"The ladies merely breathed deeply ": Women's Invisible Contributions to the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elizabeth Skene Harper, Special and Digital Collections Librarian (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/

Abstract: In the early 1930s, a group of hiking enthusiasts from Knoxville, Tennessee, believed no group of persons anywhere would profit more from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park than they. Their club, the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, dedicated itself to bringing a Smokies national park to fruition and developingthe Appalachian Trail. During the interwar era, hiking clubs formed across the nation and were integral to generating widespread citizen support for national parks and other wildernessareas. Women were part of the hiking club movement from the beginning and provided invaluable, although often invisible, labor. This article highlights the women in the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club during the 1920s and 1930s who contributed immeasurably to the club’s activities. When we study this movement through an interdisciplinary framework of sociability and connective labor, set against the unique cultural and economic conditions of the New Deal and Great Depression era, we see the value of these women’s efforts despite being subjected to gender-based notions of skill and ability. Without their contributions, the club would not have sustained its successful and wide-reaching advocacy.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, Appalachian Trail
Depressions -- 1929 -- United States
Knoxville (TN)
New Deal, 1933-1939 -- United States
National parks and reserves -- Tennessee

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