Catholicism and Judaism in Appalachia


Both Catholicism and Judaism have had a significant presence for many years in Appalachia. Although neither religious group has large numbers of practitioners in the Appalachian region, both have maintained a small, but strong voice. Despite the long- standing presence of both these religions, few resources provide a detailed analysis and narrative of Catholicism and Judaism in Appalachia. This pathfinder attempts to provide a starting point in exploring some of the excellent resources that are currently available.

Introductory Text: 

McNeil, Lou F. 1999. Catholic Mission and Evangelization. In Christianity in Appalachia: Profiles in Regional Pluralism, ed. Bill J. Leonard. 257-277. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. ASU APP COLL STACKS: BR535.C45 1999. McNeil’s article discusses both the history of Catholicism in Appalachia and possible reasons for the small number of Catholics in Appalachia.

Shinedling, Abraham I. 1963. West Virginia Jewry: Origins and History, 1850-1958. Vols. 1-3. United States of America: Press of Maurice Jacobs, Inc. ASU APP COLL STACKS: F250.J5 S5 v. 1, F250.J5 S5 v. 2, and F250.J5 S5 v. 3. While not providing an analytical overview in the manner of McNeil’s article on Catholicism, West Virginia Jewry does provide exhaustive details of the history of Judaism in West Virginia.

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly Relevant:

  • Catholic Church -- Appalachian Region
  • Catholic Church -- Appalachian Region Southern
  • Catholic Committee of Appalachia
  • Catholic Church Diocese of Wheeling
  • Catholic Church -- West Virginia
  • Catholic Church -- North Carolina
  • Catholic Church -- South Carolina
  • Catholic Church -- Georgia
  • Catholics -- Kentucky
  • Catholic Church -- Kentucky
  • Catholic Church -- Tennessee
  • Catholic Church -- Maryland
  • Catholics -- Maryland
  • Catholics -- Pennsylvania
  • Catholics -- Ohio
  • Catholic Church -- Ohio
  • Jews -- Virginia
  • Jews -- West Virginia
  • Jews -- North Carolina
  • Jews -- South Carolina
  • Jews -- Kentucky
  • Jews -- Tennessee

Also Relevant:

  • Christianity -- Appalachian Region
  • Appalachian Region -- Religion
  • Catholic Church -- United States -- Pastoral letters and charges
  • Catholic Church -- Pastoral letters and charges
  • Jews -- Alabama
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania
  • Jews-- Ohio

More General:

  • Appalachian Region -- Religious Life and Customs
  • Church Work with the poor -- Appalachian Region
  • Evangelistic work -- Appalachian Region
  • Church and social problems -- Appalachian Region
  • Finkelstein, Leo, 1905-1998
  • Jews -- Appalachian Region
Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 
  • Religion
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • BM225
  • BM653
  • BR535
  • BX874
  • BX1410
  • BX1415
  • BX2347
  • BX4705
  • D810
  • DS146
  • E184
  • F159
  • F180
  • F235
  • F247
  • F249
  • F250
  • F264
  • F265
  • F334
  • F349
  • F444
  • F445
  • F455
  • HC107
  • HD5325
  • PJ5129

Besman, Wendy Lowe. 2001. A Separate Circle: Jewish Life in Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press. ASU APP COLL STACKS: F444.K7 B47 2001.

Catholic Bishops of Appalachia. 1996. At Home in the Web of Life: A Pastoral Message on Sustainable Communities in Appalachia Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of This Land is Home to Me. Webster Springs, West Virginia: Catholic Committee of Appalachia. ASU APP COLL STACKS: HC107. A13 A8894 1995.

Catholic Bishops of Appalachia. 1985. This Land is Home to Me: A Pastoral Letter on Powerlessness in Appalachia. 10th Anniversary Edition. Whitesburg, Kentucky: Catholic Committee of Appalachia. ASU APP COLL STACKS: BX874.A2 T47 1985.

Hacala, Joseph R. S.J. 1980. Dream of Mountains’ Struggle: Appalachian Pastoral Five Years Later. Lancaster, Kentucky: Kentucky Valley Press. ASU APP COLL STACKS: F106.D74 1980.

Pyne, Tricia T. 2000. Faith in the Mountains: A History of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, 1850-2000. Italy: Editions du Signe. Accession Number: OCLC: 45834276.

A Man Made of Granite. 1974 (?). Parkersburg, West Virginia: Pappas Brothers. ASU APP COLL OVERSIZE: BX4705.S925 35 1974.


The American Jewish Archives Journal. Cincinnati, Ohio: Jacob Rader Marcus Center. v. 49, 1997 to present. Semiannual. Accession Number: OCLC: 42470120.

Journal of Appalachian Studies. Morgantown, West Virginia: Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University for the Appalachian Studies Association. vol 1, Fall 1995 to present. Semiannual. ASU APP COLL STACKS: F106.J74.

The Catholic Committee of Appalachia puts out a newsletter as well.

Patchquilt: The Newsletter of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia. Webster Springs, WV: Catholic Committee of Appalachia. v.7 – 17. Quarterly. ASU APP COLL STACKS: BX2347.8.P66 P3.

Audio and Video Sources: 

This Land is Home To Us: The Catholic Church in West Virginia. 1994. Produced by Office of Communications Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. Written and narrated by Father Larry W. Dorsch. Office of Communications Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. Videocassette. Ohio County Public Library: Video 282.754 T349.

The Righteous Remnant: Jewish Survival in Appalachia. 1997. Produced and directed by Maryanne Reed. Edited by Murphy Tinsley. 27 mins. First Team Productions. Videocassette. ASU APP COLL VIDEOS: VC 326.

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Sarah Post Calhoun, 4 December 2001

Updated by: 

Updated: Ben Yoder, 6 October 2010