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Miles, Emma Bell, 1879-1919



Emma Bell Miles was born in Evansville, Indiana to schoolteachers Benjamin Franklin and Martha Ann Mirick Bell. Her family moved to Walden's Ridge in Tennessee, where she spent most of her time wandering the woods, studying nature, reading and writing. In 1899 Emma Bell went to the St. Louis School of Art, where she spent two years before becoming home sick and moving back home. In October 1901 she married Frank Miles, and together they had five children.

Following the publication of Emma Bell's first poem, "The Difference", in Harper's Monthly, her work began appearing regularly in national magazines. Her classic study of Southern Appalachia, "The Spirit of the Mountains", was published by James Pott & Company of New York in 1905, and her first published story, "The Common Lot", appeared in Harper's again in 1908. In 1914 she began writing a column for the Chattanooga News about her views on the environment and human nature called "Fountain Square Conversations".

Gaston, Kay Baker. "Emma Bell Miles". The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Accessed February 19, 2016.

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Jean Miles Catino and Emma Bell Miles papers

Identifier: MS-078
Scope and Contents

This collection contains Catino's correspondence and papers as well as journals, artwork, and photographs created by Emma Bell Miles, Catino's mother. The Emma Bell Miles content documents mountain life on Walden Ridge in the early 20th century. The collection also includes Catino's correspondence with Emma Bell Miles biographer, Kay Baker Gaston. Materials in the collection are dated from 1866 to 2000.

Dates: 1866-2000
Found in: Manuscripts

Kay Baker Gaston papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-057
Scope and Contents

This collection contains research notes, letters, and drafts regarding her eponymous biography of Appalachian author, naturalist, and artist Emma Bell Miles ranging from 1972 to 2011. The collection also includes short stories, poetry, essays, illustrations, and other material by Emma Bell Miles that range from 1902 to 1921.

Dates: 1902-2011
Found in: Manuscripts

McCoy Farm and Gardens oral histories

Identifier: MS-077
Scope and Contents This collection includes interviews regarding the history of McCoy Farm and Gardens and Walden Ridge located on Signal Mountain in Tennessee. The interviews offer insight into the lives of the Bachman and McCoy families and buildings and grounds on McCoy Farm and Gardens, including the arboretum and apple orchard. Interviewees detail mountain culture, historic mining and bootlegging industries on the ridge, and memories of artist, author, and naturalist Emma Bell Miles. Members of the McCoy...
Dates: 2022
Found in: Manuscripts

Emma Bell Miles oral histories

Identifier: MS-146
Scope and Contents

This collection contains interviews conducted in 2021 and 2022 regarding the life of Emma Bell Miles, a woman who lived on Walden Ridge in Signal Mountain, Tennessee from 1879 to 1919.

Dates: 2021-2022
Found in: Manuscripts