Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Kenneth Clarke, Jim Miller, Lynwood Montell

Degree Program

Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The problem considered was the nature of traditional Appalachian chairmaking in a northern metropolis. The subject was an Appalachian migrant who moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Culture change was viewed through the sociological, socioeconomic, and cultural effects of urbanization. Fieldwork focused on interrelated factors of individual personality, style and creativity, and chair production. Information on the chairmaker's background was extracted from Michael Owen Jones's, "Chairmaking in Appalachia: A Study in Style and Creative Imagination In American Folk Art" (Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University, 1970).

Dramatic changes in the folk art tradition occurred as a result of culture change. Given economic solvency and personal self—respect, the Appalachian migrant adopted certain aspects of the urban image. His personality changed in the new environment. This traditional artisan created unusual chairs in order to become successful in an urban area. A certain style was accepted by the urban consumer group. Creativity was not encouraged because the customer specified how the chair was to be built. This observation suggests that folk art traditions in an urban area persist or die cut depending on the rapport between the craftsman and the consumer. A successful craftsman cannot stabilize his art in an urban setting; influences for change and opportunities to change are too numerous.


Anthropology | Folklore | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Included in

Folklore Commons