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.
These online exhibits provide context and additional information about this collection.
- Seasonal Round of Activities on Coal River
- Stalking the Mother Forest: Voices Beneath the Canopy
- American Ginseng and the Idea of the Commons
- Ramp Suppers, Biodiversity, and the Integrity of "The Mountains"
- Seining for Hellgrammites on Coal River
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
- American Life Histories
- Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier
- FSA-OWI Photographs
- Quilts and Quiltmaking in America
- Touring Turn-of-the-Century America
Recommended additional sources of information.
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For help with general search strategies, see Finding Items in American Memory.