Mountain People…
The Faces of Appalachia

The Appalachian region of the US is a beautiful place with a rich and sometimes tragic history. It is home to so much creativity, and has been a place of devastating poverty. Today, its bands and artists make up an integral part of the underground. So when we came across this collection of images taken in the Appalachians between the early to mid 20th century, we thought many of our readers would appreciate a candid look at the history of this land as it was captured by photographers throughout the decades. All images are via the US Library of Congress.

 

The Faust family, Anderson County, E. Tenn. [Mountain man and 2 women in front of house] Date Created/Published: c1910.
The Faust family, Anderson County, E. Tenn. [Mountain man and 2 women in front of house]
Date Created/Published: c1910.
Ears that hear not Date Created/Published: c1914 March 30.
Ears that hear not
Date Created/Published: c1914 March 30.
Children had few toys / Photo by Wm. A. Barnhill, Gamaliel, Ark. Creator(s): Barnhill, Wm. A. , photographer Date Created/Published: [between 1914 and 1917]
Children had few toys / Photo by Wm. A. Barnhill, Gamaliel, Ark.
Creator(s): Barnhill, Wm. A. , photographer
Date Created/Published: [between 1914 and 1917]
Mountaineer whittling Creator(s): Barnhill, Wm. A. , photographer Date Created/Published: c1920.
Mountaineer whittling
Creator(s): Barnhill, Wm. A. , photographer
Date Created/Published: c1920.
Dutton (“Dut”) Calleb and his family with their homemade hoes on the porch of their home. Southern Appalachian Project near Barbourville, Knox County, Kentucky Creator(s): Wolcott, Marion Post, 1910-1990, photographer Date Created/Published: 1940 Nov.
Dutton (“Dut”) Calleb and his family with their homemade hoes on the porch of their home. Southern Appalachian Project near Barbourville, Knox County, Kentucky
Creator(s): Wolcott, Marion Post, 1910-1990, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1940 Nov.
Butter-making, Appalachia, USA, c1917. Photograph taken during Cecil Sharp's folk music collecting expedition: British musician Sharp (1859-1924) and his assistant Dr Maud Karpeles (1885-1976) collected folk songs from the mountain singers of the Appalachians (North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky), between 1916 and 1918.  (Photo by EFD SS/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
Butter-making, Appalachia, USA, c1917. Photograph taken during Cecil Sharp’s folk music collecting expedition: British musician Sharp (1859-1924) and his assistant Dr Maud Karpeles (1885-1976) collected folk songs from the mountain singers of the Appalachians (North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky), between 1916 and 1918. (Photo by EFD SS/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
Old woman smoking a pipe, Appalachia, USA, c1917. Photograph taken during Cecil Sharp's folk music collecting expedition: British musician Sharp (1859-1924) and his assistant Dr Maud Karpeles (1885-1976) collected folk songs from the mountain singers of the Appalachians (North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky), between 1916 and 1918.  (Photo by EFD SS/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
Old woman smoking a pipe, Appalachia, USA, c1917. Photograph taken during Cecil Sharp’s folk music collecting expedition: British musician Sharp (1859-1924) and his assistant Dr Maud Karpeles (1885-1976) collected folk songs from the mountain singers of the Appalachians (North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky), between 1916 and 1918. (Photo by EFD SS/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
Title: Interior of mountain farmhouse, Appalachian Mountains near Marshall, North Carolina Creator(s): Mydans, Carl, photographer Related Names: United States. Resettlement Administration. Date Created/Published: 1936 Mar.
Title: Interior of mountain farmhouse, Appalachian Mountains near Marshall, North Carolina
Creator(s): Mydans, Carl, photographer
Related Names:
United States. Resettlement Administration.
Date Created/Published: 1936 Mar.
 Interior of mountain farmhouse, Appalachian Mountains near Marshall, North Carolina Creator(s): Mydans, Carl, photographer Related Names: United States. Resettlement Administration. Date Created/Published: 1936 Mar.
Interior of mountain farmhouse, Appalachian Mountains near Marshall, North Carolina
Creator(s): Mydans, Carl, photographer
Related Names:
United States. Resettlement Administration.
Date Created/Published: 1936 Mar.
Mrs. S. Castle or Mrs. William S. Allen with canned goods in front of new storage house her husband built on their farm with FSA (Farm Security Administration) help. Southern Appalachian project, near Barbourville, Knox County, Kentucky 1940
Mrs. S. Castle or Mrs. William S. Allen with canned goods in front of new storage house her husband built on their farm with FSA (Farm Security Administration) help. Southern Appalachian project, near Barbourville, Knox County, Kentucky 1940
This man is a carpenter at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This converted truck is his home. The interior of his truck was more roomy than most of the cabins that had been built at the camp where he was staying. At a settlement near Silver Lake, North Carolina (about ten miles out of Fayetteville, N.C.) Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
This man is a carpenter at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This converted truck is his home. The interior of his truck was more roomy than most of the cabins that had been built at the camp where he was staying. At a settlement near Silver Lake, North Carolina (about ten miles out of Fayetteville, N.C.)
Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
Spraying novelties to be sold along the roadside near Fort Bragg, North Carolina Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
Spraying novelties to be sold along the roadside near Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
In the second story of a tobacco barn used as living quarters by family of workers from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Near Fayetteville, North Carolina Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
In the second story of a tobacco barn used as living quarters by family of workers from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Near Fayetteville, North Carolina
Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
A traveling side-show. “Crime Museum,” consisting of a dilapidated effigies of famous criminals run by an old, shellshocked World War veteran. Near Silver Lake, North Carolina Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
A traveling side-show. “Crime Museum,” consisting of a dilapidated effigies of famous criminals run by an old, shellshocked World War veteran. Near Silver Lake, North Carolina
Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
Owner of a trailer camp with gold teeth. He gets a dollar fifty per week for trailer or tent space. Near Fayetteville, North Carolina Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
Owner of a trailer camp with gold teeth. He gets a dollar fifty per week for trailer or tent space. Near Fayetteville, North Carolina
Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
In the second story of a tobacco barn used as living quarters by family of workers from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Near Fayetteville, North Carolina Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
In the second story of a tobacco barn used as living quarters by family of workers from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Near Fayetteville, North Carolina
Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
Effigies of Washington, Joe Louis and some criminal in a travelling sideshow “crime museum”. Washington and Joe Louis are examples of “what you may become if you go straight”. Near Fort Bragg, North Carolina Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
Effigies of Washington, Joe Louis and some criminal in a travelling sideshow “crime museum”. Washington and Joe Louis are examples of “what you may become if you go straight”. Near Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
Worker from Fort Bragg having his dinner at a crossroads store in Manchester, North Carolina Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
Worker from Fort Bragg having his dinner at a crossroads store in Manchester, North Carolina
Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
An effigy of Sitting Bull, part of the exhibit of the travelling sideshow “crime museum.” Near Fort Bragg, North Carolina Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
An effigy of Sitting Bull, part of the exhibit of the travelling sideshow “crime museum.” Near Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.

appalachia-61

In a trailer settlement of migrants working at Fort Bragg. Near Fayetteville, North Carolina Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
In a trailer settlement of migrants working at Fort Bragg. Near Fayetteville, North Carolina
Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
Calahan’s little girl getting some of the potatoes out of the cellar of their new home. These are grown on their farm. Southern Appalachian Project near Barbourville, Knox County, Kentucky Creator(s): Wolcott, Marion Post, 1910-1990, photographer Date Created/Published: 1940 Nov.
Calahan’s little girl getting some of the potatoes out of the cellar of their new home. These are grown on their farm. Southern Appalachian Project near Barbourville, Knox County, Kentucky
Creator(s): Wolcott, Marion Post, 1910-1990, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1940 Nov.
At the travelling sideshow “crime museum” with the owner, an old war veteran, and some of his “specimens”. Near Fort Bragg, North Carolina Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
At the travelling sideshow “crime museum” with the owner, an old war veteran, and some of his “specimens”. Near Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Creator(s): Delano, Jack, photographer
Date Created/Published: 1941 Mar.
Mary Faust standing next to large walking wheel, an umbrella swift, another woman seated at a spinning wheel with a distaff and a skein winder in front of her, and a man processing flax on a flax break with a counterbalance loom behind him.
Mary Faust standing next to large walking wheel, an umbrella swift, another woman seated at a spinning wheel with a distaff and a skein winder in front of her, and a man processing flax on a flax break with a counterbalance loom behind him.
A postman delivers mail to people in the local general store, Chloe, West Virginia  (Photo by Volkmar K. Wentzel/National Geographic/Getty Images)
A postman delivers mail to people in the local general store, Chloe, West Virginia (Photo by Volkmar K. Wentzel/National Geographic/Getty Images)
Small coal mining town in impoverished Appalachia, seven family members living in small shack.  (Photo by George Skadding/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Small coal mining town in impoverished Appalachia, seven family members living in small shack. (Photo by George Skadding/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Frances Carter, Proctor, Beattyville, Lee County, Kentucky, USA, 1916-1918. Photograph taken during Cecil Sharp's folk music collecting expedition: British musician Sharp (1859-1924) and his assistant Dr Maud Karpeles (1885-1976) collected folk songs from the mountain singers of the Appalachians (North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky), between 1916 and 1918.  (Photo by EFD SS/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
Frances Carter, Proctor, Beattyville, Lee County, Kentucky, USA, 1916-1918. Photograph taken during Cecil Sharp’s folk music collecting expedition: British musician Sharp (1859-1924) and his assistant Dr Maud Karpeles (1885-1976) collected folk songs from the mountain singers of the Appalachians (North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky), between 1916 and 1918. (Photo by EFD SS/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
A poverty stricken family in Appalachia 1964
A poverty stricken family in Appalachia 1964
Small coal mining town in impoverished Appalachia, seven family members living in small shack. 1953
Small coal mining town in impoverished Appalachia, seven family members living in small shack. 1953
Laurel Wheeler and family, Buena Vista, Rockbridge County, Virginia
Laurel Wheeler and family, Buena Vista, Rockbridge County, Virginia
Unemployed miner standing w. his family, who live on Social Security, on porch or their small home re: poverty in Appalachia. 1964
Unemployed miner standing w. his family, who live on Social Security, on porch or their small home re: poverty in Appalachia. 1964
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The Author

Meghan

Meghan

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation webzine and clothing.

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7 Comments on "Mountain People…
The Faces of Appalachia"

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Ricky
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Brings back a lot of memories, growing up in Southern West Virginia!! Davy, Wv.

Pat Rhodes
Guest

My family is from Rockbridge County Virginia. Love the pictures.

Rickey Russell
Guest

I live in S E KY… Whitesburg! I love these photos, my BF’s family has a lot of pics like this! I swear CVLT Nation ismy favorite place on the web!

John Chavez
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Cool pictures

Jake Skipper
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Kael Wilson

Justin Frazier
Guest

Where my family is from.

Jeremy Hush
Guest

Thanks!!! My favorite part of the US!

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