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Appalachia is home to countless local and regional organizations that have sought--and continue to seek--social justice and a better life for inhabitants of the region.
The tie between the Appalachian and the land is enduring and deep. Materials on farming and farm life, as well as agriculture's impact on the region, are available in the Archives.
The people of Appalachia are known for their arts and crafts. Born of necessity, handiwork reflects a love of the past as well as a desire to preserve traditional arts and crafts for future generations.
The records of businesses reflect the day-to-day lives of the region's inhabitants. Archival collections include the records of flour mills, general stores, hotels, and a variety of family businesses.
The Archives holds records that document the Civil War era in Appalachia. Included are narratives, diaries, correspondence, and reminiscences relating to the military and life on the home front.
Coal and coal mining -- a mixture of exploitation and economic benefit, pollution and reclamation, decline and renewal -- has a rich and complex history. Materials for the research of this history may be abundantly "mined" in the Archives.
The Archives' folklife collections examine such topics as social customs, religious beliefs, foodways, home remedies, storytelling, and many other aspects of life in the Appalachian region.
The Archives documents the story of work and labor in the region. What results is not the story of common or ordinary people, but rather the story of extraordinary people in ordinary circumstances.
In a sense, all history is local. The Archives documents nearby history, telling the story of the individual, the family, the community, as well as the region.
The lumber business is an important industry in southern Appalachia. Listed are materials especially useful in researching the lumber industry, logging, forests and forestry, and conservation of natural resources.
In Appalachia, folk cures and patent medicines have remained popular. The Archives holds materials that document medicine and health, from first-hand accounts of illness and death to trusted recipes for remedies and cures.
Politics, in its many forms, provides researchers with a wealth of topics to study at the national, state, and local levels. The following is a sampling of resources available in the Archives.
It was not until the late 19th and early 20th centuries that railroads finally crossed the Appalachian mountains. With the railroad came increased trade and economic development, forever changing the history of Appalachia.
The Archives has collected church histories, church records, as well as recordings of church services in order to document religious faith in Appalachia. Significant holdings on serpent-handling practices are available.
The Archives has a number of collections that document the many roles of women in southern Appalachia. Included are materials that focus on women as writers, nurses, coal miners, educators, aviators, union organizers, and community activists.