Photo, Print, Drawing Mae Bongalis cracking black walnuts in her basement

About this Item

Mae Bongalis cracking black walnuts in her basement
Contributor Names
Bongalis, Mae (Depicted)
Eiler, Lyntha Scott (Photographer)
Created / Published
January 31, 1996
Subject Headings
-  Harvesting of fruits and vegetables
-  Food preservation
-  Winter
-  January
-  Walnut, black (Juglans nigra)
-  Photographs
-  Ethnography
-  West Virginia -- Raleigh County -- Naoma
-  Black walnut season is marked by the appearance on many porches of coal buckets (as five gallon plastic buckets are called) filled with aromatic green nuts ready to be cured, hulled, and then cracked. The processing of black walnuts lasted well into the winter the year Lyntha and I visited Mae Bongalis at the end of January and found her canning black walnuts in her kitchen. Her son, Shorty, had set up a "walnut cracking station" in the basement, where he spent hours at the laborious work of removing the flavorful nut meats from the notoriously hard shells. Nut cracking and wise cracking went together in that space, which sported a sign: "Wal-nut: Not affiliated with Walmart." Sound recordings in this collection detail a variety of ways to process and consume black walnuts.
-  Event: Preservation of black walnuts with Mae Bongalis.
35 mm Color Slide
Call Number/Physical Location
AFC 1999/008: CRF-LE-C070-02
Source Collection
Coal River Folklife Collection (AFC 1999/008)
American Folklife Center
Digital Id
Online Format
IIIF Presentation Manifest
Manifest (JSON/LD)

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Credit line

Coal River Folklife Project collection (AFC 1999/008), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Bongalis, Mae, and Lyntha Scott Eiler. Mae Bongalis cracking black walnuts in her basement. Naoma Raleigh County West Virginia, 1996. Photograph.

APA citation style:

Bongalis, M. & Eiler, L. S. (1996) Mae Bongalis cracking black walnuts in her basement. Naoma Raleigh County West Virginia, 1996. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Bongalis, Mae, and Lyntha Scott Eiler. Mae Bongalis cracking black walnuts in her basement. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.