The Irish Folklore Commission Questionnaire System, 1936-1945
Folsom, Christina Marie
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This project examines the importance of the forty-nine questionnaires issued between 1935 and 1945 by the Irish Folklore Commission. The Irish questionnaire system was modelled on the use of the collecting tool in Scandinavian folklore archives. Questionnaire systems were well suited to collecting large amounts of material on a particular subject quickly. The IFC was attempted to document a disappearing ‘Gaelic culture’ and time was an important factor in the choice of collecting methods. The questionnaires collected information on various historian, folklore, ethnological, archaeological, linguistic, botanist, and medical topics. Some of the questionnaires were issued for particular scholar’s research. This thesis discusses various scholars’ use of this collecting tool and how this improved the Irish Folklore Commission’s scholarly contacts in Ireland and abroad. It adds to the history of Irish intellectual life between 1936 and 1945. During the difficult Emergency years the questionnaire system consumed the IFC’s time. This thesis provides a further analysis of the history of the IFC, in this period, by consulting previously underused documentation in the National Folklore Collection. This documentation was utilised to provide a further analysis of Irish identity during this period, the relationship between Government sponsored folklore organization and the rural population.