Home Missions Movement in Appalachia


This pathfinder contains materials written about the early home missions movement covering the years 1880-1940, which includes the local color writing period, the Christian America movement, the Social Gospel movement, and the early crafts revival activity.  The years 1880-1940 saw major changes happen in the Southern Appalachians primarily as the result of influences originating outside the region.  Capitalists and missionary intellectuals alike came to the region with the idea of “modernizing” it, and to bring “mainstream” American culture to the area.  The missionary intellectuals were mainly from the northern states, such as Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York.  They set up craft schools (settlement and folk schools), established Sunday schools, Vacation Bible Schools and established their personal denominations in the area.  Though they came as missionaries, the Southern Mountain region was already predominantly Christian, with many mountain inhabitants belonging to such Baptist denominations as Old Regular Baptists, Old Regular Baptist Universalists, and German Anabaptist denominations such as Mennonites, Moravians, Brethren churches, etc.  Other mountaineers were Cherokee, and still others Jewish.  All, Christian and otherwise, were seen as prospective converts by missionaries.  Though not as well remembered for having done so as the “mainline” Protestant churches, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Catholic Church, and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church also sent missionaries to the Southern Mountains.

Introductory Text: 

McCauley, Deborah V.  Appalachian Mountain Religion:  A History.  Urbana, Ill.:  University of Illinois Press, 1995.
ASU SPEC APP COLL     BR 535.M38 1995

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 
  • Anabaptists-Appalachian Region, Southern
  • Appalachian Region, Southern-Church History
  • Baptists-Education-Appalachian Region, Southern
  • Baptists-Missions-Appalachian Region, Southern
  • Cherokee Indians-Missions
  • Episcopal Church-Missionary District of Asheville
  • Episcopal Church-Missions-Appalachian Region, Southern
  • Georgia-Church History
  • Glenmary Home Missioners
  • Home Missions
  • Home Missions-Appalachian Region, Southern. 
  • Home Missions-History
  • Home Missions-Periodicals
  • Home Missions-Societies Etc
  • Home Missions-Southern States-History
  • Home Missions-United States
  • Indians of North America-Missions
  • Mennonites-Appalachian Region, Southern.
  • Methodist Episcopal Church, South-Southern States-Missions
  • Missions-Appalachian Region, Southern.
  • Missions-Appalachian Region-Periodicals
  • Missions-Appalachian Region, Southern
  • Missions-Kentucky
  • Missions-Southern States
  • Missions-US-History-Sources
  • Missions-Virginia
  • Mormon Church-Missions-Southern States
  • Mountain Whites-Southern States
  • Mountain Whites-Southern States-Education
  • North Carolina-Church History
  • Presbyterian Church–Education-Appalachian Region, Southern-History
  • Presbyterian Church–Missions-Appalachian Region, Southern-History
  • Presbyterian Church-North Carolina
  • Presbyterian Church-West Virginia-History
  • Presbyterian Church in the U.S.-Missions
  • Presbyterian Church in the USA Asheville Presbytery
  • Presbyterian Church in the USA-Missions
  • Red Bird Mission (Beverly, Ky.)
  • Sisters of Divine Providence of Kentucky-Missions
  • South Carolina-Church History
  • Southern Baptist Convention-History
  • Southern States-Church History
  • Tennessee-Church History
  • United Methodist Church (US)-Missions-Appalachian Region
  • Virginia-Church History
  • West Virginia-Church History
  • Women in Missionary Work
  • Women Missionaries
  • Women Missionaries-United States
Clipping Files Subject Headings - W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 
  • Alice Lloyd College; Appalachia-Social Programs; Berea College, Berea, KY; John C. Campbell Folk School; Religion
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • BR535
  • BR555
  • BV625
  • BV 2082
  • BV 2372
  • BV 2550
  • BV 2775
  • BV 2766
  • BV 2793
  • BV 2803
  • BX5959.A66
  • BX 7990
  • BX 8384
  • BX 8347
  • BX 8947
  • BX8967.A6
  • BX 8968
  • E 99.C5
  • F 210.W7
  • LC 562
  • LD 7501

Albanese, Catherine L.  America: Religions and Religion.  Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub. Co., 1981.

Campbell, John C.  The Southern Highlander and His Homeland.  [1921]  Spartanburg, SC: Reprint Co.  1973. 

Dorgan, Howard.  The Old Regular Baptists of Central Appalachia: Brothers and Sisters in Hope. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1989.
ASU SPEC APP COLL     BX6389 .D67 1989 

Goodykoontz, Colin B.  Home Missions on the American Frontier. [1939]  New York: Octagon Books.  1971 
WCU     BV2765.G62

Hooker, Elizabeth R.  Religion in the Highlands.   New York: The Home Missions Council.  1933. 

Shapiro, Henry.  Appalachia On Our Mind.  Chapel Hill:  University of North Carolina Press, 1978. 
ASU SPEC APP COLL      F217.A65 S52

To Win the West; Missionary Viewpoints, 1814-1815.  Religion in America Series, II.  [1844] New York: Arno Press, 1972. 
ASU SPEC APP COLL     BR540.T6 1972 

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Abramson, Rudy and Haskell, Jean.  Encyclopedia of Appalachia.  Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2006. 
(See: Outsiders and Summer People, p. 229; Protestant Missionary Communities, p. 1345)


Appalachian Bibliography, 1980.  Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Library, 1980.
(See: Missions and Missionaries)
ASU SPEC APP COLL     Z1251.A7 A6 1980    

Bibliography of Southern Appalachia.  Boone, NC: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1967. 
(See: Missions and Missionaries; Religion and Religious Bodies)
AUS SPEC APP COLL     Z1251.A7 B5x

Abstracts and Indices: 

America: History and Life. EbscoHost. Western North Carolina Library System, Carol Grotnes Belk Library. http://0-web.ebscohost.com.wncln.wncln.org/ehost/search?vid=1&hid=4&sid=26f65733-6030-493d-9d44-7cfc0226ee83%40sessionmgr10

ATLAReligion. FirstSearch. Western North Carolina Library System, Carol Grotnes Belk Library. http://0-newfirstsearch.oclc.org.wncln.wncln.org/WebZ/FSPrefs?entityjsdetect=:javascript=true:screensize=large:sessionid=fsapp6-56502-g1angidd-4hw7fe:entitypagenum=1:0


American Missionary.  The American Missionary Association.  New York: The Association, 1846-1934.  WCU microfilm     Scattered issues (1846-1914)

Annual report of the Student Associate Mission. Episcopal Church. Missionary District of Asheville. Student Associate Mission. [North Carolina?: Student Associate Mission, 1906-?]
ASU SPEC APP COLL CLOSED  BX5969 .A66    Bound: 3rd (Summer 1908)

CORAspondent. The Commission on Religion in Appalachia.  Knoxville, Tenn.: The Commission.  ASU SPEC APP COLL     BV625 .C67     Scattered issues (1982-2002)

Minutes... Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Woman's Executive Committee for Home Missions.  New York : The Committee. 1878-1897. 

Mountain life and work.  Council of the Southern Mountains. Berea, Ky.: Berea College,
ASU SPEC APP COLL     GR103 .M5     Bound: v.1-17; v.20-42; v.44-64, 1988
Microfilm: v.1, 1925-v.52, 1976

Blethen, H. Tyler.  Rev. of Appalachian Mountain Religion: A History, by Deborah Vansau McCauley. Georgia Historical Quarterly (1995) 79(4): 962-963.

McCauley, Deborah Vansau.  Rev. of The Old Regular Baptists of Central Appalachia: Brothers and Sisters in Hope, by Howard Dorgan.  Georgia Historical Quarterly (1990) 76(4): 761-763.

Other Sources: 

American Home Missionary Society.  American Home Missionary Society Papers, 1816-1894.  WCU microfilm 310, various reels

Davison, Dexter Ralph, Jr.  Frederick W. Neve: Mountain Mission Education in Virginia, 1888-1948.  (Ph.D. diss., University of Virginia, 1982). 
ASU SPEC APP COLL MIC           Micro-Fiche 46 

Hoffman, Robert John.  Catholic Evangelization in Mission Communities in Rural Appalachia: Reflections on Personal and Glenmary Experiences.  (Ph.D. diss., Lancaster Theological Seminary, 1993.)
ASU SPEC APP COLL MIC           Micro- Fiche 176

Plattner, Elissa May.  How Beautiful Upon the Mountains:  the Sisters of Divine Providence and their mission to Kentucky Appalachia.  (Ph.D. diss., University of Cincinnati, 1987). 
SPEC APP COLL MIC  Micro-fiche F682

Pollitt, Phoebe Ann.  Emily Prudden and Her Schools. (Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina, Greensboro 1994.) 
ASU SPEC APP COLL MIC           Micro- Fiche 132

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Erica Collins, 9 November 1998

Updated by: 

Updated: Blaze Pappas, 8 October 2009