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Southern Spaces
A journal about real and imagined spaces and places of the US South and their global connections

Forgotten Locavores: Letters and Literature of Market Bulletins

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Published July 12, 2012


Drawing from the archives of North Carolina garden writer Elizabeth Lawrence (1904–1985), southern state market bulletins, and letters from bulletin readers, Elizabeth Engelhardt introduces the complex archival methods, systems of knowing, and practices of naming found in the networks of correspondence among gardeners and farm women. She considers how these publications and letters provide background to contemporary movements to preserve and value local foods, heritage seeds, and farmers’ markets, as well as insights into twentieth century gender and class relationships.


Part 2Engelhardt’s discussion of state market bulletins’ history, content, readership, circulation, and archival importance

Part 3Engelhardt overviews the correspondence among bulletin readers and Lawrence

Part 4Engelhardt asks questions such as, “What do farm bulletins and letters reveal about race, class, and gender history?”

Part 5Engelhardt relates the influence of market bulletins in Eudora Welty’s “The Wanderers.” 

Part 6Engelhardt Q & A. Topics include how Lawrence’s correspondence inform her writing


Many thanks to Northwestern State University of Louisiana's Watson Memorial Library Cammie G. Henry Research Center for the materials from the Warren Way Collection, which were the inspiration for this talk and appear in facsimile in the video. Also thanks to the University Libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for digitizing the 1920s market bulletins from Raleigh, North Carolina, which appear in the video. This presentation, given at Woodruff Library at Emory University, April 24, 2012, was sponsored by Emory's American Studies Program and the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library with support from the Hightower Fund.  

About the Author

Elizabeth Engelhardt, professor of American Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas, Austin, writes about food, gender, race, and class in the US South. She is lead author of Republic of Barbecue: Stories Beyond the Brisket (2009) and author of A Mess of Greens: Southern Gender and Southern Food (2011). Engelhardt is co-editing (with John T. Edge and Ted Ownby) a forthcoming volume about southern food methodologies.