Frankie Silver resources

a webliography compiled by Lana A. Whited, Ph.D.
Professor of English and Journalism,
Ferrum College (Va.)

Articles about Frankie Silver

Author Discovers Frankie Silver
Not the First North Carolina Woman Hanged

  Article by David Williamson  in The Chapel Hill News in 1998. Reviews common  myths about Frankie Silver, including that she was the first woman executed in North Carolina and that her case was the basis for the folk song "Frankie and Johnny." Based on the publication of Perry Deane Young's book The Untold Story of Frankie Silver.
Axe Murder Echoes
  Article about The Untold Story of Frankie Silver (1998) by Perry Deane Young, from Endeavors, a research publication of UNC-Chapel Hill. More an overview of Young's approach and description of the continuing popularity of the Frankie Silver materials than a review.
"The Ballad of Frankie Silver"
North Carolina Folklore Journal
  Special issue devoted to Tom Davenport's film The Ballad of Frankie Silver (Winter/Spring 2000; vol. 47, issue 1). Includes a transcript of the soundtrack, Davenport's "remarks" about the film, a review, the text of the ballad, essays by Bobby McMillon, Beverly Patterson, and Daniel Patterson, and information about booking Bobby McMillon.

The Ballads of Sharyn McCrumb

  Critical essay by Meredith Sue Willis.  Appalachian Journal 25 (Spring):  320-29.  Published before The Ballad of Frankie Silver; useful as a discussion of themes and techniques in the series.

"Based on a True Story:
Using The Ballad of Frankie Silver
to Teach the Conventions of Narrative."

  Essay by Lana A. Whited presented at the Appalachian Teachers Network conference at Radford University in September 2000. Designed primarily for teachers at the middle school level and above using Frankie Silver materials in the classroom.
The Case of Frankie Silver
America Folklore Journal
  Special video review section focusing on Tom Davenport's film The Ballad of Frankie Silver (Spring 2000; vol. 113, issue 448). Contains three essays of relevance: Beverly B. Patterson's "'Give Me the Truth': The Frankie Silver Story in Contemporary North Carolina," Daniel Patterson's "The Ballad and Legends of Frankie Silver: A Search for the Woman's Voice," and Sharon R. Sherman's "Ballad, Legend, and Film: The Representation of Frankie Silver."
  Review by Lana Whited of the play by William Gregg and Perry Dean Young, produced by the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre at Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, N.C. Performed August 1-12, 2001. Includes productioon photographs. For more information on the play, see the "Other" link above.

Keepers of the Legends

  Essay by Sharyn McCrumb about her family's connection to storytelling and sources for the plots and characters in her "Ballad" novels. Written just before publication of The Ballad of Frankie Silver, McCrumb's essay includes discussion of that work and of her literary methods. This is McCrumb's chapter from Joyce Dyer's book Bloodroot: Reflections on Place by Appalachian Women Writers (Kentucky, 1998). It also appears in Kimberley M. Holloway's From a Race of Storytellers: The Ballad Novels of Sharyn McCrumb (Mercer, 2003).

A Novelist Looks at the Southern Mountains

  1997 interview of Sharyn McCrumb with Rebecca Laine, originally published in Virginia Libraries.  Concerns McCrumb's heritage and the Ballad novel series.  Includes photos of McCrumb's relatives and significant sites in the Frankie Silver story.

Review of Daniel Patterson's A Tree Accurst: Bobby McMillon and
Stories of Frankie Silver

  Review by Lana A. Whited, published in Appalachian Journal, 28.3 (Spring 2001): 394-97.

Selected Reviews
of Sharyn McCrumb's
The Ballad of Frankie Silver

  Book Page (by Stephanie Hainsfurther)

Library Journal (by Laurel Bliss).  1 April 1998:   124.

New York Times Book Review (by Marilyn Stasio).  3 May 1998:   28. 

Publisher's Weekly.  16 March 1998:  57. 

Roanoke Times review by Lana A. Whited

Writer's Digest.  May 1998:  18-21.


Sharyn McCrumb

  Overview of McCrumb's career from the Virginia Tech English Department web site. Good background on the ballad novel series. Written by Jimmy Hodges just prior to publication of The Ballad of Frankie Silver. Brief bibliography.
Silence in the Courtroom: Language, Literature, and Law in The Ballad of Frankie Silver
  Essay by Ashburn Gwen McNeill on the relationship between language and power within the legal system in Sharyn McCrumb's The Ballad of Frankie Silver. Also discusses William O'Barr's Just Words, a linguistic analysis of legal discourse.

Why Frankie Silver Swung

  Article by Perry Deane Young in May 1976 Ms. (pages 120-22). Its usefulness as a resource is superseded by Young's 1998 book (see the "Books" link above), but the essay includes a charming  account of Young's introduction to the story as a child and a version of the events that preserves the feel of mountain storytelling. Provides two versions of the ballad.

The World of Sharyn McCrumb: Timelessness and Change in the Appalachian Mountains

  Essay by Joyce Compton Brown of Gardner-Webb University about the themes and techniques of Sharyn McCrumb's "Ballad" novels. Published in Kimberley M. Holloway, From a Race of Storytellers: The Ballad Novels of Sharyn McCrumb (Mercer, 2003).

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Resources for Readers and Teachers of
Appalachian Literature

site created May 16, 2000

last updated June 17, 2008