Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains: An Environmental History of the Highest Peaks in Eastern America

By Timothy Silver | Go to book overview

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Not long after I began work on this book, I planted a Norway spruce, an exotic evergreen that figures in the Black Mountain story, in my front yard. At the time the tree was little more than a seedling, standing just over twenty inches tall. Now it tops out at more than twenty feet. It is nature’s way of reminding me that I have been at this task for well over a halfdecade. During that time I have accumulated an embarrassingly long list of scholarly debts, many of which can never truly be repaid. The best that I can do is to express my appreciation to those institutions and individuals who have made it possible for the book, like the tree, to reach maturity.

Thanks to the history department at Appalachian State University, I have gainful employment in a place that I love with a teaching schedule flexible enough to allow for research and writing. My work on the Black Mountains began with a summer grant from the university’s Office of Graduate Studies and Research and a department-sanctioned off-campus scholarly assignment, both of which helped facilitate early trips to various archives. The history department also awarded me its I. G. Greer Distinguished Professorship in History for 1997–99. That signal honor, made all the more meaningful because it came from colleagues, brought some very practical benefits, including a generous research stipend and a semester’s leave. In addition I held a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for College Teachers that afforded a luxurious yearlong sabbatical during which I wrote most of a first draft.

Even if blessed with time and resources, a historian cannot work without librarians. At the Southern Historical Collection and at the North Carolina Collection, a host of dedicated professionals made my research pleasant and productive. The staff of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History in Raleigh guided me safely through the state’s labyrinthine bureaucracy and the blizzard of paper it generates. Michael Hill,

-xix-

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Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains: An Environmental History of the Highest Peaks in Eastern America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations and Maps ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • One - Origins 1
  • Two - Footprints 37
  • Three - Mitchell’s Mountain 77
  • Four - Modernity 121
  • Five - Government 163
  • Six - Murphy’s Law 209
  • Conclusion - Stories from Four Thousand Feet 257
  • Notes 271
  • Index 309
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