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Stories, quotes and anecdotes from Appalachia, with an emphasis on the Depression era.
Hunter came to my attention during the summer of 2007 as I prepared for my first semester of classes by visiting historical societies located around the university in an effort to find a local author to feature in my African American literature course that fall. After several visits to the Pendleton Historic Foundation, I asked a staff member, whom I later learned was Jo McConnell, if she could recommend a book. “Have you heard of A Nickel and a Prayer?” she asked as I left their office on my final visit to the site. I had not but promised her that I would find the book.
There was one fragile copy of the book in Clemson’s Special Collections, which librarians used to make copies for my students. I purchased a signed copy of the book on Amazon.com for $50. As my students and I finished discussing the book, I asked them to respond to the final chapter, “Fireside Musings.” They looked puzzled. I gave them hints to jog their memories. They looked even more puzzled. So I opened my book and pointed to the chapter title. “We don’t have that chapter, Dr. Thomas,” one of my students replied.
That discovery led to the establishment of The Jane Edna Hunter Project. Two teams of undergraduate researchers in Clemson University’s Creative Inquiry Program assisted with the research for the scholarly edition, including conducting archival work in the Western Reserve Historical Society Library and the PWA in Cleveland, where Hunter’s papers are housed, and helping to write a book proposal that led to a contract in the Regenerations series sponsored by the West Virginia University Press. The Regenerations series features significant out of print and neglected texts by African American writers.Read More »