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American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. 

1937-1942. American Memory: Florida Folklife from the WPA Collection, 1937-1942.  http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/flwpabibquery.html  (search turpentine)

This excellent website makes accessible much of the pioneering work in the occupational folklife of turpentiners done by Stetson Kennedy and Zora Neale Hurston during the WPA.  The most extensive work in the collection was gathered during fieldwork in Cross City, Florida.  This includes interviews and music, especially blues, from African American turpentine workers.   Items from this collection are also housed in the Florida State Archives, Tallahassee.


Georgia Agrirama, www.agrirama.com,  hosts the annual turpentine still firing as part of its Folklife Festival, and also houses the papers of the American Turpentine Farmers Association (1936-1975).  See the following links: Description of Collection; Comprehensive Directory.


Georgia Forestry Magazine.

2003. “End of an Era, Georgia Turpentine Industry Fades into History.”  Spring: 4-7. http://www.gfc.state.ga.us/Publications/Educational/Magazines/Spring2003.pdf  

A useful article for background information on Jim Gillis, Jr. of Soperton Naval Stores (Treutlen County), whose company dipped the last bucket of commercial turpentine in Georgia on August 9, 2001. The article includes photos of Gillis’ long-time employee, Major Phillips, doing the work in the woods. Gillis’ family has been involved in turpentining for over a century, and Jim Gillis has been one of the most influential figures in the state in terms of forestry and naval stores.


Lange, Dorothea

1937.  Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives, “Turpentine, Georgia.” Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/fsaSubjects14.html 

Photographer Dorothea Lange’s 40 black and white images of South Georgia turpentine workers, camps, and stilling operations in 1937 are available on the web. Search under turpentine, Georgia.


Olmsted, Frederick Law.

1856 Turpentine and Naval Stores, in A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States, With Remarks on Their Economy. New York; London: Dix and Edwards; Sampson Low, Son & Co., pp. 338-351. From Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/olmsted/menu.html


   One of the earliest accounts of turpentine with descriptions of the process of working in the woods, stilling, and also the brief “Slaves and other people in the turpentine forests” section which describes living conditions of workers. 


Banks, Tony.

1998-2002.  Turpentine Still, Georgia Forestry Commission, Retrieved May 4, 2004. http://www.gaforests.com/LowerCoastalPlain/interesting/turpentinestill2.html.  


State Library and Archives of Florida.  Florida Memory online classroom. History - Zora Neale Hurston, the WPA, and the Cross City Turpentine Camp. http://www.floridamemory.com/OnlineClassroom/zora_hurston

A lesson plan linked to Florida’s Sunshine State Standards with important primary documentation, including Hurston’s essay on the Cross City Turpentine Camp from her WPA fieldwork, a biography of Hurston and her role as collector, and a sampling of photos from the state archive’s collection on turpentining.


Wimster, C.W.

2002 [1939] Life History of C.W. Wimster, Turpentine Man. American Memory website, The Library of Congress Electronic document, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/mdbquery.html 




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