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“The Man Behind The Myth”

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Cashiers Historical Society and Western North Carolina University to partner in upcoming Horace Kephart Symposium.

The Cashiers Historical Society recently announced plans for the 11th Annual Jan Wyatt Symposium to be held Thursday, June 9 at Western Carolina University.

The subject of this year’s program is Horace Kephart, the legendary chronicler of southern Appalachian culture and a leader in the movement to establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The event will begin with registration at 9 a.m. at The Bardo Arts Center at WCU and will conclude by 3 p.m. Tickets for the event are $30 including lunch.  Optional bus or van transportation from Cashiers is available for $20 roundtrip.

“We are excited about this first-time symposium partnership with Western Carolina University, and look forward to bringing this annual event to a broader regional audience this year. Susan Belcher, wife of WCU chancellor David Belcher, is working with us offer a first hand look at the amazing resources and scholastic  talent available at WCU.   This university is without a doubt the leading institution in the country for Kephart research and archival collections, so I think we are all in for a special treat”  commented  Ann McKee Austin, Cashiers Historical Society board member and event co-chair.

Often referred to as “the John Muir of the East”,  Kephart lived in western North Carolina from 1905 until his death in 1931.  His landmark study of the people of Appalachia, Our Southern Highlanders, is still considered the standard by which all other books on the subject are measured.

“Whether you are a long time Kephart enthusiast  eager to hear recently uncovered information, or new to Kephart’s story, this year’s Symposium will give you insights into this complex man and  his sometimes controversial legacy in western North Carolina” commented Connie Haire, CHS board member and co-chair with Austin of the event.

Speakers at the Symposium will include prominent Kephart authorities who will address the theme “Kephart: The Man Behind the Myth.”  Presenters include noted writer and scholar George Ellison; George Frizzell, head of special collections at Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library; and Libby Kephart Hargrave, great-granddaughter of Horace Kephart.

Afternoon events will include guided tours of Anna Fariello’s exhibit Great Smoky Mountains—Visons and Vistas” as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of Kephart collections held by the Mountain Heritage Center.

Corporate sponsor for the symposium is McKee Properties in Cashiers.

For tickets and further information, visit the CHS website at <>  or contact Ann Austin at or Alan Rhew at the CHS office, 828- 743-7710 <tel:828-%20743-7710>

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