The Donation of My “Met Her on the Mountain” Research

Feb 8, 2022

Richard Dillingham, Mark Pinsky, and Karen Paar

Decades ago, when I started researching what would become Met Her on the Mountain in Madison County, North Carolina, I was advised to seek out the county’s foremost folklorist, Richard Dillingham (pictured above left). It was great advice. Richard was a font of historical, political, and cultural background of Madison County as well as the 1970 kidnap, rape, and murder of VISTA federal anti-poverty worker Nancy Dean Morgan.

Met Her on the Mountain Papers

Richard requested only one thing of me: If my book was ever written and published, he asked if I would donate my papers from the project to the Liston Ramsey Center for Appalachian Studies at Mars Hill University, the campus where Richard had spent his career. I agreed.

And so, in December of 2021, I loaded seven file boxes in the back of our Volvo and drove from my home in Durham, North Carolina, to Mars Hill. There, I met with Richard and Karen Paar (pictured above right), Director/Archivist of the Ramsey Center, and turned over my papers to them. 

All members of our immediate family are Duke University graduates, and I had previously agreed to turn the bulk of my journalism papers to the David Rubenstein Rare Book Collection at Duke’s Perkins Library. However, I felt that the papers associated with Met Her on the Mountain belonged in Madison County. Given that the Morgan murder had been such a searing event for this area, it was important that they be available to local students and scholars.  

Mark Pinsky and Richard Dillingham

Mark Pinsky and Karen Paar

Upcoming Virtual Event

I’m also excited to share that I will be participating in a free virtual event with Malaprop’s Bookstore on Wednesday, April 6th at 6 p.m. EST. I hope you’ll be able to join me!

Photos taken by Sarah M. Brown.

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