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The American Folklore Society is the USmarker-based professional association for folklorists, with members from the US, Canadamarker, and around the world. It was founded in 1888 by William Wells Newell, who stood at the center of a diverse group of university-based scholars, museum anthropologists, and men and women of letters and affairs. At present, almost half of its 2,200 members practice their work outside of higher education. In addition to professors, members include museum curators, librarians, arts administrators, freelance researchers, and others involved in the study and promotion of folklore and traditional culture. The Society is based at the Ohio State Universitymarker and has an annual convention every October. The Society's quarterly publication is the Journal of American Folklore. The American Folklore Society is a member organization in the American Council of Learned Societies.

Over the years, prominent members of the American Folklore Society known outside of academic circles have included Mark Twain, Joel Chandler Harris, Zora Neale Hurston, Franz Boas, Ella Deloria, Ben Botkin, Alan Lomax, John A. Lomax, Jan Harold Brunvand, William Ferris, John Miles Foley and Marius Barbeau. The current president is Elaine Lawless, Curators' Distinguished Professor of English and Women's Studies at the University of Missourimarker. Past presidents include Samuel Preston Bayard and Henry Glassie.

The Society's Women's section inaugurated 1983 two prizes in the memory of anthropologist Elli Köngäs-Maranda.

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