Creating Appalachia

At the turn of the 20th century, wealthy patrons of the arts and collectors searched for artisans and musicians of a pre-industrial America, to find the "true" traditions of their homeland. This led many to the Appalachian Mountains, particularly the mid-southern regions of North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

The American Craft Movement succeeded in making "Appalachian" one of the leading brands of the 20th century. The American Craft Movement was a led primarily by and for women. By orienting Appalachian craftsmanship to an economic niche controlled by wealthy white women, the revival generated income for many poorer mountain women (these women were typically white) who had few other sources of cash, and, to a limited extent, increased their personal autonomy within traditional patriarchal homes.

A growing interest in Appalachian folk music accompanied the craft revival and lent it credence, while the mission schools provided bases for folklorists as they began to search the region for "survivals" of its traditional culture.