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The Blue Mountain Room at the White House

As an artist and a Southerner, Ellen Axson Wilson, wife of President Woodrow Wilson, saw firsthand the expert craftsmanship of Appalachian women during her travels to the North Carolina mountains, and she understood their struggle as artists and wage earners. By decorating the White House with handcrafted fabrics, she focused national attention on the lives, financial needs, and talents of mountain women.

In the first quarter of the 20th century, craft programs and industrial schools were established in southern Appalachia by men and women who recognized the need to provide income and education to an underserved people. The Southern ...

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