West Virginia Univeristy
Closed

Biography

Significant figures, obituaries and tributes

Beaver, Patricia.  2014.  “Engaging in Community Transformation: An Interview with Patricia D. Beaver” [b. 1948].  Appalachian Journal 41, no. 3-4 (Spring-Summer): 232-262, including Selected Bibliography.  Interview by Jared W. Gallamore, Misa L. Giroux, Jo Harris. Brittany R. Hicks, Timothy C. McWilliams, William Ritter, Rachel Ellen Simon, and David H. Walker, with Sandra L. Ballard.

Fox, Margalit.  2015.  “Jean Ritchie, Lyrical Voice of Appalachia, Dies at 92.”  New York Times, 3 June, 19(A).  1,038 words, plus photos and sound clip of Ritchie singing “Shady Grove” as she plays the dulcimer.  “Jean Ritchie, who brought hundreds of traditional songs from her native Appalachia to a wide audience...helped ignite the folk song revival of the mid-20th century....The youngest of 14 children in a farming family from Viper, Ky., Ms. Ritchie was a vital link in a chain of oral tradition that stretched back centuries.”  http://nyti.ms/1IcRIgm.

Gaventa, John.  2014.  “‘From Local to Global: Focus on the Interconnections’: An Interview with John Gaventa” [b. 1949].  Interview by Jared W. Gallamore, Misa L. Giroux, Jo Harris, Brittany R. Hicks, Timothy C. Mcwilliams, William Ritter, with Patricia D. Beaver.  Appalachian Journal 41, no. 3-4 (Spring-Summer): 310-332, including Selected Bibliography.

Grimes, William.  2016.  “Earl Hamner Jr., Who Created The Waltons, Dies at 92.”  New York Times, 26 March, 8(D).  1,042 words.  Autobiographical CBS-TV series, The Waltons (1972-1981), was set in 1930s-40s Blue Ridge Virginia and based on Hamner’s 1961 novel, Spencer’s Mountain and the 1963 film of the same name.  http://nyti.ms/1RErh8S.

Lilly, John.  2015.  “Vandalia Award Recipient: Ken Sullivan.”  Goldenseal: West Virginia Traditional Life 41, no. 3 (Fall): 38-45.  The Vandalia Award is West Virginia’s highest folklife honor.  Ken Sullivan (b. 1949) was editor of Goldenseal for 18 years until 1997 when he became  head of the West Virginia Humanities Council.

McMahan, F. Carroll.  2013.  Elkmont’s Uncle Lem Ownby: Sage of the Smokies.  Charleston, S.C.: History Press.  128 pp.  “Since his birth in 1889 in a remote part of the Smoky Mountains called Jake’s Creek, Lem Ownby became one of the region’s most famous mountain men and hermits. Ownby was sight impaired from an early age but still managed to plant an apple orchard, raise livestock and keep bees in a home he built himself. Lem saw the founding of Elkmont [Tenn.] and the rise and fall of logging operations in the pristine wilderness as the last man living within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”

Pierce, Daniel.  2014.  “Durwood Clay Dunn (1943-2014)” [in memoriam].  Appalachian Journal 41, no. 3-4 (Spring-Summer): 210-211.  Dunn is the author of Cades Cove: The Life and Death of a Southern Appalachian Community, 1818-1937 (University of Tennessee Press, 1988), UT Press’s all-time-best-selling book.

Schofield, Derek.  2015.  “Jean Ritchie obituary (American folk singer responsible for a revival of Appalachian music).”  The Guardian, 3 June.  1,000 words, plus video clip, “Rainbow Quest: Jean Ritchie - Shady Grove (1:29 min.).  http://gu.com/p/49f43/stw.

Schwartzman, Gabe.  2015.  “Peasant, Poet, Provocateur.”  Daily Yonder, 4 August.  1,582 words, plus photos and audio clip (11:47 min.).  “Don West established the Appalachian South Folklife Center in West Virginia in 1965. A half century later, the education and cultural center is still helping invigorate the ‘southern mountaineer spirit’.”   http://www.dailyyonder.com/peasant-poet-provocateur/2015/07/31/7920.  [Postcript by Wess Harris, 5 August, APPALNET listserv: “The article...is all well and good but contains the major error all too common when folks write of Don West:  No mention of Connie.  Don’s wife, Connie West, did much of the work and took the same risks as Don.  The beautiful setting that is the Appalachian South Folk Life Center would not have been purchased without her earnings.  Don was certainly an artist--a poet--but Connie was exceptional in her own right as an artist.  She painted approximately 100 portraits of Appalachians important to their own time and place.  More than 60 of these are now available through the Radford U. archives and also at Appalachian Community Services in Gay, WV.  Connie was also present and important in the founding of Highlander--the story was not just one of Myles and Don”].

Smith, Lee.  2016.  Dimestore: A Writer’s Life [autobiography; b. 1944].  Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.  224 pp.  “... the Grundy [Va.] of Lee Smith’s youth was a place of coal miners, mountain music, and her daddy’s dimestore. It was in that dimestore--listening to customers and inventing life histories for the store’s dolls--that she began to learn the craft of storytelling.  Fifteen essays: Preface: raised to leave | Dimestore | Recipe box | Kindly nervous | Lady lessons | Marble cake and moonshine | Big river | On Lou’s porch | Lightning storm | Driving Miss Daisy crazy | Goodbye to the sunset man | Blue heaven | A life in books | Angels passing | The little locksmith.