Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

Women of the Mountain South
Identity, Work, and Activism

Edited by Connie Park Rice and Marie Tedesco

“Combines secondary and primary material in a way that no other existing book on the topic does…. It is a needed book [that represents] a milestone in the scholarship.”

Melanie Goan, author of Mary Breckinridge: The Frontier Nursing Service and Rural Health in Appalachia

“This volume offers an updated historical and intersectional feminist perspective on women in West Virginia and, more broadly, Appalachia...Women of the Mountain South would also be appealing to readers outside of academia interested in...Appalachia and the contributions of women to the histories of these places.”

West Virginia History N.S. 11, No. 1, Spring 2017

“Connie Rice Park and Marie Tedesco have masterfully organized this collection of important new essays and commentaries on a rich array of primary documents to add depth and breadth to our understanding of 200 years of diverse women’s lives and livelihood in the Mountain South.”

Patricia Beaver, coeditor of Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia

“This is a fabulous and long-overdue collection that highlights just how rich and diverse are the experiences and identities of women in Appalachia. It includes work from some of the best new scholars on the region along with important insights from seasoned veterans. Combining key documents, meaty essays, and questions for discussion, this book will surely be a gold mine for Appalachian studies, but it will also illuminate much broader themes in the gendered history of the United States. I can’t wait to assign it to a class.”

Kenneth Fones-Wolf, professor of history, West Virginia University, and coauthor of Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South

Scholars of southern Appalachia have largely focused their research on men, particularly white men. While there have been a few important studies of Appalachian women, no one book has offered a broad overview across time and place. With this collection, editors Connie Park Rice and Marie Tedesco redress this imbalance, telling the stories of these women and calling attention to the varied backgrounds of those who call the mountains home.

The essays of Women of the Mountain South debunk the entrenched stereotype of Appalachian women as poor and white, and shine a long-overdue spotlight on women too often neglected in the history of the region. Each author focuses on a particular individual or group, but together they illustrate the diversity of women who live in the region and the depth of their life experiences. The Mountain South has been home to Native American, African American, Latina, and white women, both rich and poor. Civil rights and gay rights advocates, environmental and labor activists, prostitutes, and coal miners—all have lived in the place called the Mountain South and enriched its history and culture.

Connie Park Rice is a professor in the Department of History at West Virginia University and the author of Our Monongalia: A History of African Americans in Monongalia County, West Virginia.More info →

Marie Tedesco is the director of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program at East Tennessee State University and coeditor of the Ohio University Press Series in Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Appalachia.   More info →

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: A Tapestry of Voices
    Women’s History in the Mountain South
    Connie Park Rice
  • Part One: Identity and Women of the Mountain South
  • One: Women in Cherokee Society
    Status, Race, and Power from the Colonial Period to Removal
    Marie Tedesco
  • Two: Mothers’ Day v. Mother’s Day
    The Jarvis Women and the Meaning of Motherhood
    Katharine Lane Antolini
  • Three: Female Stereotypes and the Creation of Appalachia, 1870–1940
    Deborah L. Blackwell
  • Four: Women on a Mission
    Southern Appalachia’s “Benevolent Workers” on Film
    John C. Inscoe
  • Five: Embodying Appalachia
    Progress, Pride, and Beauty Pageantry, 1930s to the Present
    Karen W. Tice
  • Documents
    • Moravian Lebenslauf (Memoir or Life’s Journey)
    • Petition for Divorce
    • Women of the Mountains
      Rev. Edgar Tufts
    • Rebel in the Mosque: Going Where I Know I Belong
      Asra Q. Nomani
    • An Undocumented Mexican Mother of a High School Dropout in East Tennessee
      Maria Alejandra Lopez
  • Questions for Discussion
  • Part Two: Women and Work in Appalachia
  • Six: Challenging the Myth of Separate Spheres
    Women’s Work in the Antebellum Mountain South
    Wilma A. Dunaway
  • Seven: Cyprians and Courtesans, Murder and Mayhem
    Prostitution in Wheeling during the Civil War
    Barbara J. Howe
  • Eight: Professionalizing “Mountain Work” in Appalachia
    Women in the Conference of Southern Mountain Workers
    Penny Messinger
  • Nine: “‘Two fer’ the Money”?
    African American Women in the Appalachian Coalfields
    Carletta A. Bush
  • Ten: Flopping Tin and Punching Metal
    A Survey of Women Steelworkers in West Virginia, 1890–1970
    Louis C. Martin
  • Documents
    • The Indenture of Mary Hollens
    • The Testimony of Mrs. Maggie Waters
    • A Working Woman Speaks
    • The Pikeville Methodist Hospital Strike
    • Poetry from the Coal Mining Women’s Support Team News
  • Questions for Discussion
  • Part Three: Women and Activism in the Mountain South
  • Eleven: In the Footsteps of Mother Jones, Mothers of the Miners
    Florence Reece, Molly Jackson, and Sarah Ogan Gunning
    Donovan Ackley III
  • Twelve: “She Now Cries Out”
    Linda Neville and the Limitations of Venereal Disease Control Policies in Kentucky
    Evelyn Ashley Sorrell
  • Thirteen: Garrison, Drewry, Meadows, and Bateman
    Race, Class, and Activism in the Mountain State
    Lois Lucas
  • Fourteen: Ethel New v. Atlantic Greyhound
    Fighting for Social Justice in Appalachia

    Jan Voogd
  • Fifteen: “Remembering the Past, Working for the Future”
    West Virginia Women Fight for Environmental Heritage and Economic Justice in the Age of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining
    Joyce M. Barry
  • Documents
    • The Petition of Margaret Lee
    • The Fight for Suffrage
    • Abortion in the Mountain South
    • Helen Louise Gibson Compton: Founder and Proprietor of The Shamrock
      Carol Burch-Brown
    • At the Intersection of Cancer Survivorship, Gender, Family, and Place in Southern Central Appalachia: A Case Study
      Kelly A. Dorgan, Kathryn L. Duvall, and Sadie P. Hutson
  • Questions for Discussion
  • Epilogue: Reflections on the Concept of Place in the Study of Women in the Mountain South
    A Roundtable Discussion with the Authors
  • Contributors
  • Index

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Retail price: $36.95, S.
Release date: March 2015
30 illus. · 504 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Retail price: $80.00, S.
Release date: March 2015
30 illus. · 504 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Release date: March 2015
30 illus. · 504 pages
Rights:  World

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