The Foxfire Books Series

When my husband’s grandfather passed away, he left us with a few acres of his land, and the home that he lived in for decades. Sadly, the house has sustained some major roof and termite damage, and is falling apart at the seems.

old foxfire books 6 of 12 in total
old foxfire books 6 of 12 in total

It’s dangerous to walk in there, but it’s still full of most of his stuff. The family is slowly trying to get out what can be salvaged before the whole thing caves in.

It has been very interesting going through Papa’s belongings. You really get a closer glimpse into a person’s life when you go through their treasures. One thing that has struck us in our rummaging efforts is the vast amount of books that he had collected. And what has really been awesome is finding that most of the subjects he collected literature on are things that Jerry and I are also fascinated with: self-sufficient living, guns, organic gardening, The Constitution and government, Do-It-Yourself manuals, etc. What a treasure trove!

My favorite find so far has been the Foxfire books my husband uncovered.

There are 12 foxfire books in the series, though we’ve managed to get our hands on the first seven (six were in Papa’s house, and Jerry found #7 for me at a used bookstore).

The Foxfire books are full of stories and how-to-guides from the people who lived secluded in the Appalachian mountains their entire lives, surviving off the land and what they could build by hand. Entire conversations with the elderly mountain people are recorded in these books. If you enjoy reading my stories of visits with Ms. Addy, and the wisdom I have gleaned from her, then you will love these books as well.

Chapter titles include:

  • Wood
  • Tools and Skills
  • Building a Log Cabin
  • Chimney Building
  • White Oak Splits
  • Making a Hamper out of White Oak Splits
  • Making a Basket out of White Oak Splits
  • An Old Chair Maker Shows How
  • Rope, Straw, and Feathers are to Sleep on
  • A Quilt is Something Human
  • Soapmaking
  • Cooking on a Fireplace, Dutch Oven, and Wood Stove
  • Mountain Recipes
  • Preserving Vegetables
  • Preserving Fruit
  • Churning Your Own Butter
  • Slaughtering Hogs
  • Curing and Smoking Hog
  • Recipes for Hog
  • Weather Signs
  • Planting by the Signs
  • The Buzzard and the Dog
  • Home Remedies
  • Hunting
  • Dressing and Cooking Wild Animal Foods
  • Hunting Tales
  • Snake Lore
  • Moonshining as a Fine Art
  • Faith Healing
  • Sourwood Honey
  • Beekeeping
  • Spring Wild Plant Foods
  • Making an Ox Yoke
  • Wagon Wheels and Wagons
  • Making a Tub Wheel
  • Making a Foot-powered Lathe
  • From Raising Sheep to Weaving Cloth
  • How to Wash Clothes in an Iron Pot
  • Midwives and Granny Women
  • Old-time Burials
  • Boogers, Witches, and Haints
  • Corn Shuckin’s, House Raisin’s, Quiltin’s, Pea Thrashin’s, Singin’s, Log Rollin’s, and Candy Pullin’s
  • Hide Tanning
  • Cattle Raising
  • Animal Care
  • Banjos and Dulcimers
  • Purple Martin Gourds
  • Dipper Gourds
  • Ginseng
  • Summer and Fall Wild Plant Foods
  • Woodrow Shope Builds a Smokehouse
  • Building a Lumber Kiln
  • Butter Churns
  • Apple Butter
  • Sorghum
  • Brooms and Brushes
  • Cornshuck Mops, Dolls and Hats
  • Knife Making
  • Wood Carving
  • Fiddle Making
  • Thomas Campbell, Plow-stock Maker
  • Wooden Sleds
  • Gardening
  • Bird Traps, Deadfalls, and Rabbit Boxes
  • Horse Trading
  • Making Tar
  • Logging
  • Water Systems
  • Berry Buckets
  • Cheese Making

And that’s just the first four books! Everything you can imagine, these books cover it. And they are written in such a way that they are truly a joy to read.

If you can find the Foxfire books at your local library, or at a used bookstore, I’d highly recommend them to anybody interested in self-sufficient living and homesteading!

Do you own these books, or have you read them? I’d love to know what you think of the Foxfire series!

9 thoughts on “The Foxfire Books Series”

  1. While I am so sad to hear of the author’s behavior, which is unacceptable, it does not render what he did for the students in creating the magazine, or the value of the books and magazines, worthless. I have 7 of the original Foxfire books and at 70, I find myself going back to them now that the world has become such a frightening and divisive place. Possibly politically incorrect, the value of understanding and learning about our roots and creative ingenuity from wherever it may come is priceless. And sharing time with family and neighbors who can tell stories of life unlike any book, is time well spent.

  2. I only have one of the books; didn’t know there were so many! Thanks for the info. I love how everyday life brings us a history lesson. I like Carla Emery’s book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living too.

  3. The man confessed and was punished. The book sales dont profit him. They were to support the schools programs. The Foxfire Books are full of information that no one else knew. The cookbook is really good. I have used it for years. Barbara

  4. I grew up with these books and love them! I had never heard about the Wigginton man’s crimes, but I think to disregard the valuable informaiton in the books would be to add insult to injury for the students who worked so hard to create the books. I own three of the 12 so far, and am working on building my own collection, because my daddy’s set is falling apart from years of use.

  5. Enjoyed these books at the library, but did not know the history on the man. I feel that they are full of lots of valuable information.
    Have a great day.

  6. While the series has good info in it, the man used all the kiddies much like indentured servants and molested them while doing it. Needless to say it is NOT a series we keep in the shack


Leave a Comment