Project Description

Doris Ulmann was known for her photographs of Appalachian people, often hard at work. When Ulmann came to the Berea area, she saw Appalachians working their crafts in traditional ways that were very foreign to her industrial, Northern background. These men chaining a warp are performing a key step in one of Appalachia’s quintessential crafts. Coverlets like the ones these men are probably going to weave were a key part of Berea College’s Labor Program. Part of Berea College’s mission was not only to educate Appalachians, African Americans, and women, but to provide students valuable work experience and an understanding of the dignity of labor. The continuation of traditional crafts has been a keystone for Berea, providing not only labor positions and funding for the college, but a way to preserve and document Appalachian culture. The preservation and documentation of Appalachian culture was a cause dear to Doris Ulmann’s heart, having been enamored by the local people upon her first visit to the Southern Highlands. After her death, Doris Ulmann left many of her photographs to her foundation, with a Berea faculty member named as a trustee. Today, the Doris Ulmann Galleries honor her views on Appalachian peoples and house several thousand of her Appalachian photographs. More of her Appalachian photographs can be viewed here.

Object Details

Doris Ulmann (American, 1882-1934)
Early 20th c.
8" X 6"
Silver Gelatin Print
Bequest of artist, 1934