Research Programs: Fellowships

Period of Performance

8/1/2018 - 7/31/2019

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

Heritage and the Great Depression: How Historic Preservation Created the Old South

FAIN: FEL-257468-18

Paul Hardin Kapp
Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Champaign, IL 61801-3620)

Research and writing a book-length history of the preservation of antebellum landmarks in Natchez, Mississippi, during the 1930s.

For over eighty years, tourists have come to Natchez in search of the “Old South.” But what they encounter is an invention: the commodification of history constructed during the economic hardship of the Great Depression. My book is the first to tell the surprising story of how Natchez was transformed from a backwater town into a cultural tourism destination by a group of progressive-minded women; and how it continues to shape our shared understanding of the Old South and its complicated legacy, particularly regarding race. Attending to the history of preservation helps us to understand how cultural meaning is assigned to place. This book draws on a rich archive of historic images, architectural documents, and popular culture. In showing how and why the buildings of the “Old South” were first preserved, commercialized, and transformed into a brand, the book aims to make a much-needed contribution to ongoing, often polarizing debates over the meanings attached to cultural patrimony.

Media Coverage

Heritage and the Great Depression (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Paul Hardin Kapp
Publication: Heritage and Hoop Skirts: How Natchez Created the Old South
Date: 8/15/2022
Abstract: Heritage and Hoop Skirts will be the first book that explains how race and feminism influenced historic preservation in Natchez, Mississippi and throughout the South during the 20th century. This book is the first publication that demonstrates the link between architecture, grass-roots historic preservation, and cultural tourism in preserving historic American places. It discusses how first wave feminism influenced cultural tourism and race relations in the American South during the first half of the twentieth century.

Associated Products

Heritage and Hoop Skirts: How Natchez Created the Old South (Book)
Title: Heritage and Hoop Skirts: How Natchez Created the Old South
Author: Paul Hardin Kapp
Year: 2020
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: WorldCat entry (1496838785)
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 1496838785