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Hillbilly Stereotypes in Material Objects

Exploring Appalachian Stereotypes Using the Artifact Teaching Collection

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The hillbilly stereotype is strongly associated with certain regions, namely Appalachia and the Ozarks. The stereotype features prominently in the souvenir objects from places in these regions. 

North Carolina Hillbilly Salt and Pepper Shakers 2004.41.1

[Accession 2004.41.1]

This set is a souvenir salt and paper set from North Carolina, ca. 1950-70. The salt and pepper shakers are moonshine jugs stuffed with corn cob stoppers and the hang from the man's gun.  There is a hole top in the man's hat which may also have had some purpose, such as dispensing toothpicks or vinegar. 

Tennessee Souvenir Salt and Pepper Shakers 2003.32.1-2

[Accession 2003.32.1-2]

ca. 1935-1960

Salt and Pepper Shaker Set 2003.33.1-3

[Accession 2003.33.1-3]

In this set, the hillbilly man is the salt shaker and the jug is for pepper.  It is ca. 1955-1975 and marked "made in Japan."

Hillbilly Wooden Jewelry Box 2004.36.1

[Accession 2004.36.1]

While this object comes from a place far from Appalachian or the Ozarks, it still uses a hillbilly motif.  It is marked "BIG BEAR LAKE, CALIF" which is a mountain place.  Perhaps, the intention is to use the hillbilly motif to evoke ideas of leisure and rusticity? It is ca. 1955-65.