The present work delves deeply into four distinct, though overlapping, fields of history: legal, environmental, southern, and Appalachian. The History Department at the University of Georgia proved to be a wonderful place to pursue such a project because of its strengths in each of these fields. Peter Hoffer, James Cobb, John Inscoe, Edward Larson, and Paul Sutter freely provided their valuable encouragement, insights, and critique. Moreover, Dr. Cobb and Dr. Hoffer have both written on Ducktown but nonetheless gave me their enthusiastic support and shared their materials to further my own work. My experience with these scholars, individually and collectively, was personally and professionally rewarding.
Monograph history depends on skilled archivists, and this project was no exception. I enjoyed the kind assistance of archivists at the Georgia Department of Archives and History, the Tennessee State Library and Archives, the Historical Branch at the Cleveland (Tennessee) Public Library, the National Archives in Washington, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. I owe thanks to Jane Adams of the Georgia Archives. When working on another project, I came across her research guide, The Calendar of Incoming Correspondence, Governor Hugh M. Dorsey, 1917–1921, in which she wrote, “Possible topics of research interest in the Dorsey correspondence include the First World War, prohibition and reform movements and the Tennessee Copper Company case.” Though I never met her, I made it my purpose to follow her suggestion about the copper case.
Special mention goes to Ken Rush, Richard Estes, and the staff of the Ducktown Basin Museum. I was the beneficiary of their successful efforts to rescue and preserve documents from the era of smoke litigation. A mass of century-old documents from the Tennessee Copper Company and the Ducktown Sulphur, Copper & Iron Company had been stored haphazardly in an abandoned store near the fortner DSC I complex at Isabella. Years of neglect under a leaking roof reduced the papers to a sodden, moldy pile that was destined to be tossed as rubbish down a mineshaft except for the museum’s timely intervention. The rescued materials are rich in behind-the-scenes correspondence from attorneys, corporate officers, farmers, loggers, and others on both sides of the litigation—the sort of documents that discretion and the conventions of litigation usually omit from the formal papers filed with the courts.