Craft Revival

From the 1880s until World War II, Appalachian crafts were rejuvenated by a cultural revival.  It was led by missionaries and social workers who wanted both to preserve Appalachian culture, but also to improve the wellbeing of mountain people.  Because most of these improvers were middle-class women from outside the region, they sometimes provoked a clash of values.  In 1930, crafts leaders from throughout Appalachia met in Asheville to create the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, which claimed the role as an arbiter of mountain craft standards and as primary marketer.  The more Appalachian crafts were marketed, the more issues of cultural authenticity were debated.  While this craft revival aimed at preserving mountain crafts, it also, ironically, served to alter them.

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