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Encyclopedia > Folklore of the United States
Arts of the
United States

Comic books
Visual arts Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... This article discusses the culture of the United States; for customs and way of life, see Culture of the United States. ... The United States has a history of architecture that includes a wide variety of styles. ... An American comic book is a small magazine originating in the United States containing a narrative in the comics form. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Closely related to the development of American music in the early 20th century was the emergence of a new, and distinctively American, art form -- modern dance. ... American literature refers to written or literary work produced in the area of the United States and Colonial America. ... The United States is home to a wide array of regional styles and scenes. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Theater of the United States is based in the Western tradition, mostly borrowed from the performance styles prevalent in Europe. ... The Rocky Mountains, Landers Peak, 1863 by Albert Bierstadt, one of the Hudson River School painters Visual arts of the United States refers to the history of painting and visual art in the United States. ...

The folklore of the United States, or American folklore, is one of the folk traditions which has evolved on the North American continent since Europeans arrived in the 16th century. While it contains much in the way of Native American tradition, it should not be confused with the actual tribal beliefs of any real band, nation or community of native people. American folklore is essentially about immigrants and their misunderstanding of each other, and of the new landscape they found themselves conquering, and of the people that had already been there when the first European colonists arrived. North America North America is a continent[1] in the Earths northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ... This article is about the people indigenous to the United States. ...


Founding myths

The founding of the United States is often surrounded by legends and tall tales. Many stories have developed since the founding long ago to become apart of America's folklore and cultural awareness, and non-native American folklore especially includes any narrative which has contributed to the shaping of American values and belief systems. These narratives may be true and may be false; the veracity of the stories is not a determining factor. Three so-called "founding myths" (or national myths) include: Christopher Columbus, the Pilgrims, and George Washington. In historical context The factual accuracy of this section of this article is disputed. ... A founding myth is a story or myth surrounding the foundation of a nation-state. ... A national myth is an inspiring narrative or anecdote about a nations past. ...

Christopher Columbus

Though Christopher Columbus did not participate in the founding of the American government, he has been interpreted as a "founder" of the American nation, in that it is descended from the European immigrants who would not have moved to the New World if Columbus had not found where it was. Indeed, one particularly pervasive story is that Columbus discovered America, as it is far easier to elevate a man to heroic status than to reflect the reality among complex series of waves of immigrants from multiple conditions and walks of life. According to some stories, Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in order to prove that the world was round, because he expected to reach the Far East by sailing west. Like most legendary "founders" Columbus' mission is then rendered entirely noble, intellectual and rational. He helped dispel the inaccurate beliefs of his time, and, so, it is concluded, the nation he founded must be a nation of intellect and logic. Washington Irving is the first citation for this belief. The 20th century, however, saw a decrease in the prestige of Columbus' legend as skepticism about Europeans' activities in the New World and elsewhere has become more prevalent. Christopher Columbus (1451 – May 20, 1506) was a navigator and colonialist who is one of the first Europeans to discover the Americas, after the Vikings. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American author of the early 19th century. ...


The holiday of Thanksgiving is said to have begun with the Pilgrims in 1621. They had come to America to escape religious persecution, but then nearly starved to death due to the unfamiliar land. Some friendly Native Americans (including Squanto) helped the Pilgrims survive through the first winter. The perseverance of the Pilgrims is celebrated during the annual Thanksgiving festival. As a legend, this story relates to the founding of the culture. The Pilgrims' dedication to their cause in spite of the hardships renders the foundation of the country, and therefore the country itself, seem stronger and more resilient. It is also a fertility festival, similar in some ways to other harvest-time celebrations in other cultures, celebrating the nourishment that comes from the earth. It was also said that the Pilgrims were the first colony in the New World, but before that, there were some French and Spanish colonies, as well as other English colonies. Some English colonies in America that predated Plymouth Rock include Roanoke settlement, which was later overtaken by or integrated with Native American tribes, and the Jamestown Settlement, which was successful and predated the Pilgrims' settlement by 20 years. For the Canadian holiday, see Thanksgiving (Canada). ... This article is about a particular group of seventeenth-century European colonists of North America. ... 1621 was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 10-day slower Julian calendar). ... This article is about the people indigenous to the United States. ... This article is about the actual historical figure. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... A map of the Roanoke area, by John White Roanoke Island is an island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. ... This article is about the people indigenous to the United States. ... Sketch of Jamestown c. ...

George Washington

George Washington, the country's first president, is often said to be the founder of the United States. Since his death, Washington has been "mythologized", with many anecdotes and stories about his life told, in general, to present the founder of the modern American nation as a just and wise cultural hero. For example, it is said that Washington, as a young child, chopped down his father's cherry tree. His angry father confronted the young Washington, who proclaimed "I can not tell a lie" and admitted to the transgression, thus illuminating his honesty. Parson Mason Locke Weems is the first citation of the legend, in his 1850 book, The Life of George Washington: With Curious Anecdotes, Equally Honorable to Himself and Exemplary to His Young Countrymen. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) is also known to have spread the story while lecturing, personalizing it by adding "I have a higher and greater standard of principle. Washington could not lie. I can lie but I won't." Stories of national value often have similar themes – that the founder of the nation, Deucalion, George Washington, Abraham – was a wise, virtuous and brave man. George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799)[1] led Americas Continental Army to victory over Britain in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), and in 1789 was elected the first President of the United States of America. ... A culture hero is a historical or mythological hero who changes the world through invention or discovery. ... Parson Weems Fable by Grant Wood (1939) Parson Mason Locke Weems (1756-1825) was an American printer and author known as the source for almost all of the half-truths about George Washington, the Father of his Country, including the famous tale of the cherry tree. ... For the game, see: 1850 (board game) 1850 (MDCCCL) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday [1] of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910),[1] better known by the pen name Mark Twain, was an American humorist, satirist, lecturer and writer. ... Deucalion In Greek mythology, Deucalion, or Deukálion (new-wine sailor) was the name of at least two figures: a son of Prometheus, and a son of Minos. ... “Abram” redirects here. ...

American tall folk and their tall tales

Apocryphal people

For other uses, see Paul Bunyan (disambiguation). ... Iron John is a fairy tale found in the collections of the Brothers Grimm about a wild man and a prince. ... The roots of Ipomoea jalapa, when dried, are carried as the John the Conquer root amulet. ... Statue of John Henry outside the town of Talcott in Summers County, WV. John Henry is an African-American folk hero, who has been the subject of numerous songs, stories, plays, and novels. ... Statue of Johnny Kaw in Manhattan, Kansas Johnny Kaw is a mythical Kansas settler and the subject of a number of Paul Bunyan-esque tall tales about the settling of the territory. ... Molly Pitcher depicted in 1859 engraving Molly Pitcher was a nickname given to a woman who may have fought in the American Revolutionary War. ... Walt Disneys Pecos Bill atop Widowmaker Pecos Bill is a legendary American cowboy, apocryphally immortalized in numerous tall tales of the Old West during American westward expansion into the Southeast of Texas, New Mexico and Arizon. ... Stagger Lee (also known as Stagolee, Stackerlee, Stack OLee, Stack-a-Lee and by several other spelling variants) was an African American murderer whose crime was immortalized in a blues folk song, which has been recorded in hundreds of different versions. ...

Historical men

Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ... Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799) was a prominent figure in the American Revolution, known and remembered primarily for his stirring oratory. ... For other persons named John Hancock, see John Hancock (disambiguation). ... For the song by the Beastie Boys, see Paul Revere (song). ... This article is about the historical figure. ... Simon Kenton Statue at Simon Kentons grave in Urbana, Ohio Simon Kenton (April 3, 1755 - April 29, 1836) was a famous United States frontiersman and friend of Daniel Boone. ... Leatherman, June 9, 1885 The Leatherman (ca. ... Lewis and Clark The Lewis and Clark expedition (1804–1806) was the first United States overland expedition to the Pacific coast and back, led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark, of the United States Army. ... Colonel David Crockett (August 17, 1786 – March 6, 1836) was a celebrated 19th-century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician; usually referred to as Davy Crockett and by the popular title King of the Wild Frontier. He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives, served in the... This 1820 oil painting by Chester Harding is the only portrait of Daniel Boone made from life. ... Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American poet, short story writer, playwright, editor, literary critic, essayist and one of the leaders of the American Romantic Movement. ... For other uses, see Abraham Lincoln (disambiguation). ... Charles Goodnight Charles Goodnight (March 5, 1836 – December 12, 1929) was a cattle rancher in the American West. ... Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (March 19, 1848–January 13, 1929) was an American farmer, teamster, sometime buffalo hunter, officer of the law in various Western frontier towns, gambler, saloon-keeper, and miner. ... John Henry Doc Holliday (August 14, 1851 – November 8, 1887) was an American dentist, gambler, and gunfighter of the American Old West frontier who is usually remembered for his associations with Wyatt Earp and the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. ... Not to be confused with William Wild Bill Hickok, American football player. ... Kit Carson Christopher Houston Kit Carson (December 24, 1809 – May 23, 1868) was an American frontiersman. ... Artists rendition of Joaquin Murrieta (artist unknown, ca. ... // For other uses, see Robert E. Lee (disambiguation). ... Portrait of Sitting Bull taken in 1885 by D. F. Barry. ... Jesse Woodson James (September 5, 1847–April 3, 1882) was an American outlaw, the most famous member of the James-Younger gang. ... For other uses, see Billy the Kid (disambiguation). ... For the Filipino boxer, see Francisco Guilledo. ... Portrait of The Brave Engineer himself: John Luther Casey Jones, 1863-1900. ... Buffalo Bill Cody William Frederick Buffalo Bill Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917) was an American soldier, bison hunter and showman. ... Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910),[1] better known by the pen name Mark Twain, was an American humorist, satirist, lecturer and writer. ... Joshua A. Norton Joshua Abraham Norton (January 17, 1811 - January 8, 1880), also known as His Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, was a celebrated citizen of San Francisco who famously proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico in 1859. ... Mike Fink, {b. ... This article is about the pitcher and outfielder. ... For other persons named Robert Johnson, see Robert Johnson (disambiguation). ... Joe Hill, born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund, and also known as Joseph Hillström (October 7, 1879 – November 19, 1915) was a radical songwriter, labor activist and member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also known as the Wobblies. ... General Jonathan Moulton was to play an important role in the early history of New Hampshire and many tales of his adventures would become the stuff of legend. ... John Dillinger John Dillinger (June 22, 1903 – July 22, 1934) was an American bank robber, considered by some to be a dangerous criminal, while others idealized him as a latter-day Robin Hood. ... Charles Arthur Pretty Boy Floyd. ... Lester Joseph Gillis (December 6, 1908 – November 27, 1934), aka George Nelson but better known as Baby Face Nelson, due to his youthful appearance, was a diminutive (5 4 tall) bank robber in the 1930s. ... Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (July 14, 1912–October 3, 1967) was a prolific American songwriter and folk musician. ... Jack Roosevelt Jackie Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) became the first African-American major league baseball player of the modern era in 1947. ... For the film, see James Dean (film). ... The Rat Pack The Rat Pack was a nickname given to a group of 1950s entertainers, which included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. ... “Elvis” redirects here. ... For the song of the same name, recorded by Tracy Byrd and later by Jason Aldean, see Johnny Cash (song). ... John Kennedy and JFK redirect here. ... Ranald MacDonald, in Nagasaki, Japan. ... For other persons named Muhammad Ali, see Muhammad Ali (disambiguation). ... Martin Luther King redirects here. ... Robert Craig Evel Knievel, Jr. ... For other persons named Michael Jordan, see Michael Jordan (disambiguation). ...

Historical women

This article does not cite its references or sources. ... For the film, see Calamity Jane (1953 film) Calamity Jane at age 33. ... Harriet Tubman (c. ... For the 2004 film, see La Llorona (film). ... Lizzie Borden. ... Typhoid Mary in a 1909 newspaper illustration Mary Mallon (September 23, 1869 – November 11, 1938), also known as Typhoid Mary, was the first person in the United States to be identified as a healthy carrier of typhoid fever. ... Alleged portrait of Marie Laveau, which hangs in the Louisiana State Library in the Cabildo. ... A fictionalized engraving of Maria Monk, in a nuns habit, holding a baby. ... Mary Harris Jones (August 1, 1837 – November 30, 1930), better known as Mother Jones, was a prominent American labor and community organizer, and Wobbly. ... Annie Oakley (August 13, 1860 – November 3, 1926) b. ... Bonnie and Clyde clowning. ... For other persons named Betsy Ross, see Betsy Ross (disambiguation). ... Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist and seamstress whom the U.S. Congress dubbed the Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement. Parks is famous for her refusal on December 1, 1955 to obey bus driver James Blake... Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962), was a Golden Globe Award-winning American actress, singer, model and pop icon. ...

Native Americans

For other uses of the name Hiawatha, see Hiawatha (disambiguation). ... This 1848 drawing of Tecumseh was based on a sketch done from life in 1808. ... For other uses, see Pocahontas (disambiguation). ... This article is about the actual historical figure. ... For other uses, see Geronimo (disambiguation). ... Sacagawea (Sakakawea, Sacajawea, Sacajewea; see below) (c. ... Portrait of Sitting Bull taken in 1885 by D. F. Barry. ... For other uses, see Crazy Horse (disambiguation). ...

Legendary and folkloric creatures

It has been suggested that Evidence regarding Bigfoot be merged into this article or section. ... For other uses, see Chupacabra (disambiguation). ... For the 2004 film, see La Llorona (film). ... The Skunk Ape or Florida Skunk Ape is a hominid cryptid said to inhabit the Southeastern United States. ... Mothman is the name given to a strange creature reported in the Charleston and Point Pleasant areas of West Virginia between November 1966 and December 1967. ... The fur-bearing trout (or furry trout) is a fictitious creature supposedly native to the northern regions of North America, particularly Canada, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and the Great Lakes. ... For other uses, see grays (disambiguation). ... An exceptionally lucky rabbit gets to keep all four of its feet. ... This article is about the folkloric animal. ... The mythical companion of Paul Bunyan, Babe measured 42 axe handles and a plug of chewing tobacco between his horns. ... The Nain Rouge, French for red dwarf or red gnome, is a mythical creature that haunts Detroit, Michigan, United States and feared by its residents as the harbinger of doom. ... The Jersey Devil redirects here. ...

Locations and Landmarks

Plymouth Rock, described by some as the most disappointing landmark in America because of its small size and poor visitor access. ... Independence Hall is a U.S. national landmark located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets. ... This article is about the bell. ... For other uses, see White House (disambiguation). ... For the river in Canada, see Mississippi River (Ontario). ... Great Basin region, typical American West The Western United States has played a significant role in history and fiction. ... Ellis Island, at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbor, was at one time the main entry facility for immigrants entering the United States from January 1, 1892 until November 12, 1954. ... For other monuments to freedom, see Monument of Liberty. ... Alternate meanings of Route 66: New Jersey State Highway 66, Interstate 66, and a company named after the route US Highway 66 or Route 66 was and is the most famous road in the United States highway system and quite possibly the most famous and storied highway in the world. ... This article is about the harbor in Hawaii. ... For other uses, see Disneyland (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Graceland (disambiguation). ... A Vietnam Veteran beside the wall (Photo: Patrick André Perron) The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a national war memorial located in Washington, D.C., that honors members of the U.S. armed forces who had died in service or are unaccounted for during the Vietnam War. ... For other uses, see World Trade Center (disambiguation). ...

Cultural archetypes and icons

For other uses, see Cowboy (disambiguation). ... An entrepreneur (a loanword from French introduced and first defined by the Irish economist Richard Cantillon) is a person who operates a new enterprise or venture and assumes some accountability for the inherent risks. ... John D. Rockefeller Sr. ... For other uses, see Gangster (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Gang (disambiguation). ... This article is about computer hacking. ... Singer of a modern Hippie movement in Russia The hippie subculture was a youth movement that began in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread around the world. ... {{refimprove| // The term Hill-Billies is first encountered in documents from 17th century Ireland. ... Juvenile delinquency refers to criminal acts performed by juveniles. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Outlaw motorcycle club. ... This article is about the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. ... A family of Russian settlers in the Caucasus region, ca. ... Prospecting is the physical search for minerals, fossils, precious metals or mineral specimens, and is also known as fossicking. ... Navy quarterback Aaron Polanco sets up to throw. ... This article is about a stereotypical description. ... This article is about the national personification of the USA. For other uses, see Uncle Sam (disambiguation). ...

Literature and the arts

Horatio Alger, Jr. ... Little House on the Prairie is a childrens book by Laura Ingalls Wilder that was published in 1935. ... Stephen Vincent Benét (July 22, 1898 – March 13, 1943) was a United States author, poet, short story writer and novelist. ... Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American author of the early 19th century. ... Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was an American poet whose works include Paul Reveres Ride, A Psalm of Life, The Song of Hiawatha and Evangeline. He also wrote the first American translation of Dante Alighieris Divine Comedy and was one of the five members... For other persons named Robert Johnson, see Robert Johnson (disambiguation). ... Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American poet, short story writer, playwright, editor, literary critic, essayist and one of the leaders of the American Romantic Movement. ... Norman Percevel Rockwell (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978) was a 20th century American painter. ... Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910),[1] better known by the pen name Mark Twain, was an American humorist, satirist, lecturer and writer. ... Parson Weems Fable by Grant Wood (1939) Parson Mason Locke Weems (1756-1825) was an American printer and author known as the source for almost all of the half-truths about George Washington, the Father of his Country, including the famous tale of the cherry tree. ... Uncle Remus was a fictional character, the title character and fictional narrator of a collection of African American folktales adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris, published in book form from 1881. ... Cooper portrait by John Wesley Jarvis, 1822 James Fenimore Cooper (September 15, 1789 – September 14, 1851) was a prolific and popular American writer of the early 19th century. ... Nathaniel Hawthorne (born Nathaniel Hathorne; July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) was a 19th century American novelist and short story writer. ... Beats redirects here. ... For other persons named Stephen King, see Stephen King (disambiguation). ...


Native American Big Mouth Spring with decorated scalp lock on right shoulder. ... The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was discovered at Sutters Mill. ... The classic vision of the American cowboy, as portrayed by Frederic Remington A cowboy (Spanish vaquero) tends cattle and horses on cattle ranches in North and South America. ... Ellis Island, at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbor, was at one time the main entry facility for immigrants entering the United States from January 1, 1892 until November 12, 1954. ... The Hatfield clan in 1897. ... Captivity narratives are stories of people captured by uncivilized enemies. ... A section of Benjamin Wests The Death of General Wolfe; Wests depiction of this Native American has been considered an idealization in the tradition of the Noble savage (Fryd, 75) In the 18th century culture of Primitivism the noble savage, uncorrupted by the influences of civilization was considered... Norumbega (or Norumbègue, Nurumbega, etc) was a legendary settlement in northeastern North America. ... Frank E. Webner, pony express rider c. ... 1876 illustration of the courtroom; the central figure is usually identified as Mary Walcott The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings by local magistrates and county court trials to prosecute people alleged to have committed acts of witchcraft in Essex, Suffolk and Middlesex Counties of Massachusetts in 1692... Wagon Train was a television series on NBC from 1957 to 1962 and on ABC from 1962 to 1965. ...

Contemporary folklore

For other uses, see Conspiracy theory (disambiguation). ... Faxlore is a sort of folklore: an urban legend that is circulated, not by word of mouth, but by fax machine. ... Legend tripping, in the folklore of the United States, is a name recently bestowed by folklorists and anthropologists on an adolescent rite of passage in which a usually furtive nocturnal pilgrimage is made to a site which is alleged to have been the scene of some tragic, horrific, and possibly... This is a list of character-based movie franchises, in which many movies are made about the same main character, who may be played by different actors. ... An urban legend or urban myth is similar to a modern folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. ... For the pirate flag, see Jolly Roger. ... For other uses, see Superhero (disambiguation). ...

Songs and games

An 1800 depiction of jumping rope A jump rope, rope skipping, skipping rope or skip rope is the primary tool used in the game of skipping played by children and many young adults, where one or more participants jump over a spinning rope so that it passes under their feet... Stickball is a street game related to baseball, usually formed as a pick-up game, in large cities in the Northeastern United States (especially New York City). ... Sandlot Ball, is an North American adolescent game that generally follows the basic rules of baseball. ... A counting-out game is a simple game intended to select a person to be it, often for the purpose of playing another game. ... Oh My Darling, Clementine is an American western folk ballad usually credited to Percy Montrose (1884), though sometimes to Barker Bradford. ...


Image File history File links Question_book-3. ...

Further reading

  • Ed Cray and Marilyn Eisenberg Herzog (January 1967). "The Absurd Elephant: A Recent Riddle Fad". Western Folklore 26 (1): 27–36. doi:10.2307/1498485.  — the evolution of the Elephant Riddle that entered U.S. folklore in California in 1963

A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ...

See also

For other uses, see American Dream (disambiguation). ... A frontier is a political and geographical term referring to areas near or beyond a boundary, or of a different nature. ...

External links



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