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Polly Page

Polly Page

(b.1918), lives in Pleasant Hill in Cumberland County
Rooster, 1967-1977, wood, 5.75 inches tall, 77.36.26

A) Uncle Pink, in blue overalls and blue shirt, 10 inches
B) Aunt Jenny in black and brown dress, 10 inches
C) Robin in white with brown floral pattern dress and white pantaloons with lace bottoms, 5.5 inches
D) Mark in blue overalls and red hat, 5.5 inches
E) Two pieces of wood representing logs with a saw, saw blade length-5 inches
F) Wooden carving of a butter churn, 4.75 inches, 36.53A

In her long career as a woodcarver, Page has preserved the legacy of Cumberland County’s Pleasant Hill Academy, one of Tennessee’s most notable Appalachian settlement schools. Part of a wider education and social reform movement in isolated areas of the southern mountains, the school also had programs encouraging student involvement in traditional arts and crafts. Page enrolled there in 1929 and soon became the star pupil of carving teacher Margaret Campbell, mastering many human and animal figures. She developed her own signature character dolls, “Hitty” and “Aunt Jenny” and “Uncle Pink,” based on people in the community. When the academy closed in the 1940’s, Page became a leader and teacher in the Pleasant Hill Community Crafts program that succeeded it. She carved nonstop throughout the years and gained a wide reputation, starting her own Polly Page Craft Center in the 1970s, where she hosts visitors and customers. She inspired Jane Fonda’s title character in the 1981 film The Dollmaker. In 2010, Page’s work and biography were featured in Robert Cogswell’s book, Tradition: Tennessee Lives and Legacies. Then, in 2013, Page received the Tennessee Folklife Heritage Governor’s Arts Award.

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