Folklore Magazine was launched in the summer of 1979. The Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society (SHFS) has published it continuously ever since. The creators of the magazine intended for it to record “our human situation…human interest stories and articles on the past and present and future…relating to Saskatchewan or the prairie in general.” Eighteen years into publication, they summed it up this way: “The primary purpose of Folklore is to contribute to the preservation of Saskatchewan’s social history.”
Folklore is an excellent resource for Canadian historians interested in daily life. The magazine offers prairie history in fine-grained resolution, opening a window into what it is like to be from this place. Agricultural history, rural life, the Great Depression, and other topics of interest to environmental historians are well represented. So too are a wide range of more unusual topics: growing marijuana as a windbreak in the 1930s, finding a Balloon Bomb, or making homemade snuff. Humorous stories like “Dad the Chicken” shed light on how prairie people kept themselves entertained. Further, Folklore contains information on how prairie people experienced global events, such as the launch of Sputnik or the Cold War.
To date, Folklore contains over 2400 articles by almost 600 different authors, as well as hundreds of poems. Stories are often based on personal experiences. As such, the magazine contains valuable primary source material on how Saskatchewan people, over forty years, have recorded their own history for audiences of the future. Pioneering stories are prevalent. The purpose of these stories, in part, is to place a comfortable frame around uncomfortable colonial relationships. There is a great deal of opportunity for historians who wish to unpack the individual and collective experiences and cultural understandings behind these stories.
Because of the wide-ranging authorship, no two editions are alike. Whatever your area of interest, it is well worth taking a browse through our finding aids. Our website contains searchable PDFS of back issues, a list of titles, and an index that has been maintained throughout 40 years of publication.
If you would like to search for specific words or topics, we have PDFS compiled by decade, available by contacting the SHFS office. The SHFS staff are happy to help you find what you are looking for!
The SHFS is delighted that, after forty years, this valuable source of prairie history is finally accessible to all. We hope people will benefit from these preserved “facets of life,” as their original authors intended.
- Banting, Meredith. “Introducing Folklore.” Folklore Magazine, Volume 1, No. 1 (Summer 1979), pp.3.
- Wood, Richard. “18 Years of Folklore.” Folklore Magazine, Volume 18, No. 4 (Autumn 1997), pp.18.
- Banting, 3.