Folklore Archive

U.C. Berkeley's Folklore Archive contains more than 500,000 items of folklore from around the world, organized in alphabetical order by country or geographical area, and then catalogued according to genre. The Archive houses items from almost two hundred countries, though the bulk of material is Anglo-American. Genres include blason populaire, counting-out rhymes, jokes, folk beliefs, dance, drama, folkspeech, games, legends, mnemonic devices, songs and song parodies.  Special classifications include religious lore, family lore, and scout lore.  American, Amish, Cajun, Creole, Jewish, Roman and Native American lore are classified independently.  Lore from all other 'hyphenated-Americans' constitute sub-sets of the file section for the group's country of origin. Detailed indexes of the material are kept according to guidelines set down by The Cataloging Service, Bulletin 104, May 1972. The Archive also contains various special collection projects from the Bay Area community.

For each item of folklore, the name, age, occupation, and ethnic background of the informant are listed with a brief exegesis including the context in which the item is used, the circumstances of collection, the informant's explanation of the item and its meaning, and interpretation and analysis by the collector.

This is a non-circulating archive. Researchers are welcome to work on the premises during regular hours or by appointment.

To Contribute to the Collection:

All non-English items should be presented both in the original script (if applicable) and in romanized transliteration. Word-by-word translation is crucial and should precede a translation written to correspond to English syntax. A clear explication of meaning, contextual information, and details about informants are extremely important as well. Please ask for collecting guidelines and sample entries.

Procedure for Archive Use:

Refer to the archive index to find the file number of the material needed. An archivist will pull the file for you. Please ask for assistance.


Shakthi Nataraj is Head Archivist at the UC Berkeley Folklore Archive (110 Kroeber Hall) and a second year graduate student in the Folklore Program. She can be reached at

Cultural Analysis

The Folklore Archive also functions as the operational hub for peer-reviewed journal, Cultural Analysis. The journal's editorial board includes some of the leading folklorists in the world and provides an opportunity for interdisplinary dialogue on folklore and popular culture.

Archive Hours

Location and Contact Information