Selling Tradition: Appalachia & the Construction of an American Folk, 1930-1940 by Jane S. BeckerSelling Tradition: Appalachia & the Construction of an American Folk, 1930-1940 by Jane S. Becker

Selling Tradition: Appalachia & the Construction of an American Folk, 1930-1940

byJane S. Becker

Paperback | January 7, 1998

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The first half of the twentieth century witnessed a growing interest in America's folk heritage, as Americans began to enthusiastically collect, present, market, and consume the nation's folk traditions. Examining one of this century's most prominent "folk revivals"--the reemergence of Southern Appalachian handicraft traditions in the 1930s--Jane Becker unravels the cultural politics that bound together a complex network of producers, reformers, government officials, industries, museums, urban markets, and consumers, all of whom helped to redefine Appalachian craft production in the context of a national cultural identity.

Becker uses this craft revival as a way of exploring the construction of the cultural categories "folk" and "tradition." She also addresses the consequences such labels have had on the people to whom they have been assigned. Though the revival of domestic arts in the Southern Appalachians reflected an attempt to aid the people of an impoverished region, she says, as well as a desire to recapture an important part of the nation's folk heritage, in reality the new craft production owed less to tradition than to middle-class tastes and consumer culture--forces that obscured the techniques used by mountain laborers and the conditions in which they worked.

Jane S. Becker, an independent scholar, received her Ph.D. in American studies from Boston University.
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Title:Selling Tradition: Appalachia & the Construction of an American Folk, 1930-1940Format:PaperbackDimensions:360 pages, 9.29 × 5.54 × 0.93 inPublished:January 7, 1998Publisher:University of North Carolina Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0807847151

ISBN - 13:9780807847152

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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface
Introduction
1. The Domestication of Tradition
2. Creating an Appalachian America: Enlightening Our Contemporary Ancestors, 1880-1935
3. The Southern Highland Handicraft Guild: Organizing a Handicraft Culture
4. Order Out of Chaos: The Federal Government and the Industrialization of Handicrafts
5. I Start as Early as I Can and Work as Hard as I Can: Mountain Craft Producers and Their Work
6. Labor or Leisure?: Industrial Homework and the Redefinition of Craftsmanship
7. Selling Tradition
Epilogue. True American History in the Bedroom at a Price
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Illustrations
Jorena Pettway and her daughter, Gee's Bend, Alabama, making chaircovers and flower decorations, 1939
Basketry class at Denison House, Boston, 1915
Frances Densmore and Mountain Chief of the Blackfoot tribe listen to a cylinder recording, 1906
National Folk Festival Program book, 1936
Folk art from Abby Aldrich Rockefeller's collection on display at the Ludwell Paradise House in Williamsburg, Virginia
Woody Guthrie and Huddie Ledbetter, ca. 1941
Zilphia Horton of the Highlander Folk School and striking Chattanooga hosiery workers, 1940s
Migrant workers' camp near Prague, Oklahoma, 1939
Thomas Hart Benton, Ballad of the Jealous Lover of Lone Green Valley, 1934
Dr. and Mrs. Albert Einstein with Hopi Indians at the Grand Canyon, 1931
Old Familiar Tunes, special catalog from Columbia Records, 1927
Dr. Humphrey Bate and his 'Possum Hunters, ca. 1930
The Old Basket-Maker and His Wife, Kentucky, ca. 1915
Musicians at old-time fiddlers convention, ca. 1930
Cecil Sharp [and Olive Dame Campbell?] collecting old ballads and songs, ca. 1916
Weaver warping her chain, ca. 1914
Aunt Cord Ritchie teaching local women to make baskets at Hindman Settlement School, 1938
Men woodcarving at John C. Campbell Folk School, ca. 1930
Granddaughters of William Creech, Pine Mountain, Ky.
Teaching basketmaking, North Carolina, 1930s
Advertisement for handmade furniture, ca. 1938
Mrs. Anderson and her son making a hooked rug, Saluda, N.C.
Tufted candlewick spread, Blue Bell pattern
Advertisement for Eleanor Beard's hand-quilted coats, 1930s
Advertisement for Cabin Crafts needletufted bedspreads, 1942
Farm family weaving chair bottoms, Knott County, Ky., 1933
Souvenir stand, Route 41, Georgia, 1930s
Articles made of coverlet weavings and hooked mats
The Spinning Wheel, Asheville, N.C.
Advertisement for mountain pottery, ca. 1939
Advertisement for mountain basketry, ca. 1938-39
Penland Weavers and Potters' Travellog, ca. 1933
Penland Weavers and Potters' Carolina Cabin, ca. 1933-34
Advertisement for Drexel Furniture Co., 1942
Advertisement for Smithsonian quilt reproductions, 1992

From Our Editors

Examining one of this century's most prominent "folk revivals"--the reemergence of Southern Appalachian handicraft traditions in the 1930s--Jane Becker unravels the complex network of individuals and groups that helped to redefine Appalachian craft production in the context of a national cultural identity. 37 illustrations.

Editorial Reviews

"For Becker, the history of handicrafts illuminates the search for American culture as itself a phenomenon worth noticing.

"Journal of American History""