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Selling ramps on the side of the road. Photographer - L S Eiler, 1997

[Detail] Selling ramps on the side of the road.


Collection Overview

Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia documents traditional and current day uses of South West Virginia's Big Coal River Valley as documented in 679 sound recordings and 1,256 photographs. Big Coal River Valley mountains have supported a way of life for many generations that entail hunting, gathering, subsistence gardening, as well as coal mining and timbering. The collection also documents community cultural events such as storytelling, baptisms in the river, cemetary customs, and the spring "ramp" feasts using the wild leek native to the region.

Special Features

These online exhibits provide context and additional information about this collection.

Historical Eras

These historical era(s) are best represented in the collection although they may not be all-encompassing.

  • Expansion and Reform, 1801-1861
  • The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1850-1877
  • Development of the Industrial United States, 1876-1915
  • Emergence of Modern America, 1890-1930

Related Collections and Exhibits

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Other Resources

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Search Tips

Specific guidance for searching this collection.

To find items in this collection, search by Keyword search, or by browsing the Subject Index, or Geographic Index, You may also browse by Photo Title List or Audio Title List.

For help with general search strategies, see Finding Items in American Memory.