sponge divers in Tarpon Springs, Latino cigar rollers in Ybor City and Key West, Seminole Indians at Big Cypress, and many others.

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