Habits of Industry: White Culture and the Transformation of the Carolina Piedmont

Synopsis

Habits of Industry provides a richly descriptive social, historical, and cultural account of the Carolina Piedmont the area between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Coastal Plain over the course of 150 years. By examining the social and religious culture of the region, Allen Tullos illuminates the lives of the working men and women whose "habits of industry" shaped their world.

Tullos combines archival research with an extensive collection of oral histories to shed new light on the essentially all-white textile industry in the era before World War II. He examines such topics as workers' transition from an agrarian folk culture to an industrial working class, the changing patterns of employers' paternalistic relations, and the contrasting and complimentary meanings of "industry." Using biographies and autobiographies of both mill owners and mill workers, Tullos juxtaposes the entrepreneurial narratives of the Belks, Hammetts, Tompkinses, Dukes, and Loves with the equally remarkable stories of such workers as Ethel Hillard, Alice and Grover Hardin, and Nigel League.