A project created at Reinhardt University through a grant from the Council of Independent Colleges, Humanities for the Public Good
Frances Elizabeth Adair
In her novel A Little Leaven, Frances Elizabeth Adair (1903-1989) tells the story of the original settlers of the Salacoa Valley. Adair was a local author from the Cartersville area, best known for her stories of the Salacoa Valley on the north side of Pine Log Mountain, where her mother’s family, the Mahan family, was one of the original families to settle.
A Little Leaven focuses on the arrival of white settlers from Virginia after the Cherokee Removal and follows them through the Civil War and Reconstruction. Though it is believed that A Little Leaven was written much earlier, it was published in 1983 by Reinhardt College, on the college’s 100th anniversary.
"...a people who experienced all the joys and sorrows of pioneers – a people who had the courage to follow where duty called and who never wavered, no matter what the fates had in store for them"
Frances E. Adair
Frances Adair also wrote columns for The Atlanta Constitution, as well as a number of plays that were performed locally. The Bartow History Museum holds the original manuscripts of several of Adair’s plays, including one entitled Spanish Beauty (cover pictured here).
Adair was also involved in the Federal Writers Project through the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression. She helped to write the Bartow County section of the WPA’s History of Georgia.
Spanish Beauty and Appalachia
Adair’s play Spanish Beauty features Appalachian characters as well as fanciful characters such as gypsies and a “Spirit of the Forest.” It is a comic opera similar in style to Gilbert and Sullivan productions.
In this play, as in her novel A Little Leaven, Adair sometimes portrays the “hill people” around Pine Log Mountain using comic Appalachian stereotypes, although she also portrays their resilience.