Great Women of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Defining Nature and the National Park Service

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rachel Lanier Roberts (Creator)
Institution
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: http://www.library.appstate.edu/
Advisor
Timothy Silver

Abstract: Utilizing the cases of three previously overlooked women—Anne May Davis, Laura Thornburgh, and the Walker Sisters—who participated in the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this thesis argues that the GSMNP was representative of this change in the National Park system. Sources reveal three very different cases that support a move away from the scenic nationalism that inspired previous park promotion. This thesis addresses how these women shaped their definitions of nature and actions towards it, looking closely at class, broader developments in American and Appalachian cultures, and gender. Understanding how each of these women defined nature—whether as a commodity, a moral authority, a means of extraction, or a combination of these—allows one to understand not only how, but why the movement to create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park succeeded. The women’s definitions of and actions towards nature reveal a park movement based heavily—though not entirely—on its potential economic worth through tourism. The case of Great Smoky Mountains National Park reveals that the National Park system was not born in a complete and final form. Rather, it has evolved and continues to evolve with changing American definitions of nature.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
Roberts, R.L. (2012). Great Women of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Defining Nature and the National Park Service. Unpublished master’s thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2012
Keywords
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Smoky Mountains, National Parks, Women and Nature