Garden City, New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1972-1979. Mixed Editions. Octavo. (24.5 cm.) 5 volumes. Photo pictorial dust jackets. Half cloth, blindstamped publisher logo on front boards. Edgewear to dust jackets on all volumes including some minor closed tears and scuffing. Dampstaining to cloth spine of volume 2, minor foxing to spine of volume 3.
Inscribed by the editor on the front free endpaper of all volumes. Additional warm inscriptions to the book's original owner by participants and alumni of Foxfire. Item #71
Eliot Wigginton was working as a teacher in rural Georgia trying to motivate his high school English class. The students, children of hard working descendents of the original, self-sufficient mountain people of Appalachia, were distracted by the constant demands of their rural lifestyle and saw little practicality in higher education. Wigginton tasked the students with a journalism project interviewing their neighbors and named the resulting magazine "Foxfire" after a local glowing fungus. The students interviewed their neighbors not about the war in Vietnam or the recent moon landing, but about what they knew best: How to butcher a hog, how to birth a child, how to make soap or how to build a log cabin (and non-essentials like moon shining and witchcraft). The practical and tough-minded Appalachians had successfully preserved their isolated mountain culture in their everyday tasks. In 1972, the very popular "Foxfire" magazines (9 million copies were sold in the first 10 years) was first compiled into a hardcover book which continues to this day in specialized editions. The "Foxfire" books are valued for being at the forefront of the artisinal and Green Movement and as a valuable sociological concept for studying the unique and diverse traditions of the United States. A dark cloud of scrutiny has surfaced regarding Wigginton's behavior as a mentor to his students but Foxfire as a organization still exists, supported by the original students with a commitment to experiential education for young people and preserving Appalachian handicrafts and culture. Volumes 1 through 4 later printings with the exception of volume 5 in First Edition. Increasingly scarce with rare inscriptions.