Emma Bell Miles

Emma Bell Miles (1879 –1919) was a gifted writer, poet, naturalist, and artist with a keen perspective on Appalachian life and culture. She chronicled her home region through her prolific journals, illustrations, essays, poetry, and fiction.

Listed in: Short Stories · Ohio and Regional · American Literature · Women Authors · Diaries and Journals




The Common Lot and Other Stories · The Published Short Fiction, 1908–1921
By Emma Bell Miles · Edited by Grace Toney Edwards · Introduction by Grace Toney Edwards

The seventeen narratives of The Common Lot and Other Stories, published in popular magazines across the United States between 1908 and 1921 and collected here for the first time, are driven by Emma Bell Miles’s singular vision of the mountain people of her home in southeastern Tennessee. That vision is shaped by her strong sense of social justice, her naturalist’s sensibility, and her insider’s perspective.

“We’re just beginning to understand Miles’s creative output. The publication of her short stories, seen again in print for the first time in a hundred years, marks an important contribution to scholarship on rural Appalachian fiction and her role in women’s fiction of the era. Grace Toney Edwards is the leading authority today on Miles’s writings, and is the one to interpret and bring these stories forward.”

Steven Cox, editor of Once I Too Had Wings: The Journals of Emma Bell Miles, 1908–1918




Finalist for the 2015 Weatherford Award

Once I Too Had Wings · The Journals of Emma Bell Miles, 1908–1918
By Emma Bell Miles · Edited by Steven Cox · Foreword by Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt

Previously examined only by a handful of scholars, the journals of Emma Bell Miles (1879–1919) contain poignant and incisive accounts of nature and a woman’s perspective on love and marriage, death customs, child raising, medical care, and subsistence on the land in southern Appalachia in the early twentieth century.

“A crucial, rare, and enlightening resource. This work has the potential to deepen our understanding of the challenges and rewards of Appalachian women writing.”

Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt