Leonard Norman Primiano, PhD (1957-2021)
Western States Folklore Society joins the community of Cabrini University, the American Folklore Society, and folklorists far and wide in mourning the passing on July 25 of Leonard Norman Primiano, an honored and beloved member of the faculty at Cabrini.
Many of us remember well the “David and Leonard Show” of years past, when he joined Prof. David Hufford at AFS Annual Meetings in sessions devoted to the intersection of folklore and spirituality. We remember particularly the way Leonard would open the sessions with his cheery “Good morning [afternoon], folklorists!” And we would respond in unison, “Good morning [afternoon], Leonard!” So popular those sessions became that they were virtually plenary, requiring the merging of two adjacent presentation spaces to accommodate everyone. Leonard continued to give presentations even after throat cancer surgery required the use of audio amplification. He will be sorely missed.
The scope of Leonard’s researches and publication on what he came to term “vernacular religion” were extensive and included the LGBTQ Catholic group Dignity and Father Divine’s Peace Mission. He was particularly interested in sacred material culture and he wrote about painted and metal ex-votos, Catholic holy cards, and “Sister” Ann Ameen’s hooked rugs.