People Archive

  • Bayard Wootten was a photographer of Southern Appalachia and its people. In the 1920s she came to western North Carolina to record everyday life. She is best known for her portrait photography, especially of working people living in rural agricultural communities.

    Bayard Wootten

    Bayard Wootten was a photographer of Southern Appalachia and its people. In the 1920s she came to western North Carolina to record everyday life. She is best known for her portrait photography, especially of working people living in rural agricultural communities.

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  • Francis Asbury was the circuit-riding founder of the Methodist Church in America. From his arrival in America in 1771, he tirelessly rode on horseback throughout the Eastern United States, concentrating on frontier communities that lacked churches.

    Francis Asbury

    Francis Asbury was the circuit-riding founder of the Methodist Church in America. From his arrival in America in 1771, he tirelessly rode on horseback throughout the Eastern United States, concentrating on frontier communities that lacked churches.

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  • When people are asked to name words that they associate with the Appalachian region, one of the first words off […]

    Bill Monroe

    When people are asked to name words that they associate with the Appalachian region, one of the first words off […]

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  • One voice seized me more than the rest. Over a simply picked banjo, the voice sang mournfully about a mole in the ground. Elsewhere, the same voice preached, over that same simple banjo, about dry bones. Like so many folk tunes, these told strange, elliptical stories, dense with images, exploding with emotion.

    Bascom Lamar Lunsford

    One voice seized me more than the rest. Over a simply picked banjo, the voice sang mournfully about a mole in the ground. Elsewhere, the same voice preached, over that same simple banjo, about dry bones. Like so many folk tunes, these told strange, elliptical stories, dense with images, exploding with emotion.

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  • Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson is a living legend.  Born in Deep Gap, North Carolina, in 1923, into a family with a rich musical tradition, Young Arthel lost his vision to an eye infection prior to his first birthday. He learned ballads and sacred songs from his mother and from the radio.

    Doc Watson

    Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson is a living legend. Born in Deep Gap, North Carolina, in 1923, into a family with a rich musical tradition, Young Arthel lost his vision to an eye infection prior to his first birthday. He learned ballads and sacred songs from his mother and from the radio.

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  • Etta Baker was an important Appalachian blues guitarist. Born in North Carolina’s Piedmont in 1913, she spent her adult life in the mountain town of Morganton. Her mixed African-American, Irish, and Native American heritage gave her important insights into many different musical styles.

    Etta Baker

    Etta Baker was an important Appalachian blues guitarist. Born in North Carolina’s Piedmont in 1913, she spent her adult life in the mountain town of Morganton. Her mixed African-American, Irish, and Native American heritage gave her important insights into many different musical styles.

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  • Thomas Wolfe was born to Julia and W.O. Wolfe in 1900. The youngest of eight children, he grew up living in the boardinghouse operated by his mother in Asheville, North Carolina. His childhood experiences influenced him greatly and aided the development of his future literary topics.

    Thomas Wolfe

    Thomas Wolfe was born to Julia and W.O. Wolfe in 1900. The youngest of eight children, he grew up living in the boardinghouse operated by his mother in Asheville, North Carolina. His childhood experiences influenced him greatly and aided the development of his future literary topics.

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  • In 1934, the United States Congress officially established what is today the most popular National Park in the country, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As a result, over 500,000 acres of scenic. . .

    Horace Kephart

    In 1934, the United States Congress officially established what is today the most popular National Park in the country, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As a result, over 500,000 acres of scenic. . .

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  • Wilma Dykeman of Asheville, North Carolina, was a major Appalachian author. Her novels “The Tall Woman,” “The Far Family,” and “Return the Innocent Earth” vividly evoke life in the region as it experienced rapid change between the Civil War and the 20th century.

    Wilma Dykeman

    Wilma Dykeman of Asheville, North Carolina, was a major Appalachian author. Her novels “The Tall Woman,” “The Far Family,” and “Return the Innocent Earth” vividly evoke life in the region as it experienced rapid change between the Civil War and the 20th century.

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  • Nestled deep in Appalachia, in Flat Rock, North Carolina, is Connemara, a beautiful 245-acre farm. It is world-renowned for producing prized dairy goats. It is famous for another reason, as well. . .

    Carl Sandburg

    Nestled deep in Appalachia, in Flat Rock, North Carolina, is Connemara, a beautiful 245-acre farm. It is world-renowned for producing prized dairy goats. It is famous for another reason, as well. . .

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  • Cratis Williams gained international fame for documenting and interpreting Appalachian culture and language. Born in eastern Kentucky in1911, he spent most of his professional life as a teacher and administrator at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

    Cratis Williams

    Cratis Williams gained international fame for documenting and interpreting Appalachian culture and language. Born in eastern Kentucky in1911, he spent most of his professional life as a teacher and administrator at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

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  • For over forty years Allen Eaton was an important figure in the arts and crafts movement in Appalachia. In 1919 the Oregon native met Olive Campbell who was beginning her work as founder of the John C. Campbell Folk School.

    Allen Eaton

    For over forty years Allen Eaton was an important figure in the arts and crafts movement in Appalachia. In 1919 the Oregon native met Olive Campbell who was beginning her work as founder of the John C. Campbell Folk School.

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  • George Washington Vanderbilt II was born into money. His grandfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt, amassed a huge railroad and shipping empire. His father, William Henry Vanderbilt, financed the founding of New York’s Metropolitan Opera and Vanderbilt University. . .

    Biltmore Estate

    George Washington Vanderbilt II was born into money. His grandfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt, amassed a huge railroad and shipping empire. His father, William Henry Vanderbilt, financed the founding of New York’s Metropolitan Opera and Vanderbilt University. . .

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  • In 1905 Asheville’s Catholic community built the Basilica of St. Lawrence, a church specially designated by the pope for its dramatic architecture. . .

    Basilica of St. Lawrence

    In 1905 Asheville’s Catholic community built the Basilica of St. Lawrence, a church specially designated by the pope for its dramatic architecture. . .

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  • Melungeon identity is one of the intriguing, unsolved mysteries of Appalachia. The term has been in use since the early 19th century. In general it has referred to dark-skinned, mixed race families of the central and southern Appalachians.

    Melungeons

    Melungeon identity is one of the intriguing, unsolved mysteries of Appalachia. The term has been in use since the early 19th century. In general it has referred to dark-skinned, mixed race families of the central and southern Appalachians.

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