“‘Foxfire’ is the name of a series of books which are anthology collections of material from The Foxfire Magazine. The students’ portrayal of the previously-dismissed culture of Southern Appalachia as a proud, self-sufficient people with simple beliefs, pure joy in living, and rock-solid faith shattered most of the world-at-large’s misconceptions about these ‘hillbillies.'”
The Foxfire books have been in my life as long as I can remember. I can still remember their location in my parents’ bookcase. Just as I remember the location of Fleming’s Art & Ideas (1968, 3rd edition) art history book. Even today, all 4 of these books are next to each other the hallway bookcase. All of them describe cultures, traditions, and artifacts seemingly foreign, primitive, and obsolete.
Chimney buildin’, moonshinin’, ox yoke makin’, blacksmithin’ cowbells.
Yet, everything within the pages of Foxfire was captured less than 50 years ago. That recency makes it as much a survival manual as a history book. As much entertainment as reference. As much novelty as reminder of how far we are from plain living.