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Foxfire books

From Academic Kids

Foxfire is the name of a series of books which are anthologies of articles from a lesser-known magazine of the same name. The first book of the series was published in 1972. As of 2004, the most recent is Foxfire 12; also as of that date, there are nearly nine million copies of the various books in print.

The series is an effort to document the lifestyle, culture, and skills of people in southern Appalachia in a mixture of how-to information and first person narratives and oral history. Topics covered in the books include apple butter, banjos, basket weaving, butter churning, corn shucking, dulcimers, faith healing, fiddle making, haints, ginseng, hide tanning, hog dressing, hunting tales, log cabin building, moonshining, midwives, old-time burial customs, planting "by the signs", preserving foods, sassafras tea, snake handling and lore, soap making, spinning, square dancing, wagon making, weaving, wild food gathering, witches, and wood carving.

Eight of the first nine of the books were edited by Eliot Wigginton, a high school teacher at the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School (now the Rabun County, Georgia high school), based on articles his students had written that were previously published in magazine form. The magazine was named after foxfire, the bioluminescent glow sometimes seen in a forest. The magazine was founded in 1966 by Wigginton, who was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in 1989.

Though conceived primarily as a sociological work, the books, particularly the early ones, were a commercial success as instructional works. Members of the back to the land movement used them as a blueprint for their attempts to return to a life of simplicity.

List of the books

Related books include:

  • Aunt Arie: A Foxfire Portrait, 1983, Dutton. ISBN 0525932925
  • The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery, 1992, University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807843954
  • The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Toys & Games, 1993, University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 080784425X
  • A Foxfire Christmas, 1996, University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 080784618X

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