Earl Palmer Collection
AC 034

 

Summary Information

Repository
McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections
Title
The Earl Palmer Collection
ID
AC 034
Date [inclusive]
1945-1996
Extent
9.5 Linear feet
Physical Description

Collection is arranged as follows:

Series 1: Photographs and Negatives- Undated photographs loosely divided into like goups including moonshiners, moonshine stills, landscapes, plants, Appalachian crafts, Appalachian work, houses, country life, and what appear to be vacation photographs.
Series 2: Grocery Stores- Deposit receipt books, check registers, binders of business expenses and inventory control information, cashed checks and other business paperwork.
Series 3: Mayor of Cambria- Arrest warrants for people in the town of Cambria, VA 1947-8, Town meeting notes, and County Poll books showing the names of voters.
Series 4: AARP- Bank statements, treasurers reports, meeting notes, and rolls of people attending holiday parties.
Series 5: Personal and Miscellaneous- Legal papers, personal financial information, correspondence, and awards.

Location
Located in locked compact shelving, level 1.
Language
English

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Earl Palmer Collection, Appalachian Collection, McConnell Library, Radford University, Radford, VA.

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Biographical/Historical Note

Earl Palmer was born in Straight Creek Hollow, a mining camp in Bell County, KY in 1905.  His father was a part-time miner and part-time circus owner who brought his travelling circus to mining camps throughout Kentucky.  When his father died, his mother opened a small store.  During the school year, Earl lived with a foster family- David and Martha Lewis, and he lived with his mother in the summers. He was known to have run away to join travelling circus’ occasionally in summers also. 

Earl Palmer developed his love of the mountains from the Lewis’ and learned photography from Martha.  He received his first camera at age 7 by saving labels from Arbuckle Coffee cans and sending them in to the company.  He had a very long history of selling photographs to newspapers and magazines and had a job writing and photographing for a newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky.

He earned a teaching certificate from Union College in Barbourville, KY but due to a lack of jobs instead went to work for A&P grocery stores.  He soon became manager of a store in Evarts, KY  and from there quickly was given more responsibility in the A&P company and managed several stores.  Because he felt a deep connection for mountain people, he often would sometimes find himself on the wrong side of store policy, or even the law.  Because of this tendency, he was caught and taken to federal court for selling sugar to moonshiners and as a result, dissolved his relationship with A&P. 

After his time with A&P, Palmer moved to Cambria, VA and started his own grocery store and treated his photography habit more as a business than a hobby. He took a correspondence course from New York School of Photography and was awarded a certificate from them in 1943. He would soon be a regular contributor to various magazines, newspapers, and books.  His previous experience and reputation allowed him access to moonshiners and their stills, and his photographs of them helped make him famous.

In addition to his grocery store years and his photography, Earl Palmer was also the Mayor of Cambria, VA from 1954-1964.  He died in his home March 4, 1996. 

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Scope and Contents

Collection consists of photographs, negatives, bank records, financial records, financial accounting books from various grocery stores, arrest warrants for various residents of the Town of Cambria, county poll books from the Town of Cambria, various awards, and various records from Chapter #53 of AARP.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections

McConnell Library
PO Box 6881
Radford, Virginia
540-831-5692
archives@radford.edu

Restrictions to Access

An appointment for research is required. The collection is open for research. No interlibrary loan.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The documents are available for free personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided the proper citation is used (e.g. McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections, Radford University, Radford VA).  Any commercial use of the materials, without the written permission of the Radford University, and the copyright holder, is prohibited.  Please refer to the McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections website for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

All materials were donated to Radford University Archives by Liz Raimey (grand-daughter of Earl Palmer) between September 2015 and December 2018.

Accruals

Further accruals may be coming but there are none scheduled.

Existence and Location of Originals

Archives and Special Collections, McConnell Library

Related Archival Materials

Virginia Tech: http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaxtf/view?docId=vt/viblbv00084.xml
Berea College: https://berea.libraryhost.com/index.php?p=collections/findingaid&id=73


Collection Inventory

1. Photographs

Box 1: Moonshiners, Life in Appalachia- Quilting, Handwork, Food, Work

Box 1: Folder 1: Sam DeHart, Walter "Goode" Rakes, Melbert Hale- 90 photographs and some negatives

Box 1: Folder 2: Moonshiners and Stills- 9 photographs

Box 1: Folder 3: Life in Appalachia- Quilting- 22 photographs

Box 1: Folder 4: Life in Appalachia- Hand Work- 55 photographs

Box 1: Folder 5: Life in Appalachia- Food- 24 photographs

Box 1: Folder 6: Life in Appalachia- Work- 72 photographs

Box 2: Houses and Home Life

Box 2: Folder 1: Life in Appalachia- Houses and Buildings- 69 photographs

Box 2: Folder 2: Life in Appalachia- Fishing from Boats- 30 photographs

Box 2: Folder 3: Life in Appalachia- Home and Other Fun- 31 photographs

Box 2: Folder 4: Life in Appalachia-Vacations- 10 photographs

Box 2: Folder 5: Miscellaneous- 56 photographs

Box 2: Folder 6: Photographs of More than One Person- 45 photographs

Box 2: Folder 7: Photographs of One Woman- 30 photographs

Box 2: Folder 8: Photogaphs of One Man- 29 photographs

Box 3: Plants, Landscapes, and Trains

Box 3: Folder 1: Plants- 33 photographs

Box 3: Folder 2: Color Positives of Plants- 18 color positives

Box 3: Folder 3: Landscapes- 44 photographs

Box 3: Folder 4-5: Landscapes

Box 3: Folder 6: Trains- 20 photographs

Box 3: Folder 7: Trains- 18 photographs

Box 4: Miscellaneous Photographs

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO- 11 photobraphs

Canada- 85 negatives

Colorado Springs, CO- 41 negatives

1970s era Wagon Train- 23 photographs and negatives

Bluegrass Band featuring Buddy Pendleton and Wayne Henderson- 20 photographs

Wilson (a man named Wilson)- 13 photographs and negatives

Headshot of an Unidentified Man- 8 negatives

Box 5: Published Examples

Box 5: Folder 1: Appalacian Heritage Summer 1995

Box 5: Folder 2: Mountain Life & Work Magazine of the South Fall 1964, July-August 1970

Box 5: Folder 3: Blue Ridge Folklife Festival October 24, 1981

Box 5: Folder 4: People and Places January 1957, April 1958, August 1958

Box 5: Folder 5: Dodge News Magazine Vol.20 #4, Vol 21 #3, Vol 21 #9, Vol 22 #12, Nov 1960, March 1962

Box 5: Folder 6: The Scenic South Jan. 1945, March 1945, May 1945, Nov 1945, Nov 1954, Sept 1955, May 1956, May 1959

Box 5: Folder 7: Calendars- Blue Ridge Insititute 1980, 1982-1985; National Bank of Blacksburg 1986

Box 5: Folder 8: The Long Way Home Program Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, and Eleventh Seasons; The Long Way Home book by Earl Hobson Smith, 1976

Box 5: Folder 9: Postcards

SERIES 2 Grocery Store

Box 6: Business Expenses

Box 6: Folder 1: Three Ring Binder Jan 1948- Dec 18, 1948

Box 6: Folder 2: Three Ring Binder Dec 29, 1956-Dec 13, 1958

Box 6: Folder 3: Three Ring Binder Dec 17, 1960-Dec 8, 1962

Box 7: Banking- The Cambria Bank/ First Virginia Bank 

Box 7: Folder 1: Deposit Book for Walkers Market, Cambria VA. Dec 16, 1948-May 21, 1957. Deposit Boo for Palmer's Market, Cambria VA Sept 6, 1957-March 18, 1971

Box 7: Folder 2: Deposit Receipt Books. Aug 21, 1959-Dec 7, 1961, Jan 5, 1962-Dec 9, 1963, Dec 10, 1963, Oct 14, 1966

Box 7: Folder 3: Check Registers. Sept 17, 1956-Nov 16, 1956, Oct 7, 1963-Feb 18, 1964

Box 7: Folder 4: Check Registers. Dec 28, 1955-May 26, 1956, May 26, 1956-Sept 17, 1956

Box 7: Folder 5: Check Registers. Jan 7, 1957-Apr 26, 1957, Apr 29, 1957-Aug 12, 1957, Aug 12, 1957-Dec 9, 1957

Box 7: Folder 6: Check Registers. Dec 9, 1957-Apr 8, 1957, Apr 14, 1958-Aug 25, 1958, Aug 26, 1958-Jan 6, 1959

Box 7: Folder 7: Check Registers. Feb 19, 1964-Jun 30, 1964

Box 7: Folder 8: Check Registers. Nov 9, 1964-Mar 25, 1965

Box 8: Cashed Checks, Deposit Receipt Book, Financial Statement, Daily Statement of Bear Stores, Store Photo

Box 8: Folder 1: Cashed Checks- The Cambria BankDec 18, 1968-Feb 24, 1969 

Box 8: Folder 2: Cashed Checks- The Cambria Bank/First Virginia Bank Mar 25, 1969-Jul 28, 1969

Box 8: Folder 3: Cashed Checks- First Virginia Bank Jul 18, 1969-Sep 15, 1969

Box 8: Folder 4: Cashed Checks- First Virginia Bank Dec 23, 1971- Feb 18, 1972

Box 8: Folder 5: Deposit Receipt Book- First Virginia Bank Jul 19, 1971-Jan 10, 1972

Box 8: Folder 6: Financial Statements, Personal and Business. Feb 26, 1968; Apr 18, 1970; Apr 22, 1946; Apr 30, 1946; May 2, 1946; May 4, 1946; May 6, 1946; Photograph of grocery store in Neon, KY managed by Earl Palmer

Box8:Folder7: Grocery Store Correspondence. Frontier Nursing Service

Box 9: Financial Accounting Books 

Box 9: Folder 1: Financial Accounting Books. Dec 12, 1960-Jan 14, 1961; Jan 17, 1961-Feb 18,1961

Box 9: Folder 2: Financial Accounting Books. Feb 20, 1961-Mar 23, 1961; Mar 24, 1961-Apr 22, 1961

Box 9: Folder 3: Financial Accounting Books. Apr 24, 1961-May 27, 1961; May 29, 1961-Jun 24, 1961

Box 9: Folder 4: Financial Accounting Books. Jun 26, 1961-Jun 26, 1961; Jul 31, 1961-Sep 2, 1961

Box 9: Folder 5: Financial Accounting Books. Sep 5, 1961-Sep 30, 1961; Oct 2, 1961-Dec 9, 1961

Box 9: Folder 6: Financial Accounting Books. Dec 1, 1963-Jan 10, 1970; Jan 12, 1970-Feb 28, 1971

Box 9: Folder 7: Financial Accounting Books. Mar 2, 1970- Apr 11, 1970; Apr 13, 1970-May 23, 1970

Box 9: Folder 8: Financial Accounting Books. May 25, 1970-Jul 11, 1970; Jul 13, 1970-Aug 29, 1970

Box 9: Folder 9: Financial Accounting Books. Aug 31, 1970-Oct 13, 1970; Oct 14, 1970-Nov 28, 1970

Box 9: Folder 10: Financial Accounting Books. Jan 31, 1972-Feb 5, 1972; Feb 7, 1972-Mar 25, 1972

Box 9: Folder 11: Financial Accounting Books. Mar 27, 1972-May 5, 1972

Series 3. Mayor of Cambria

Box 10: Arrest Warrants, Town Meeting Notes, County Poll Books.

Box 10: Folder 1: Arrest Warrants 1947 (not all cases present) Cases:C103-C117

Box 10: Folder 2: Arrest Warrants 1947 (not all cases present) Cases:C118-C148

Box 10: Folder 3: Arrest Warrants 1947-48 (not all cases present) Cases:C149-C162

Box 10: Folder 4: Arrest Warrants 1948 (not all cases present) Cases:C163-C177

Box 10: Folder 5: Arrest Warrants 1948 (not all cases present) Cases:C178-C208

Box 10: Folder 6: Notes From Town Meeting 1957

Box 10: Folder 7: County Poll Books- 1960, 1964

SERIES 4. AARP

Box 11: Bank Statements, Treasurers Report, Treasurers Book, Notes, Etc

Box 11: Folder 1: Bank Statements 1971-1977

Box 11: Folder 2: Monthly Gross Receipts Journal. 1976 Received; 1976 Received and Distributed; 1977 Received

Box 11: Folder 3: Treasurers Book 1971-1975

Box 11: Folder 4: Treasurers Book 9176-1978

Box 11: Folder 5: Treasurers Report 1976-1978

Box 11: Folder 6: Meeting Minutes. Jan 6, 1976; Nov 2, 1976; Jan 4, 1977; Mar 1, 1977; Apr 5, 1977; Jun 7, 1977; July 12, 1977; Sep 6, 1977; Oct 4, 1977; nov 1, 1977; Jan 3, 1977; Feb 7, 1977; Mar 3, 1977; Apr 4, 1977; May 9, 1977

Box 11: Folder 7: State Corporation Commissoin and Random Things. Triennial Review from AARP Jul 10, 1978; Reports to SCC listing chapter officials, 1978, 1979; Bills from SCC 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979; Form to SCC listing Chapter Officers 1978; Memorandum to AARP Treasurers Jan 27, 1977, Dec 2, 1977, Jan 24, 1977, Nov 24, 1978; Chapter #53 Membership Rolls (undated) 2 years worth; 4 letters acknowledging cash gifts from Chapter #53 (Cambria Baptist Church $50 Jul 24, 1974, National Retired Teachers Association $40 Nov 12, 1974, AARP $100 Dec 11, 1974, Christiansburg Life Saving & First Aid Crew $100 Dec 20, 1974

Box 11: Folder 8: Meeting Attendance. Members Attending Christmas Party Dec 22, 1974; Members Attending Christmas Party Dec 18, 1977; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Jan 4, 1975; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Jan 6, 1976; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Feb 3, 1976; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Mar 3, 1976; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Apr 6, 1976; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Jun 1, 1976; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Jul 6, 1976; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Aug 3, 1976; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Sep 7, 1976; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Nov 1976; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Nov 2, 1976; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Dec 7, 1976; Members Attending Monthly MeetingJan 4, 1977; Members Attending Monthly Meeting March 1977; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Apr 5, 1977; Members Attending Monthly Meeting May 3, 1977; Members Attending Monthly Meeting Jun 7, 1977

Box 15: Wooden Gavel- Christiansburg Chapter of AARP by J.P. Branecy

SERIES 5. PERSONAL AND MISCELLANEOUS

Box 12: Legal Papers, Correspondence, Personal Financial Information, Awards

Box 12: Folder 1: Legal Papers. Earl Palmer Obituary; Funeral Program for Earl Palmer; Deed for land in Cambria, VA; Life Insurance paperwork; Survey map of land sold by Earl Palmer

Box 12: Folder 2: Correspondence between Curtis Anderson of Better Homes and Gardens and Earl Palmer. Dec 28, 1959, Dec 29, 1959, Jan 7, 1960, Jan 12, 1960, Jan 15, 1960, Jan 16, 1960, Jan 19, 1960; Earl Palmer to Jessie Stewart Dec 8, 1959; Scrapbook Pages of photos and captions of Jessie Stewart; to Noble Gemmel of Better Homes and Gardens about Jessie Stewart; Palmer stationary; Earl Palmer to Bernard Birnbaum of CBS news (undated); BB Taylor (cousin) to Earl Palmer Feb 27, 1996; Hobson Smith of The Long Way Home to Earl Palmer; Page from The Tennessee Cooperator about Hobsom Smith Oct 27, 1976; P.L. Ricker of the Wildlife Preservation Society Inc, to Earl Palmer May 12, 1961; Floret Robinson of Charles Scribner and Sons Publishers to Earl Palmer Sep 7, 1967; Sally Harris of Virginia Tech to Earl Palmer Feb 9, 1987; Ricky Kirk to Earl Palmer Jan 13, 1995;

Box 12: Folder 3: Personal Finance. Bank Deposit Books, Cambria Bank Nov 27, 1968- Apr 26, 1971; Bank of Christiansburg Mar 4, 1958-Jun 1, 1962; Christmas Club Book First Virginia Bank Nov 26, 1971-May 24, 1972; Certificate Statements Dec 23, 1970, Mar 23, 1972; Receipt from The Cambria Bank for $300 Mar 23, 1972; Settlement papers for loans mady by Earl Palmer to the Industrial Foundation of Christiansburg Inc for $28,055 Sep 19, 1970

Box 12: Folder 4: Mileage Logs May 12-15, 1977; Offensive joke letter

Box12: Folder 5: Stocks. Statements from the various stocks owned and sold by Earl Palmer

Box 12: Folder 6: Awards and Certificates. National Newspaper Snapshot Award 1950 Certificate of Merit; National Newspaper Snapshot Award 1954 Certificate of Merit; 1988 Regional Achievement Award- Blue Ridge Highlands; VPI Arts & Sciences Recognition of Earl Palmer Apr 24, 1989; Warm Hearth Certificate of Appreciation 1994; Invitation to Appalachian Studies Program recognition of Earl Palmer.

Box 13: Corn Husk Dolls

Box 14: Writings and Articles of Interest to Earl Palmer

Box 14: Folder 1: Longer Writings of Earl Palmer. A Ghost Becomes a National Park; Big Doin's at Christiansburg, July 3, 1909; Blue Ridge Autumn Ritual Apple Butter Stir-Off; The Great Gatherin' at Christiansburg July 3, 1909; Chapter Sketch; Atmosphere Assignment; Cass Scenic Railroad

Box 14: Folder 2: Captions for Photographs

Box 14: Folder 3: Captions for Photographs

Box 14: Folder 4: Articles that Earl Palmer cut out and saved for reference. Smith E., (1977) How W. Eugene Smith Shoots and Prints. Popular Photography, February, 74-81, 144-5, 172; Marshall, C., (1976) Diffusion in the Darkroom, Popular Photography, June 84-8, 134; Goldberg, N., (1972) Shoptalk- Auto Exposure Systems and Some of the Problems and Pitfalls. Popular Photography, January 72-74; Hattersley, R.M., (1976) How to Clean and Repair Your Negatives. Holiday Issue, 110-14, 175, 238; Hattersley, R.M. (1976) How to Bleach Your Prints. December, 132-5, 168-9; Kennedy, C.W. (1976) Tools & Techniques- Contrast: What It Is, Hot to Judge It and Keep it Under Control. November, 48, 138

Box 14: Folder 5: Various poems clipped from publications

Box 14: Folder 6: Various Newspaper Articles About or Mentioning Earl Palmer

Box 15: Awards and Various Items

Box 15: Charles Kuralt's book: A Life On The Road

Box 15: Award Cup Presented to Earl Palmer for being the Champion Bread Salesman

Box 15: President's Council Distinguished Founder Award 1988-89

Box 15: Earl Palmer personal stationary in a presentation box

Box 15: Rubber Stamp- The Long Way Home

Box 15: Various Negative Printing Hardware

Box 15: Distinguished Citizen of the Year Plaque- Christiansburg/Montgomery County 1984

Box 16: Awards and Various Items

Box 16: Darkroom Timer- Gra Lab Universal Timer

Box 16: Darkroom Timer- Kodak Universal Timer

Box 16: Award Cup Presented to Earl Palmer Manager for Largest Dollars in May Sales Contest 1932

Box 16: Award Cup Awarded by Asst. Superintendent Quaker Maid Unit 1932

Framed Photograph- Grocers Dinner

Framed Newspaper