Dr. Sandra L. Ballard: Jack Tales & Beech Mountain Storytellers

Thursday, Feb 16, 11:00am to 12:00pm

Blowing Rock Art & History Museum

159 Chestnut St.

$5 Suggested donation


Join Dr. Sandra Ballard as she presents a talk on Jack Tales. Jack Tales are stories about a boy called Jack – as in “Jack and the Beanstalk.” They were carried to the Appalachian Mountains during the 1700s by people who had traveled across the sea from the British Isles. Western North Carolina, especially the area of Beech Mountain, northwest of Blowing Rock, has a particularly rich tradition of oral storytelling that goes back several generations. Dr. Ballard will discuss the Beech Mountain storytellers, such as Ray Hicks and folklorists and Appalachian Studies scholars Bill Lightfoot and Cratis Williams.

The talk will be accompanied by locally-baked goodies from Ugga Mugga Bakery and coffee from Boone-based Hatchet Coffee Company.

Afterwards, guests are invited to visit BRAHM’s exhibit Everyman Jack: Stories & Illustrations by Gail E. Haley (December 3, 2016 – March 25, 2017). The exhibit takes a detailed look at over one hundred original prints and illustrations created by Gail E. Haley for several of her books, including Mountain Jack Tales.

Dr. Sandra L. Ballard

Dr. Ballard is a professor of English and editor of the Appalachian Journal (a scholarly publication documenting and exploring the history, politics, culture, and ecology of Appalachia) at Appalachian State University. She has written introductions to Michigan State University’s new editions of five books by Harriette Arnow: Mountain Path, The Weedkiller’s Daughter, The Kentucky Trace: A Novel of the American Revolution, and Flowering of the Cumberland. She is co-editor of The Collected Short Stories of Harriette Simpson Arnow (Michigan State University Press). With Patricia Hudson, she co-edited the literary anthology Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia (University Press of Kentucky) and co-authored The Carolinas and Appalachian States in the Smithsonian Guide to Historic America series.


This program is funded in part by the Watauga County Arts Council and grassroots funds of the North Carolina Arts Council.

Photo credits: Ray Hicks, photo by David Holt, in Appalachian Journal