Appalachian Land Ownership Survey Records, 1936-1985

Beginning in the fall of 1978, the Appalachian Land Ownership Task Force – a coalition of community groups, scholars, and members of the Appalachian Alliance – conducted the Appalachian Land Ownership Survey to examine land ownership patterns within the Appalachian region. The Survey was particularly interested in absentee and corporate ownership and their effects on regional development. The Survey looked at 80 counties within the Appalachian regions of Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Task Force created working groups for each of the six states and selected counties for particular concentration. Within these counties, researchers examined land deeds of plots with 250 acres or more. Nineteen counties were used as detailed case studies. Researchers noted the amount of land, mineral tax rates, agricultural or industrial usage, and absentee, corporate, federal, and local ownership. They also identified over 100 socio-economic indicators to correlate to the various ownership patterns. The results of the Survey were used in the development of two publications: the seven-volume, 1,800-page study, Land Ownership Patterns and Their Impacts on Appalachian Communities (Appalachian Regional Commission, 1981) and Who Owns Appalachia? Landownership and Its Impact (University of Kentucky Press, 1983). The Survey was funded in part by grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Needmor Fund. The Highlander Research and Education Center organized the project, and Appalachian State University was a primary sponsoring institution and handled administrative and fiscal details. This digital collection is only a portion of the Survey-related materials in the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection in Special Collections at Appalachian State University.