Southern Industrial Education Association (SIEA)

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The Southern Industrial Educational Association, Inc. (SIEA) founded by Alabama native Martha Gielow in 1905 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is believed to be the earliest national organization to create a plan of action for improving education and medical conditions in southern Appalachia. For twenty-one years, members of the organization raised money to buy land, build schools, pay teacher salaries, hold craft exhibitions, and provide medical services in communities across seven Appalachian states. When the SIEA disbanded, it left no corporate records to document the financial support, political influence, and the physical labor of its members. However, in 1909 the SIEA began publishing a small booklet titled the Quarterly Magazine of the Southern Industrial Educational Association. Published until 1926 in 51 issues, the Quarterly contains a wide variety of Appalachian-related information on subjects as diverse as health care, agriculture, speech patterns, book reviews, craft traditions, and night school education. Field secretaries, extension agents, and others wrote articles for the publication describing typhoid and hookworm outbreaks, the 1918 flu epidemic, school construction, and many personal stories of children. The SIEA Collection offers a comprehensive regional perspective on social change over a seventeen-year period.


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