Faculty Favorites

John Fraser Hart's favorite images from his early career

Wear Cove, Tennessee

1.  Wear Cove, Tennessee, August 8, 1959 

In east Tennessee tectonic forces have shoved the tough old crystalline rocks of the Great Smoky Mountains westward over the limestone rocks of the Great Valley. Subsequent stream erosion has cut down through the forested crystalline rocks to expose the underlying limestone in valleys that are known locally as "coves." The limestone coves have better soils and have been cleared for cultivation in small farms, but in 1959 they could be accessed only by tortuous narrow roads that inched along the deep stream valleys. (JFH)

Frye Farm, Tennessee

2.  Frye Farm, Wear Cove, Tennessee, August 8, 1959

Jim Frye has a 40-acre farm in the heart of Wear Cove on which he raised a family of seventeen children. In one field he planted the traditional combination of corn/ beans/ and cucurbits that fed his family and fattened a few hogs that he butchered in the fall for meat. His only cash income came from a 1.06-acre tobacco patch. For fun, he and his boys hunted bears that were foolish enough to venture out of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, whose boundary runs along the crest of the distant mountain range. (JFH)

Chopping Cotton

3.  Chopping Cotton, North of Meridian, Mississippi, June 10, 1964

The humid subtropical climate that was good for growing cotton was almost ideal for growing weeds, and at least once a week during the growing season gangs of workers had to trudge through the shadeless field chopping them out with hand hoes when the temperature was above ninety and the humidity was oppressive. The only white person in this picture is the supervisor. Many of the workers lived in shacks without running water or baths. (JFH)

Cultivating a Strip in a Vast Open Field with Oxen

4.  Cultivating a Strip in a Vast Open Field with Oxen, Strasbourg, France, April 12, 1960

'Open (unfenced) field' farming still persisted in parts of Europe as late as 1960. Each peasant farmed long narrow strips of cropland that were scattered through the fields of the village, and each strip had to grow the same crops as all the other strips in the field. (JFH)

A Modern Agricultural Village with Strip Fields in the Foreground

5.  A Modern Agricultural Village in Germany, with Strip Fields in the Foreground, August 16, 1951

Agricultural village with strip fields in the foreground. The village was merely a collection of farmsteads with no businesses or other commercial activities. Each day the farmers trudged out to their long narrow strips, which were scattered through the fields of the village. (JFH)

Fence Removal

6.  Fence Removal, Jay County, Indiana, June 1967

Farmers in the Corn Belt have 'pulled' their fences when they have switched from mixed crop-and-livestock farming to cash-grain farming, because the fences occupied valuable land on which the farmer could grow another row or two of cash crops such as corn or soybeans. (JFH)

Wooden Barn with Thatched Roof in Southern England

7.  Wooden Barn with Thatched Roof in Southern England, July 1964

Thatched barn and stockyard in southern England (north of Reading). The door in the barn opened into the threshing floor where workers threshed grain with hand flails They stored the threshed grain in the bays in either end of the barn. They placed feed for beef cattle in the structures in the stockyard, from which they hauled manure to fertilize the fields. (JFH)

Modified Three-Bay Barn

8.  Modified three-bay barn, west of Wausau, Wisconsin, April 4, 1971

Modified three-bay barn. Traditional three-bay barns had a central threshing floor with storage bays in either end. This farmer has modified his barn by building enclosed stalls for cattle in one end, with a loft above where he could store hay. (JFH)

Corn in Shocks, Cullowhee, North Carolina

9.  Corn in Shocks, Cullowhee, North Carolina, November 7, 1954

Pioneer farmers cut off ripe corn stalks at ground level and stacked them in shocks in the field. They hauled the shocks to the farmstead when they needed feed or fodder. Corn pickers and combine harvesters supplanted corn shocking, but it lingered on longer on small farms in the hills of Appalachia. (JFH)

Tobacco Seedbeds Covered with Cheesecloth to Protect the Young Plants

10.  Tobacco Seedbeds Covered with Cheesecloth to Protect the Young Plants, 1955

Tobacco seedbeds on a farm in Appalachia are covered with sheets of cheesecloth supported by logs to protect the young plants. The seeedbed was narrow so that the farmer could weed it by stretching across from either side, and as long as necessary. Ideally the seedbed was on ground that had never grown tobacco, to minimize damage from diseases and insects. (JFH)

Cultivating Tobacco under Cheesecloth Shades in Florida

11.  Cultivating Tobacco under Cheesecloth Shades, Southwest of Gretna, Florida, April 19, 1962

Cultivating tobacco under cheesecloth shades in Florida. The shades simulated a moist tropical climate and were high enough to permit easy cultivation beneath them. The cigar-wrapped tobacco was valuable enough to justify the expense. (JFH)

White-painted Board Fences on a Horse Farm in the Bluegrass Country of Kentucky

12.  White-painted Board Fences on a Horse Farm in the Bluegrass Country of Kentucky

White-painted board fences frame the entrance to a horse farm in the Kentucky Bluegrass country. Highly visible boards discourage frisky young colts from running into them, but demand expensive maintenance and regular repainting. (JFH)