Oral History and Appalachia


Although oral history in the South and particularly the Appalachians merits study, a great deal of oral history scholarship focuses more on oral history’s function in larger American society and as an academy. Conversely, most Appalachian oral histories are more concerned with subjects who are racially, geographically, economically, and culturally isolated from urban, middle class American society than with theory. This document is designed as an introduction to the fundamental principles of oral history theory, methodology, and education in addition to leading the reader to oral histories and oral history projects in the American South and the Appalachians. All materials are available in ASU’s Belk Library or the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection.

Introductory Text: 

Ives, Edward D. The Tape-Recorded Interview: A Manual for Field Workers in Folklore and Oral History. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press. 112 pages. ASU APP COLL STACKS: GR45.5 .193 1995.

Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 

Highly Relevant:

  • Alice Lloyd College ;Country Life
  • Appalachia History
  • ASU -- Appalachian Studies
  • ASU -- Appalachian Studies Center
  • Culture -- Appalachia
  • Oral History

Also Relevant:

  • Folklore
  • Kentucky -- History
  • Legends
  • North Carolina -- History
  • Watauga Co., NC -- History
  • West Virginia -- History

General Headings:

  • Ghost Stories
  • Superstitions
  • Smith, Lee
  • Yesteryear

Allen, Barbara and William Lynwood Marshall. From Memory to History: Using Oral Sources in Local Historical Research. Nashville, TN: American Association for State and Local History, 1981. 172 pages. ASU APP COLL STACKS: D16 .A38.

The Appalachian Oral History Project of Alice Lloyd College, Appalachian State University, Emory and Henry College, and Lees Junior College . [microfilm] Glen Rock, NJ: Microfilming Corporation of America, 1978. ASU APP COLL: MicF 85. 2 reels.

Finnegan, Ruth H. Oral Traditions and the Verbal Arts: A Guide to Research Practices. London; New York: Routledge Press. 284 pages. ASU MAIN STACKS: GN346 .F56 1992.

La Lone, Mary B. Appalachian Coal Mining Memories: Life in the Coal Fields of Virginia’s New River Valley. Blacksburg, VA: Pocahontas Press, 1997. ASU APP COLL STACKS: HD 8039 .M62 U6124 1997.

Montell, William Lynwood. The Saga of Coe Ridge: A Study in Oral History. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1970. ASU APP COLL STACKS: E185.93 .K3 M6.

Our Appalachia: An Oral History. Laurel Shackelford and Bill Weinberg, eds. New York: Hill & Wang. ASU APP COLL STACKS: F217 .A65 O97 1977.

Ritchie, Donald A. Doing Oral History. New York: Twayne Publishers. ASU MAIN STACKS: D16.14 .R57 1995.

Southern Appalachia, 1885-1915: Oral Histories from Residents of the State Corner Area of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Roy Edwin Thomas, ed. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press. ASU F217 .A65 S69 1991.

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Appalachian Folk Culture and Regional History: A Guide to Audio and Video Recordings Available from the Archives of Appalachia. Johnson City, TN: East Tennessee State University Press, 1981. ASU APP COLL STACKS: Z5984 .A6 A6.

Encyclopedia of Southern Culture . Charles Reagan Wilson & William Ferris, co-eds. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. See “Oral History.” ASU APP COLL OVERSIZE: F209 .E53 1989.

Storytelling Encyclopedia: Historical, Cultural, and Multiethnic Approaches to Oral Traditions Around the World. David Adams Leeming and Marion Sader, eds. Phoenix: Oryx Press. See “Tall Tales,” “Storytelling,” and “American South.” ASU APP COLL STACKS: GR72 .S76 1997.

America: History and Life. A guide to the periodical literature in the American Studies field, including History, Folklore, and the Humanities. Updated three times a year.


Appalachian Bibliography. Appalachian Regional Commission. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Library Press. See “Folklore” and “Folk Customs.” Vol. 1 (of 2 vols.) is recommended. ASU APP COLL STACKS: Z1251 .A7 A6 1980.

Appalachian Outlook. Morganton, WV: West Virginia Universtiy Library. Periodical. 1964 - present. ASU APP COLL STACKS: Z1251 .A7 A55.

Journal of Appalachian Studies. Morganton, WV: West Virginia University for the Appalachian Studies Associaiton. ASU APP COLL STACKS: F106 .J74 (bound issues). Check current APP COLL periodicals for other issues. The bibliography for the previous year is found in the first issue of each new volume.

Ross, Charlotte T. Bibliography of Southern Appalachia. Boone, NC: Appalachian State University Consortium Press, 1976. ASU APP COLL OVERSIZE: Z1251 .A7 B5x.

MLA Bibliography (Modern Language Association). Indexes critical materials on literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore. Provides access to citations from worldwide publications, including periodicals, books, essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations and bibliographies. Updated 10 times per year.

Abstracts and Indices: 

Anthropological Literature . “The Anthropological Literature file (ANL) contains records describing articles and essays in Anthropology and Archaeology of two or more pages, from works published in English and other European languages.” Updated quarterly.

Dissertation Abstracts. Ph. D. dissertations and selected masters theses with abstracts from 1861 to the present. Updated monthly.

ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center). A complete bibliography of educational materials available since 1966. Indexes published and unpublished sources on thousands of educational topics, with information from RIE (Resources in Education) and CIJE (Current Index to Journals in Education). Updated monthly.

Ingenta. Lists the contents of over 16,000 journals. Updated regularly.

WorldCat . Access to over 36 million records of any type (books, journals, CDs, videos, etc.) cataloged by OCLC member libraries. Includes manuscripts written as early as the 11th century. Updated daily.

Smith, Allen. Directory of Oral History Collections. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press. ASU APP COLL OVERSIZE: Z6208 .O7 S54 1988.

Card Catalog of Oral Histories. ASU APP COLL (above microfiche cabinet).


Appalachian Journal. Boone, NC: Appalachian State University Press. v. 1, 1974 - present. ASU APP COLL STACKS: F216.2 .A66. Many articles throughout series on oral history theory, methodology, specific projects, interviews, and subjects.

Foxfire (earlier title: v. 1 - 26:2, 1967-1992). Foxfire Magazine (current title: v.26:3, 1992 to present) . Rabun Gap, GA: Foxfire Fund, Inc. ASU APP COLL STACKS: GR1 .F59.

Journal of American Folk-lore/Folklore . American Folklore Society. Boston; New York: Houghton, Mifflin, and Co. v. 1, 1888 - present. ASU Periodicals.

Journal of Appalachian Studies. Morganton, WV: West Virginia University for the Appalachian Studies Associaiton. ASU APP COLL STACKS: F106 .J74 (bound issues). Check current APP COLL periodicals for other issues.

The Oral History Review. Fullerton, CA: Oral History Association. ASU APP COLL STACKS: D16 .O68 1975. (WCU has 1974 to present). Focuses primarily on oral history theory and methodology and not so much on specfic oral history projects.

Recollections: A Journal of the appalachian Oral History Project of Lees Jr. College. Jackson, KY: The College, 1972. vol. 1, nos. 1-6, 1972-1978. ASU APP COLL STACKS: F457 .J2.

The Southern Quarterly. Hattiesburg, MS: University of Mississippi. v. 2, 1963 - present. ASU PERIODICALS.


The Bland Co., VA History Archives: http://www.bland.k12.va.us/bland/rocky/stories.html .

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Caroline Morris, 28 October 1999