Committee Chair

Craddock, J. Hill

Committee Member

Davis, Donald E.; Guo, Zibin; Tucker, John


Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


This oral history research explored and examined the experences and memories of people who lived in the Southern Appalachian region during the years preceding and following the chestnut blight pandemic. The project examined experiences from an environmental history perspective, addressing the economic and cultural significance of chestnut pre and post blight, and attitudes and feelings concerning American chestnut restoration efforts. The American Chestnut Oral History Collection includes forty-five interviews, recorded between May and December 2008. Twenty-seven of them were recorded with people who have memories of the importance of American chestnut in southern Appalachia. These interviews were conducted across Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Virginia. These twenty-seven recordings represent thirty-three interviewees who range in age from 60 to 94 years old. An additional eighteen recordings were made at The American Chestnut Foundation's 25th Anniversary Meeting in October 2008 representing nineteen Foundation members. All recordings were transcribed. The stories of fifty-two people are archived in the present Collection. Recorded accounts of the American chestnut to the people in southern Appalachia. These documented thoughts on restoration also lend insight into why individuals undertake efforts of this magnitude. Many TACF members, who are active in the restoration of American chestnut, first encountered the American chestnut though a shared story or experience with a parent or grandparent. It is my hope that these recordings will be useful in educating and connecting younger generations with the American chestnut and the restoration effort.


I would like to thank my graduate advisor, Dr. J. Hill Craddock, for his enthusiasm, guidance and support of this project. Thanks also to the members of my graduate advising committee Drs. Donald Davis, Zibin Guo and John Tucker for reviewing this manuscript and providing guidance. I am grateful to Megan Iliza Myers for her assistance throughout this Oral History Project, particularly with transcription. I am also grateful for my friends and fanily who have supported me throughout this process.I wish to thank The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Department of Biological and Enviromental Sciences faculty and staff for their help and support, as well as the University achivist Steve Cox. Additionally, I thank The Amehcan Chestnut Foundation, University Honors Program, Graduate Student Association, and the Surmerfield K. Johnston Endownent for the Restoration of the American Chestnut for financial and logistical support.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




American chestnut; Conservation biology; Chestnut blight; Endothia parasitica


American chestnut


Environmental Sciences

Document Type

Masters theses




vii, 105 leaves



Call Number

LB2369.2 .B397 2009