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John C. Campbell (1867--1919) is widely considered to be a pioneer in the objective study of the complex world of Appalachian mountaineers. Thanks to a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation, Campbell traveled throughout the region with his wife -- noted social reformer and "songcatcher" Olive Dame Campbell -- interviewing and profiling its people. His landmark work, The Southern Highlander and His Homeland, is cited by nearly every scholar writing about the region, yet little has been published about the Campbells and their role in the sociological, educational, and cultural history of Appalachia.
Elizabeth McCutchen Williams has prepared the first critical edition of Olive Dame Campbell's comprehensive overview of her husband's life and work -- a project left unfinished at the time of Olive's death. Never before published, this unique volume draws extensively on diary entries and personal letters to illuminate the significance and lasting impact of John C. Campbell's contributions. The result is a dynamic blend of biography and collected correspondence that presents an insightful portrait of the influential educator and reformer.