north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 

 
 
 

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     According to the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Frances Louisa Goodrich “is recognized as the pioneer in western North Carolina in reviving the traditional mountain hand skills and in adapting them to products salable in contemporary markets.” Born in New York to a Presbyterian minister in 1856, Goodrich was educated at Yale and abroad. In 1890 she moved to western North Carolina where she would spend the rest of her life.

     Settling first at Brittain’s Cove in Buncombe County, Goodrich worked under the auspices of the Presbyterian Mission Board to establish schools and churches. In 1897 she moved to Allanstand in the midst of the “Laurel Country” of Madison County. Seeing that the traditional Appalachian crafts of spinning, weaving, basketry, and whittling were dying out, Goodrich set up Allanstand Cottage Industries to serve as an economic and social outlet for her neighbors. The venture flourished, with orders from all over including one in 1912 from Ellen Wilson for the White House.

     In 1930 Goodrich was a principal organizer of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild. The following year she gave the Allanstand shop to the guild. Her account of the revival of Appalachian handicrafts, Mountain Homespun, was published by Yale University Press in 1931 (and reissued in a facsimile edition in 1989 by the University of Tennessee Press). The College of Wooster in Ohio awarded her an honorary doctorate in 1938. Her house, a church, school, and a barn remain at her homeplace. The Allanstand Craft Shop nearby continues to operate as a part of the work of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild.


References:
Allen H. Eaton, Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands (1937)
Frances Louisa Goodrich, Mountain Homespun (1931)
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, II, 317-318--sketch by L. L. Pitman
We the People (March 1946)
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north carolina highway historical marker program


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