Appalachian Travels: The Diary of Olive Dame Campbell, Edited by Librarian Elizabeth Williams

Appalachian Travels book cover

Congratulations to librarian Elizabeth Williams on the publication of Appalachian Travels: The Diary of Olive Dame Campbell!

In 1908 and 1909, noted social reformer and “songcatcher” Olive Dame Campbell traveled with her husband, John C. Campbell, through the Southern Highlands region of Appalachia to survey the social and economic conditions in mountain communities. Throughout the journey, Olive kept a detailed diary offering a vivid, entertaining, and personal account of the places the couple visited, the people they met, and the mountain cultures they encountered.

Although John C. Campbell’s book, The Southern Highlander and His Homeland, is cited by nearly every scholar writing about the region, little has been published about the Campbells themselves and their role in the sociological, educational, and cultural history of Appalachia. In this critical edition, Elizabeth McCutchen Williams makes Olive’s diary widely accessible to scholars and students for the first time. Appalachian Travels only offers an invaluable account of mountain society at the turn of the twentieth century.

American folklorist Olive Dame Campbell (1882–1954) was the author or coauthor of numerous books, including English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians. In 1925, she founded the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina.

 Elizabeth McCutchen Williams is research librarian and assistant professor at Appalachian State University.

"A compelling account of turn-of-the-century Southern Appalachian society and culture based on the first impressions of an outsider who would later become a key interpreter of the region to the world beyond. Appalachian Travels is both an invaluable historical resource and a terrific read." — John C. Inscoe, author of Race, War, and Remembrance in the Appalachian South

"Olive Dame Campbell’s fascinating and entertaining diary contains much of the first-hand evidence gathered for the Campbell’s essential study, The Southern Highlander and His Homeland. It sheds new light on John and Olive Campbell but also on social conditions and daily life in Southern Appalachia, and the educational and religious work of protestant denominations in the area in the early twentieth century. Williams’ enlightening introduction and authoritative annotations greatly enhance the value of this work: a significant addition to Appalachian scholarship." - Fred J. Hay, Anne Belk Distinguished Professor and Librarian of the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University

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