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Our Southern Highlanders: A Narrative of Adventure in the Southern Appalachians and a Study of Life among the Mountaineers by Horace Kephart

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The first book I'm aware of that attempted to portray the unique culture of Southern Appalachia was The Loyal Mountaineers of Tennessee by Thomas William Humes, pubished in 1888. But Our Southern Highlanders is generally considered one of the big three books that gained national recognition of our sub-culture. The first was The Spirit of the Mountains by Emma Bell Miles (1905). Horace Kephart's Our Southern Highlanders (1913) stands in stark contrast to Miles's feminine, arguably feminist, perspective and exhaustive treatment of all aspects of mountain culture. Kephart's book tells of going on a man hunt with he sheriff, going on a still hunt with revenuers, going on a bear hunt with good ole boys, etc. It is very masculine, but also more fascinating and fun than The Spirit of the Mountains. In 1921 The Southern Highlander and His Homeland by John C. Campbell was published. Campbell had actually died in 1919, but his wife, Olive Dame Campbell finished and edited his work and published it under his name. This book essentially looked upon the mountains as a mission field, but included statistics and aspired to be more scholarly. It is also less fun. There were other books that appeared in this era, perhaps most notably Samuel Tyndale Wilson's The Southern Mountaineers (1906), but none attracted the attention that the big three did. Kephart was a librarian in St. Louis when he decided to pursue a dramatically different lifestyle and moved to the North Carolina side of what became the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

 

Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, a 1976  reprint of a 1913 release. 474 pages. Trade paperback.