Crafting A Homespun Image: Fred Seely and Biltmore Industries, 1917 to 1942

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sharon C. Keefauver (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site:
Daniel Pierce

Abstract: After Fred Seely purchased Biltmore Estate Industries in 1917, he changed the name to Biltmore Industries and marketed his products under the name Biltmore Handwoven Homespuns. This paper examines how Seely tapped into the themes and values of American society that were of particular interest to the high-end clientele to which he catered. One of the most effective themes which thoroughly permeated Biltmore Industries' advertising was the simple idea of homespun material itself. As the early 20th century became increasingly industrialized, Seely relied on the general public's beliefs and perceptions of the Appalachian mountaineer's self-reliant lifestyle which included the making and wearing of homespun materials and garments. By recognizing the value of a sense of tradition during a time of increasingly complex social issues and conflicts, rapid technological advancements, and a restructuring of the American identity, Seely was able to tap into a nostalgic longing for the “homespun age” and cater to a clientele who was willing and able to attempt to put a price tag on the idea of tradition.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Biltmore Industries, Fred Seely, homespun, advertising

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