Regional Works

Abramson, Ruth and Jen Haskell, eds. Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2006.

A collaborative project assembling the contributions of nearly one thousand Appalachian scholars, this single-volume collection boasts over 1700 pages, an index of contributors, and a comprehensive general index. The Encyclopedia of Appalachia contains five broad categories: Landscape, People, Work & Economy, Cultural Traditions, and Institutions. Each category has several sub-sections under which are located thousands of specific entries covering a geographic range from New York to Mississippi. This text is most useful as a quick Appalachian reference. Also useful are the suggested, related, additional readings listed after each entry. Content is appropriate for middle school age and up, and is a valuable tool for all academic levels.

Adams, Frazier B. Appalachia Revisited: How People Lived Fifty Years Ago. Ashland, KY: Economy Printers, 1970.

Published in 1970, Adams reinforces stereotypical notions of those living in the Appalachian Mountains as isolated and backward. Adams includes chapters about feuding, mountain superstitions, and producing moonshine, as well as one section on crafts in the region.

Biggers, Jeff. The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independent Culture and Enlightenment to America. Washington, D.C.: Shoemaker and Hoard, 2006.

In this recent re-examination of Appalachia, Biggers argues that the roots of American culture and politics are in this region. The author utilizes the contributions of Appalachian residents in a wide variety of events and eras in American history, from the Over Mountain Men in the Revolutionary War to the Highlander Folk School in the civil rights movement, to make his argument. Although there is only a short section related to Craft Revival efforts, this book remains of value as a very different representation of Appalachia than the stereotypical notions held by many, arguing instead that this was a progressive society of history, literature, and music.

Blethen, Tyler and Curtis Wood. From Ulster to Carolina: The Migration of the Scotch-Irish to Southwestern North Carolina. Cullowhee, NC: Mountain Heritage Center, 1983.

This small but informative book examines the population migration into the Southern Appalachians. It begins with an examination of the migration from Scotland to Ulster, and then continues with immigration to America. Tracing this story of movement down the “Great Wagon Road” to their new home in North Carolina, this book attempts to discover the identity of these early immigrants.

Blethen, Tyler and Richard Straw, eds. High Mountain Rising: Appalachia in Time and Place. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004.

This collection of essays addresses many of the aspects associated with Appalachian living, from early history, to modernization, and even stereotypes. One essay by Michael Ann Williams entitled “Folklife” addresses the craft traditions in the mountains. Briefly addressing the crafts of basketry, weaving, quilting, and carving, this essay gives a history and overview of each. Although, not very detailed, this essay does paint the setting in which these crafts moved from necessity to art.

Campbell, John C. The Southern Highlander and His Homeland. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1921.

Campbell defines the nature of the southerner and illustrates his/her relationship to the land, culture, and social organizations of southern Appalachia. Examples of southern highland descent, population, the extreme value of religious ideal, and education are used to demonstrate the development of southern mountain life. No direct correlation is made to the Craft Revival; however, Campbell examines and discusses the processes that contributed to the movement.

Drake, Richard B. A History of Appalachia. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2001.

This book serves as a comprehensive history of Appalachia. Drake extensively explores the history of Appalachia from Native Americans to current stereotypes. Although rich in details, the Craft Revival movement is somewhat overlooked.

Edwards, Grace Toney, JoAnn Aust Asbury, and Ricky L. Cox, eds. A Handbook to Appalachia: An Introduction to the Region. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2006

A Handbook to Appalachia provides an excellent interdisciplinary introduction to the field of Appalachian studies that would be useful to both the general public and academic researchers. This collection of essays thoroughly covers a wide range of topics such as history, education, folklife, and the visual arts and explores how these and other diverse subjects are related to each other. Of particular interest is the Visual Arts essay written by Anna Fariello. This chapter explores the artistic traditions of Appalachia, including the Craft Revival, and examines the relationship of art with the region’s history and culture. A suggested reading list accompanies each essay.

Kephart, Horace. Our Southern Highlanders. NY: Outing Publishing Company, 1913

Kephart’s classic work defined and introduced mountain culture to the American public. Based on over ten years of living and travel in the southern Appalachian Mountains, Kephart details the lifestyles of the people who inhabited the area. Kephart’s maps, anecdotes and rich descriptions of mountain life remain valuable to those interested in the study of Appalachian culture. His accounts of mountain life would also be useful for those seeking insight into the culture and economic realities of the early Craft Revival participants.

Rheder, John B. Appalachian Folkways. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2004.

This book touches on many aspects of Appalachian folk life including: the settlers of and ethnicities which contribute to the region's, food, architecture, folk remedies, folk art, folk music, folk speech, folk beliefs, and folk festivals. There is a considerable amount of endnotes and other documentation in the book which is divided up by chapter. There are maps, photographs, and tables. There is only one chapter which concentrates on folk arts and crafts specifically. This chapter discusses self-sufficiency, handcrafted objects, baskets, weaving, and quilting, in addition to craft guilds and crafting schools like the John C. Campbell Folk School, and the Hindman Settlement School. While the book is interesting and informative, a relatively small portion of it is focused on folk art.

Shapiro, Henry. The Southern Mountains and the Mountaineers in the American Consiousness, 1870-1920. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1978.

While not specifically focused on folk art, this book is dedicated to Appalachia and contains a chapter called “Creating Community and Culture in Appalachia: Folk Schools and the Crafts Revival” in addition to a chapter on the folk song revival. These two chapters discuss the creation of folk schools and craft industries to help the mountain people help themselves and to offer an alternative to leaving the mountains to work in mill towns. The chapters also discuss the preservation of mountain folkways and handicrafts as an important element of Appalachian culture and a source of economic activity. Other chapters discuss the discovery of Appalachia, Protestant home missions, history and environment, ethnicity and culture, the Appalachian community, economic modernization, the Americanization (or standardization) of Appalachia, and regionalism. The book contains endnotes, a bibliography, and an index, but no illustrations.

Sheppard, Muriel Earley. Cabins in the Laurel. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991.

Sheppard describes a life of utility in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Appalachia. Vivid photographs by Bayard Wootten, a relative of Penland founder Lucy Morgan, show the terrain, people, agriculture, and overall subsistence patterns employed. The author describes life in Toe River Valley, NC, and the effects of war on the region. Included is an interpretation of how mountain life remained distinct from the folkways of the eastern interior.

Starnes, Richard. Southern Journeys: Tourism, History and Culture in the Modern South. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2002.

This collection edited by Starnes, a history professor at Western Carolina University, offers 11 essays examining the economic impact of tourism in Southern history. Covering much of the south, specific mention of the Appalachian Mountains is limited to an essay by Anne Whisnant analyzing the Blue Ridge Parkway and proposed advertising opportunities. Starnes' contribution is an informative history of tourism in North Carolina following the Great Depression.

Wigginton, Eliot, ed. The Foxfire Book. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1972.

This is a compilation of articles from the first run of the Foxfire magazine, a student-generated high school magazine focused on the culture and heritage of Appalachia. Included are articles giving instruction on how to build a log cabin; how to make butter; the history of moonshine; and other craft-based skills. It is collection of memories as well as solid information, offering a nice history of the region alongside the preservation of local culture and heritage.

Williams, John Alexander. Appalachia: A History. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

Carving the history of Appalachia into five time periods, Williams presents a detailed account of the people and events in Appalachia. From DeSoto’s first exploration of Appalachia to present-day renewal efforts, Williams takes the reader through multiple aspects of Appalachian history. There is no specific discussion of the Craft Revival movement but it does discuss craft making.

Williams, Michael Ann. Great Smoky Mountains Folklife. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1995.

Williams’ book is divided into three sections: an historical overview of the settlement and displacement of the Great Smoky Mountains; section two examines various folk traditions and changes in the past century; and the final section focuses on folklife generated by the creation of the National Park.

Williams, Michael Ann. Homeplace: The Social Use and Meaning of the Folk Dwelling in Southwestern North Carolina. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1991.

Utilizing numerous interviews with residents of the southwestern North Carolina Appalachians, Williams explores the traditions and functional use of a home. The work examines the structures as more than historical artifacts but as a social hub for family life. Focusing on the style and design of the house, Williams attempts to connect the relationship between use and physical form.

Bibliography prepared by Anna Fariello.
Annotations written by Jason Woolf and Patrick Velde.
Edited by Bob Strauss and Ann Hallyburton.