I was able, this weekend, to jump head-first into primary research. I simply used the years themselves as search terms while on my local library’s online resource page here. Starting with 1914, I sifted through collections, many, which did not have a strong connection to the purpose of this class. However, I was able to create a timeline, using these abstracts and sample photographs, to provide a narrative for Asheville’s experience during the Great War. I have only superficially researched the influenza outbreak and its local impact, but initially it seems that Asheville and its surrounding communities were health centers during the crisis, rather than sources or associates of infection.
The photographs, most of which I will selfishly guard until the final website is unveiled, are spectacular. I was able to speak with my colleague, Ashley; we coordinated our efforts and assigned each other the particular aspects of the community about which we are charged to present. Again, she will focus on the ‘folks’ of Asheville: the farmers, the working class, those who can be identified as ‘marginalized.’ I will look at the public side of Asheville, its main players, propaganda…err…displays of nationalism, growing network of businesses, and other meta-themes I might find present in our community between 1914 and 1919. I might look a little before, to catch up the website-user on local foundations. And I might even ask questions of what legacy can be felt today.
It should be a fun semester. Asheville was an important town- I think it still is. I am already surprised at the fruit that my researched has produced so far. And I just got in the tractor.
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