Life in the Leatherwoods is one of the country’s most delightful childhood memoirs, penned by an Ozark native with a keen, observant eye and a gift for narrative. John Quincy Wolf’s relaxed style and colorful characters resemble those of another chronicler of nineteenth-century rural life, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Wolf’s acerbic wit and lucid prose infuse the White River pioneers of his story with such life that the reader participates vicariously in their log rollings, house-raisings, spelling bees, hog killings, soap making, country dances, and camp meetings.
Originally published by Memphis State University Press in 1974, this new edition includes additional writings of John Q. Wolf and a continuation of the autobiographical narrative after his 1887 move to Batesville. Wolf’s writings are valuable resources for southern historians, folklorists, general readers, and scholars of Ozarkiana because they provide a rare glimpse into the social and family life of a largely misunderstood and stereotyped people—the independent hill farmers of the Arkansas Ozarks of the 1870s and 1880s. With Life in the Leatherwoods, Wolf bestows a benediction upon a society that existed vibrantly and humorously in his memory—one that has now forever disappeared from the American countryside.
Gene Hyde is the former curator of the John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection at Lyon College. He is a librarian at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.
Brooks Blevins is the director of regional studies at Lyon College. He is also the author of Lyon College, 1872—2002: The Perseverance and Promise of an Arkansas College, Hill Folks: A History of Arkansas Ozarkers and Their Image and Cattle in the Cotton Fields: A History of Cattle Raising in Alabama.
With the publication of A Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory during the Year 1819 by Thomas Nuttall, edited by Savoie Lottinville, the University of Arkansas Press inaugurated its new paperback reprint series, Arkansas Classics. This hallmark series will bring back into print, and keep in print, important works about Arkansas and by Arkansans. These books are essential reading for scholars and for general readers who wish to know more about the state’s history and literature, its people, and its cultural heritage. Titles will come from all eras of Arkansas’s past and will include fiction and nonfiction, personal accounts and scholarly studies, many with new introductions and annotations. This list as it develops will reflect the diversity of voices and experiences that is Arkansas.
Adopted at: Arkansas Tech University
Course: ANTH 2103, Ozark-Ouchita Studies
Course Description: This course provides students with the knowledge and skills to understand changing human-environment relationships in the mountain south and to apply these understandings to the assessment of, and potential solutions to, contemporary environmental issues in the area.
Professor: Joshua Lockyer
Term: Fall 2015