Browse Exhibits (4 total)

Appalachian Outreach Program (1979-1981)


In 1979, the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University received a grant of $23,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to produce a series of nine multi-media outreach programs, based on materials held by the Archives. The programs were presented to the public for free throughout east Tennessee and its surrounding areas.

An additional NEH grant in 1981 for $41,000 enabled the program to expand throughout southern Appalachia and allowed the Archives to design study guides to accompany a selection of the programs. In 1988, the Archives converted the slideshows to Umatic and VHS tape, and in 2009 the Archives created digital surrogates of the programs.

This exhibit contains the digital surrogates of each of the nine programs, along with all available supplementary materials: scripts for all nine programs and study guides for the six programs for which such material was created. Additionally, it includes a range of press releases, program descriptions, newspaper reviews, and advertisements.

All materials in this exhibit are drawn from the Archives of Appalachia’s collection #0237, “Archives of Appalachia and University Archives Records.”

Tennessee’s Mountain Heritage (1983 radio series)


In 1982, the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University received a matching grant from the Tennessee Committee for the Humanities to produce a series of three radio programs based in part on materials from the Archives’ holdings.  The series was intended to provide an entertaining and educational overview of various aspects of the social history and folklore of southern Appalachia.  Margaret Counts and Richard Blaustein wrote and produced the three programs, which aired on three separate Sunday evenings on the WETS radio station in May of 1983.

This exhibit contains audio of each of the three programs, along with versions of each respective approved script.  Additionally, it includes a guide for conducting oral history interviews and a bibliography for those interested in studying program topics in greater detail, both of which were created by original project staff in 1983.  Finally, the exhibit includes a number of related materials: press releases, newspaper reviews, and advertisements.

All materials in this exhibit are drawn from the Archives of Appalachia’s collection #0237, “Archives of Appalachia and University Archives Records.”

Vogue Picture Discs in the Lewis Deneumoustier Collection


Between May 1946 and April 1947, the Vogue Picture Record label produced around eighty 78rpm discs.  While today the discs are best known for their colorful artwork, in the 1940s they were also respected for their innovative use of vinyl, instead of the more common shellac.  This resulted in a high quality recording with very little surface noise.  The label recorded a wide range of musical styles: from country to jazz to children’s music to Latin music.

Vogue discs sold for around one dollar each (three dollars for multi-disc albums), which was more than twice the average price of material from competing labels.  Combined with Vogue’s difficulty in signing leading popular performers of the day, this contributed to its short lifespan.

This exhibit highlights the five Vogue discs that are among the more than 25,000 recordings in the Archives of Appalachia’s Lewis Deneumoustier Collection at East Tennessee State University.  The exhibit includes scans of each disc, brief excerpts of each respective recording, and additional information including background context and suggestions for further study.

Voices of Coal


This exhibit highlights musical perspectives on life in the coalfields, featuring recordings from the Lewis Deneumoustier Collection and other collections in the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University.

Extractive industry in Appalachia began in the late 1800s when new roads gave access to untapped resources such as coal and timber. Expansion of the railway system made coal a greater commodity, bringing about the need for more and more mines. Iron mills were some of the main consumers of Appalachian coal during World War II. Once the war ended, the market was flooded with coal, and mines began closing, leaving miners without jobs.

Many of the musicians in the Deneumoustier Collection represent Appalachia. Some personally felt the effects of extractive industry on their families and throughout their childhoods.  In this way, young artists grew to become the voices of the coal communities, becoming advocates for their mountains, forests, and streams. 

Lewis Deneumoustier was an avid collector of old-time, bluegrass, and country music history. Over several decades, he acquired a significant collection of magazines, booklets, concert programs, and festival flyers. He also compiled a large amount of correspondence with fellow collectors looking to obtain recordings. The core of the Deneumoustier Collection, though, is the nearly 25,000 recordings, in a range of formats, that document the history of old-time, bluegrass, and country music. Through this extensive collection, we can see not only the history of Appalachian music but also the impact the coal industry had on the Appalachian region.

Significant Moments in Appalachian Coal Mining History

1870s – Railroads came to Appalachia

  • Established a need for more coal
  • Allowed access to previously hard to reach areas to mine resources
  • Coal production in Appalachia skyrocketed

1890s – Initial establishment of large mining companies in the mountains of Appalachia

  • Mining communities were started

1910s – Many large coal companies were established in the mountains of Appalachia

  • The market was flooded, the price of coal plummeted and caused a recession
  • Miners lost their jobs, caused out-migration to urban areas for better job opportunities

1960s – Surface mining techniques for coal extraction gained prominence

  • Nearly 7,000 miles of streams were damaged by mountaintop removal (MTR) and strip mining practices
  • Caused more out-migration