The Cabinet of Folksongs is a collection of orderly amount of manuscripts containing folksongs and other folklore materials collected by Latvian researcher and editor Krišjānis Barons (1835 – 1923) and held in a specially designed editor’s cabinet. Work on collecting folksongs started in 1868 in order to demonstrate that Latvian culture in its oldest part is of equal value as the culture of other nations. Folklore was a tool to become acquainted with our own culture and to struggle for the recognition of the national identity of Latvia. Over time the Cabinet of Folksongs became the symbol of Latvian culture and a part of the memory of the world.
The Cabinet of Folksongs contains 268 815 small sheets with 4-8 folk song rows or other different texts (puzzles, adages, etc.) written on each of them. Krišjānis Barons, editor of “Latvju Dainas” – Collection of Latvian folksongs – also called the Father of Folksongs, made his own system how to put in order folksongs and chose one form – 4 rows on a single sheet. Drawers are marked with a type of songs and volume number. The Cabinet of Folksongs has 3 bigger drawers where other significant documents are held – letters addressed to K. Barons, word index for folksongs and some small tools.
The Cabinet of Folksongs was made in 1880 in Moscow to systemize texts of folksongs sent to the editor. The height of the Cabinet of Folksongs is 160 cm, width – 66 cm and depth – 42 cm. The original of the Cabinet of Folksongs is located in the Archives of Latvian Folklore since 1940.
The content of the Cabinet of Folksongs during the World War II was documented in more than 500 microfilms, which are held now in the National Library of Latvia. The content of the Cabinet of Folksongs is published electronically on www.dainuskapis.lv
Visual material: Aldis Pūtelis