Officials with Missouri State University-West Plains’ (MSU-WP) Ozarks Heritage Research Center (OHRC) and the Garnett Library will host a discussion of the book “Queen of the Hillbillies: The Writings of May Kennedy McCord” at noon Nov. 10 at the library, 304 W. Trish Knight St., in West Plains.
The event is free, and everyone is welcome to attend, organizers said.
Edited by McCord’s granddaughter, Patti, and Dr. Kristene Sutliff, emeritus professor at Missouri State University in Springfield, “Queen of the Hillbillies” compiles the best of McCord’s widely scattered columns, articles, stories and ballads, as well as unpublished material from her personal files, organizers said.
More about May Kennedy McCord
Born in Carthage in 1880 and raised in Stone County, McCord was a famous writer and entertainer who spent most of her life preserving the unwritten history, songs and stories of the Ozarks.
Beginning in the 1920s, she became recognized as one of America’s foremost folklorists as she shared her knowledge of the Ozarks through lectures, newspaper columns, magazine stories, radio programs and music festivals, earning her the monikers “First Lady of the Ozarks” and “Queen of the Hillbillies.”
For many years, she wrote a column called “Hillbilly Heartbeats” that appeared regularly in the Springfield newspapers. Later, she hosted a show of the same name on KWTO-AM radio in Springfield.
“She was an entertainer who became as much of a tourist attraction as her beloved hills and often entertained tour groups that wanted to learn about the Ozarks,” said Rebekah McKinney, director of library services at the Garnett Library.
More about the event
Sutliff will attend the Nov. 10 event to discuss the preservation process used to share McCord’s works with a new generation. She also will read excerpts from the book and will have a limited number of signed copies available for purchase.
Sutliff spent 37 years teaching technical writing at MSU and said she has loved getting to know McCord through her granddaughter’s eyes.
For more information about the Nov. 10 presentation, call the Garnett Library at 417-255-7945.