Today In Mountain Ducimer History: 14 September 1867

A dose of mountain dulcimer history throughout the year

Today In Mountain Ducimer History: 14 September 1867

Postby dbennett » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:39 am

John C. Campbell (1867–1919) was born in Indiana. He studied education and theology in New England. Campbell was an American educator and reformer noted for his survey of social conditions in the southern Appalachia. At the turn of the century (1900s), the Southern Appalachian region of the United States was viewed as being in need of educational and social missions. Recently married to Olive Dame of Massachusetts, John undertook, with his new bride, a fact-finding survey of social conditions in the mountains in 1908-1909.

The Campbells outfitted a wagon as a traveling home and studied mountain life from Georgia to West Virginia. While John interviewed farmers about their agricultural practices, Olive collected Appalachian ballads and studied the handicrafts of the mountain people. Both were hopeful that the quality of life could be improved by education, and in turn, wanted to preserve and share with the rest of the world the crafts, techniques and tools that the people of the area used in everyday life.

In 1921 John C. Campbell's book, The Southern Highlander and His Homeland, was published. On page 143, "The dulcimer, which has been so great an object of interest to musicians, is probably related to the zither and came very possibly into the mountains with the early Germans. It is rare, and with one exception the writer has never met it outside the mountains of Kentucky. It is, however, a quaint and delightful little instrument, and with its slender waist and heart-shaped holes as picturesque as fancy could desire. The music is monotonous but sweet, and makes a pleasant undertone to the talk of the evening group." A photo is on page 146. The book is still available in print and can be downloaded at http://www.russellsage.org/sites/default/files/Campbell_Southern%20Highlander%20Homeland_0.pdf

After John Campbell's death, his widow spent eighteen months traveling in Scandinavia, visiting local schools along the way. The result was the formation of the John C. Campbell Folk School in 1925 in Brasstown, North Carolina. This folk high school was dedicated to her late husband. At this school students and teachers formed a community that worked together to help each other advance in various crafts such as blacksmithing. The Folk School's motto is “I sing behind the plow”.

The Folk School currently has week-long and weekend classes year-round in traditional and contemporary arts, including blacksmithing, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, photography, storytelling and writing. The school campus includes a history museum, craft shop, nature trails, lodging, campground and cafeteria. The school also holds a regular concert series and community dances. The School hosts Morris Dance, Garland Dance and Clogging Teams.
Campbell John.jpg
Campbell John b.JPG
Last edited by dbennett on Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Today In Mountain Ducimer History: 14 September 1867

Postby dbennett » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:40 am

Photo from " The Southern Highlander and His Homeland"
Campbell John c.JPG
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