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Mountain Woman: 1940

August 1940. Pine Mountain, Kentucky. "Mountain woman by her home up Stinking Creek." Nitrate negative by Marion Post Wolcott. View full size.

August 1940. Pine Mountain, Kentucky. "Mountain woman by her home up Stinking Creek." Nitrate negative by Marion Post Wolcott. View full size.


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Our farm is on a mountain side leafed with many oaks. The small stream washing down towards the chicken coop is lovingly called the 'Ack, patooie' river by our family, as the brownish water is so loaded with tannins from the fallen oak leaves, that it is as bitter as cyanide!


I was born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mtns in southwest VA, you can always tell if a person is from the area or not by the way they say Appalachia, my husband and his family are from Mass and New Jersey and there have been plenty of discussions on the "correct" pronunciation of many words as he thinks my "backwoods english" leaves a lot to be desired. Oh well, I as well as everyone in my family says "appa-latch-a" and my husband says it apple-lay-sha. Oh well, to-ma-to, ta-mato

The name stuck

The "putrid flesh of the dead animals" that perished during the winter of 1779-1780 gave the area its noisome name.


I'm central Pennsylvania born and bred, right from the hills and hollers of the Appalachians, and I've always pronounced it with a long-A sound.

Knox County, Kentucky

With a poverty rate of 35 percent, three times the national average, this area of the country is still in much better shape than it was in 1940. On average, the women of that time and place birthed children during their entire fertile years. This would mean families that averaged 14 or 15 children. Midwives would be needed many times beause of the isolation and distance to medical facilities.


When Bob Dylan wrote the line that "Dignity never been photographed" he had never seen this, or a lot of other photos on Shorpy.

One of the fortunate ones

This woman obviously leads a strenuous life but she looks quite healthy -- and appears to still have a good set of teeth, often lost to a lack of attention or the demands of childbirth.

Stinking Creek

In 4th grade one of my classmates' mothers (who was also a class helper) was from Stinking Creek. We all thought it a hilarious name. Now I think, who the hell would settle by a stinking creek?!


Regardless of how the diction police at the news networks pronounce Appalichia Appalachia, that's how we in the mountain range that stretch from Northwestern Pennsylvania to Northeastern Georgia still pronounce the name of the mountains and the town in Virginia. A wonderful photo of one of the proud residents.

Marion Post Walcott, one of the most prolific photographers during the period of the Great Depression and WWII,covered the U.S. from coast to coast and border to border. This land was truly "her land." If you search under her name in the National Archives, you will find around 5000 photographs credited to her.

Wonderful job by both Marion and Shorpy.

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