Article features basket-makers

By Mike West, Cannon Courier

Image c/o Cannon Courier

Years in the making, a “new” Tennessee Folklore Society article provides much information about Cannon County’s basketmakers.

Written by Robert Cogswell, a recently retired staff member of the Tennessee Arts Commission, the article is 70-plus pages in length and explores the history and traditions of white oak baskets. It also includes a number of historic photos.

“Gathering this information has been a very long-term project of mine,” Cogswell said. “I began interviewing masters of this tradition as soon as I joined the staff of the Tennessee Arts Commission in 1984, and it is a relief, now that I have retired, to finally see all of this in print.”

People interested in obtaining copies of this issue (which is Volume 68) can order them directly from the Tennessee Folklore Society. Ordering information is on the society’s

“The Tennessee Folklore Society is a small non-profit organization and its periodical publication, the Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, is strictly a labor of love. As such, it is somewhat irregularly published, so this issue dated 2012 has not actually reached print until 2015,” Cogswell said.

This is the second detailed article published by Cogswell on Cannon County. The first article has extensive background on Cannon County crafts as well as profiles of basketmakers including Ida Pearl Davis and Thelma Hibdon, Trevle and Alvin Wood, Mary Davis, Josie Jones, Albert Thomas, Gertie Youngblood, Alberta Underwood, Gracie Davenport and Viella Estes and family. Copies of that initial article are still available.