About Gail Palmer

Award-winning author, Dr. Gail Palmer of Townsend, Tennessee, has produced two DVDs and four books about the people of the Smoky Mountains in addition to "Cemeteries of the Smokies," published in 2017, but now out of print. This latest work, "Hidden in Plain Sight: Cemeteries of the Smoky Mountains, Vol. 1-TN; and Vol. 2, NC, has much of the same focus on cemeteries in the Smokies, listing all of the known cemeteries in the Tennessee side and, in Vol. 2, the North Carolina side of the park. Much new material has been included, such as grave plot maps to determine how to list the names for many cemeteries, making it easier to find a single grave; new photographs by local photographers and new stories about some of the individuals (including some midwives and herbalists) who made the Smokies their home pre-park. In addition, several photos of individuals are included near the section that features their story. The first book of Smoky Mountain Tales series written by Dr. Palmer helped garner a "Community History Award" from East Tennessee Historical Society in May, 2013, for the body of work she completed by then. Betty B. Best, Journal Editor, Blount County Genealogical & Historical Society, presented the nomination to ETHS. Dr. Gail Palmer has produced a large body of work on the Great Smoky Mountains. Smoky Mountain Tales, Volume 1: Feuds, Murder & Mayhem, shares a native's look at mountain people, has been called "a captivating and entertaining model for community local history through storytelling"-East Tennessee Historical Society Community History Award, 2013. The DVDs are "Sacred Places of the Smokies " and "When Mama Was the Doctor: Mountain Medicine Women." The books include GSMNP: In the Beginning...Fact, Legend & Eminent Domain and two volumes of Smoky Mountain Tales Series: Feuds, Murder & Mayhem. The Smoky Mountain Tales books are creative non-fiction, true stories told as fiction. Palmer, a native of Blount County, has deep roots to the people of Cades Cove, TN, and Deep Creek, NC, through her mother, Mary Sparks Palmer, and her grandparents, John Marion Sparks and Elizabeth Schuler Sparks. "My goal is to present as true and as real a picture of the people in these stories, their way of living and Center that affected their lives," Palmer said. "Telling a true story using fiction seems to me to be one of the best ways to do this. It's as though someone is sitting in front of the reader telling their story as they recall it," Palmer said. "At least, that's my hope." Palmer is also known for giving talks about people portrayed in her books and DVDs for various groups and at Center throughout the area. She received three degrees from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a BS and MS in journalism, College of Communications, and a Ph.D. in cultural studies in the College of Education.

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