Photographs and archival images courtesy of the Nora Carpenter Traditional Music Collection, Berea College Special Collections and Archives, Berea, K.Y. All digitized recordings from the Nora E. Carpenter Collection can be found in the Digital Collections of the Berea College Special Collections and Archives.
- Bill Monroe played at the Salyersville Star Theater often in the 1940s and 1950s and stayed at the Hotel Carpenter when in town. According to Carpenter’s great-granddaughter Maren Bzdek, he played “Trace Your Little Footprints in the Snow” in Carpenter’s honor during a concert at the Kentucky Theater in Lexington, shortly before he passed away. Maren Thompson Bzdek, “The Carpenter’s Life at Swampton,” Life Along the Licking River, Volume 1, 339–349.
- See Stephen Wade, The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2012), 35–36; and Bob Carlin, “Alan Lomax—The 1937 Kentucky Field Recordings,” Bluegrass Unlimited 38, no. 11 (May 2004): 68–72; Wade, The Beautiful Music All Around Us, 35.
- Also known elsewhere as “Rowan County Feud,” “Rowan County Trouble,” or “Rowan County Tragedy”; “Rowan County Crew (Trouble, or Tragedy), The [Laws E20],” The Traditional Ballad Index Version 3.6, accessed July 17, 2015, http://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/LE20.html; This appears in a version transcribed by John and Alan Lomax from Mr. and Mrs. George White in Grand Saline, Texas, 1937; John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax, Our Singing Country: Folk Songs and Ballads (New York: Dover, 1941), 324–326.
- In her lyric transcripts Nora spells Muriel’s surname “Baldrige.” Other sources, including the July 15, 1949 Chicago Tribune and other local newspapers, spell it “Baldridge.” Different covers of Michael Crisp’s 2011 book Murder in the Mountains: The Muriel Baldri(d)ge Story, spell it both with and without the second “d”; Interview with Selma Carpenter, July 29, 2014, Salyersville, Kentucky.
- Patricia Sawin, Listening for a Life (Logan: Utah State University Press, 2004), 188; One such tape offhandedly refers to country musician Buck Owens, who was apparently a relation; The popularity of Carpenter’s daily radio show was articulated by family members and community members I interviewed during my stay in Eastern Kentucky. In an email correspondence, Carpenter’s relative Scotty Patrick noted, “The first time I really thought about her other than as a relative, was when she appeared live on WSIP, a new ready [radio] station that had just opened in neighboring Paintsville, KY . . . Over 30 people, including myself, went to the station to watch her play live on the radio as ‘Big Mama and the Half Mountain Hot Shots.’” One panel of a mural painted on the exterior of Carpenter’s former hotel depicts her playing with her band on the radio, and her family members have saved flyers of the show. I attempted to search for any tapes that existed from the broadcast, but upon speaking with Dan Lyons, a current radio host at WSIP and the unofficial station historian, I learned that the shows were evidently not taped (he reported that this lack of documentation was typical at the time).
- See D. K. Wilgus, “An Introduction to the Study of Hillbilly Music,” Journal of American Folklore 78, no. 309, Hillbilly Issue (July–September, 1965): 195–203; Sawin, Listening for a Life, 160.
- Aside from his tastes and desire for the unmarred “authentic” traditional musicians, there also may have been a number of other circumstantial reasons why Nora Carpenter doesn’t make it into Alan Lomax’s notes or recordings from his 1937 trip. Renowned Magoffin County fiddler John Morgan Salyer, for example was notoriously absent from the recordings from this fieldwork; he was away on a pipefitting job in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the time.