Down in the Holler, first published in 1953, is a classic study of Ozark folklore. The University of Oklahoma Press is especially pleased to introduce such an invaluable and delightfully written book to a new generation of researchers and Americans entranced by the Ozarks and the folkways of the past.
Until World War II the backwoodsmen living in the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri, northern Arkansas, and eastern Oklahoma were the most deliberately "unprogressive" people in the United States. The descendants of pioneers from the southern Appalachians, they changed their way of life very little during the whole span of the nineteenth century and were able to preserve their customs and traditions in an age of industrialism.
When the many attractions of the Ozarks were discovered by "outlanders," the tourists—and television—reached the hinterlands, and the old patterns of speech and life began to fade.
In this perceptive book, Vance Randolph, who first visited the Ozarks country in 1899, and his collaborator, George P. Wilson, recapture the speech of the people who lived "down in the holler." Randolph, closely identified with the region for many years, hunted possums with its people and shared their table at the House of Lords (a "kind of tavern" in Joplin). Through the years his hobby became a profession, and he spent years recording the various aspects of Ozark folk speech.