New Glarus Swiss Festivals Collection, 1986-2000

Collection Summary

Title: New Glarus Swiss Festivals Collection
Dates: 1986-2000

  • Zarrilli, Phillip B., 1947-
Unique Identifier: CSUMC0028-CG; UW-Madison Archives Accession 2008/037 40L6

Contents: University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives: 3 folders, 24 color photographs, 9 audiocassettes, 4 micro-cassettes, 1 mini-VHS videocassette, and 39 VHS videocassettes

Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures
432 East Campus Mall, Room 332
Madison, Wisconsin 53706
Web site:

Archival Location:
UW-Madison Archives and Records Management (Map)

This collection contains documentation from Phillip Zarrilli and Deborah Neff's 1986-1989 fieldwork regarding New Glarus, Wisconsin and its Swiss summer festivals, plus materials from Ric Segovia's 1999-2000 research on the same topic. Extensive video and sound recordings capture interviews with over 80 people and numerous members of choral and musical groups involved in the village's festivals and plays, including Polkafest in May, the Heidi play and Little Switzerland Festival in June, Volksfest (Swiss Independence Day) in August, both English and German versions of the Wilhelm Tell play and the Tell parade over Labor Day weekend, and Schwingfest in late September. The documentation concerns the history of New Glarus, stories of immigration from Swiss residents, and the history of the town's public performances produced entirely by local volunteers, illustrating the importance of the festivals to the economic health and social cohesion of the community. Actors, play directors, festival organizers, shop and hotel owners, Swiss folk dancers and musicians, children, tourists, and life-long residents of New Glarus all offer stories of their experiences in the life of the community and in the festivals that express their real or adopted Swiss heritage.

Language: Manuscripts are in English, and recorded theatrical productions and music are in German and English.

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