Research Conversations: Rural Mail Carriers in Central Appalachia with Emily Hilliard

Wednesday, May 31, 2023 at 4 p.m. ET
online and in person at the National Postal Museum

Three rural postal workers
Left to right: Retired Virginia rural mail carrier and National Heritage Fellow Wayne Henderson standing in his guitar shop, in front of his old mail case, which he now uses to track guitar orders, photo by Emily Hilliard; West Virginia rural mail carrier Lee Ann Carpenter, photo courtesy Lee Ann Carpenter; West Virginia rural mail carrier Steve Honaker along his route, photo by Steve Honaker.
Emily Hilliard headshot
Emily Hilliard headshot by Ryan Babbitt

Emily Hilliard is the Program Director for Folk and Traditional Arts at Mid Atlantic Arts. She received an Archie Green Fellowship in 2021 from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress for her project "Rural Free Delivery: Mail Carriers in Central Appalachia." The project documents the expressive culture and experiences of twenty-five rural mail carriers and clerks in the upper mountain South (VA, WV, KY, OH, NC). It focuses, in particular, on the function they serve as lifelines in their community, as well as how rural post offices are invaluable community hubs in remote areas.

Alison Bazylinski is Assistant Curator at the National Postal Museum.

Crumpler, North Carolina Post Office
Crumpler, NC Post Office, photo by Emily Hilliard