ITEM LIST - FOLDER #4 - 1980'S
Note: Items are listed in original order as received from the donor.
Box Folder Item Description Thumbnail
1 04 woo4_001 Newspaper clipping: News Journal, May 27, 1982, by Stephanie Townsend. "Woody's Chair Shop To Carry On Tradition Of Fine Craftsmanship." Discusses how young apprentices learn from the master chair makers, the Woodys.  Photographs by Stephanie Thompson, show Arval Woody testing a chair by jumping on the chair and balancing his weight on one of its legs. Other images show apprentices David Williams, Greg Williams, and Jimmy Marcus working in the shop.  
    woo4_002 Article: In Michigan Living, December 198, "Appalachian Crafts, A Showcase of Shops Along I-75, by Gary Barker. Mentions the Woody's Chair Shop in Spruce Pine, the Allanstand shop in Asheville, Biltmore Industries, Stuart Nye Silver Shop, Guild Crafts, of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, the Fork Art Center, the New Morning Gallery in Biltmore Village, the Biltmore Country Market, the Spinning Wheel, and the Pisgah Pottery. (2 pages)  


    woo4_003 Newspaper clipping: Asheville Citizen Times, December 10, 1989, "Christmas Home On Tour Sunday In Burnsville: House Featured In Magazine's Holiday Edition ; Tour Proceeds To Benefit Reconciliation House," by Mary Ellen Wolcott, Community Life Editor. Contains photograph of Woody chairs in room of home.  
    woo4_004 Note from Connie Stapleton:
"Dear Mrs. Woody,
Enclosed is the carbon of the entry. Please let me know if there are any additions or corrections. The finial on the colonial chair is called a plain finial. A flame finial looks more like a flame. My chair expert up here says the word is splat, not slat (although it's called a slatback chair). I looked it up in the dictionary, and doggoned, he's right!  I decided to call it angel-wing so that the reader could picture it, although my friend says it's just called a curved splat (I know I've seen it referred to that way but I can't find the reference). I notice too that one of your chairs is in the Smithsonian. Which style? Do you know if the Kennedy children still have their chairs?  Connie Stapleton, P.S. Please send pix? Thanks."
    woo4_005 Magazine article: Modern Maturity, April-May, 1983, "Where our craft heritage lives on," by Diane K. Gentry. Discusses corn-shuck dolls of Ina Hagaman, and crafts for the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild. Includes Woody's Chair Shop.  
Full issue of Country Magazine, February-March 1988. Contains article under Country People, "This Chair Maker Has Legs Up on Competition!" Article contains three photographs of Arval Woody making chairs and at his sawmill constructed from the front half of a 1945 Straight-8 Buick. Discusses the family tradition of making chairs using the shrink-fit joint method that requires no nails to hold the strong chairs together.   
    woo4_008 Photograph:  Arval Woody in shop with apprentice. Dated 08/19/85.  
    woo4_009 Memo:  Dear Craftsperson,
I have now had an opportunity to review the photos/transparencies which you sent to me. I expect at this time to include a black and white illustration of your work in my book. I will be forwarding on to my publisher, E.P. Dutton, the slide/photo which I have chosen and am hereby returning all other illustrations you sent me. Thanks so much for letting me look at them all.

Dutton now says the book will be published in early Spring 1990. The original winter 1990 date has been pushed back since the book is now to be published in two editions, one covering crafts east of the Mississippi River, one covering those west of the Mississippi.

When the book is published I will immediately send you a flyer and tell you how you can obtain copies. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.

Suzanne Carmichael,  A Traveler's Guide to American Crafts, 21 Orchard Road North, Tacoma, WA  98406, 206-752-7896.

    woo4_010 Magazine article: Spectator Magazine, October 24-October 30, 1985, Vol. No. 7. "Beautiful, Lofty People," by Phyllis Tyler.  Discusses the Kennedy donation of chairs, the family history, the Smithsonian collection item, and the future of the shop. The author says of Arval's work, "Arval and Nora Woody also grow in value and rarity with age. Arval is taciturn, his beautiful handwork speaks for him. Like his grandfather's chair, his chairs, too, will be speaking for him long after he is gone." Photo in article by Chris Seward of Arval Woody.  
    1woo4_011 Newspaper clipping:  Asheville Citizen & Times, n.d. Lifestyle, photograph of a "Dream Kitchen," with a Woody chair to the left.  
    woo4_012 Note: Probably from the Woodys -

"We were featured in two of 'National Geographic' hard cover special editions; and these can probably be found at a library.

The Craftsman in America - 1995

Blue Ridge Range - The Gentle Mountains - 1992

Also: Modern Maturity Magazine - April-May 1983 (This might be available)

There have been articles in at least 50 other publications, but I have no idea as to whether any of them could be found in print.

The clippings I have enclosed do not necessarily need to be returned. I think we have duplicates of them. I would appreciate the return of the pictures.

Thank you. [not signed]"

    woo4_013 Letter to Constance Stapleton, Middleton, Maryland. February 1, 1984.

February 1, 1984

Constance Stapleton
2439a Old. Mountain Pike 
Middleton, Maryland                                          . .

Dear Ms. Stapleton:

Bob Gray of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild has asked us to write to you and send information concerning our shop. I do not know the type material that would be of most interest to you, so am sending our catalogue and copies of some of the articles that have been published about us.

We are the fifth generation of Woody's directly engaged in the manufacture of furniture principally chairs.

Our business was started just after World War II. My brother and I were  both in service, and upon Being discharged at the end of the War [we] decided to try our luck and talents at chair building, We built our shop - it was much smaller then than now - and began to make a few chairs. At first the building was used largely as a grocery store and service station, with the chairs being displayed in a corner of the building. The chair business was definitely part-time work and sales were few. But we had many visitors in this area, and some bought our chairs and told their friends about them. And some  remembered our grandfather, whose shop had been a short distance from where ours was now located. Gradually, word of mouth advertising brought more business and we began to devote. more time to making chairs. At first, most of the chairs were sold unfinished. But we began to get more requests for a completely finished product and worked out our oil and wax finish. Today only the hobbyist who wants to do his own finishing, or someone wanting to match another piece of furniture, buys an unfinished chair.

Most of our machinery has been designed and built by us to serve a particular facet of our operations. Other pieces have been adapted for our needs.

We have shipped chairs to all fifty states. Also to Canada, Mexico, the Canal Zone, England and Finland.

A rocking chair went to Finland, purchased by Maria Halva, director of Finland's Handicraft industry when she attended Finland School of Grafts to study American handicrafts. This chair was specifically cited by Secretary of State Dean Rusk as an example of American crafts when he opened a craft exhibit in Helsinki several years ago. (We knew nothing of this episode at the time. The following summer, the wife of a State Department official was visiting relatives in this area. She attended the Craftsman's Fair in Asheville, at which we were exhibiting, recognized our work, and told us of the incident at the Helsinki exhibit. She later sent us newspaper articles concerning the exhibit.)

Most of our chairs are made for individuals. But we have filled a few large orders for offices or clubs. An interior designer ordered several of our chairs for a country club in Natchez, Miss. This is now a dining room operated by the Pilgrimage Garden Club as part of the Natchez house and garden historical association. Over the years we have supplied about two hundred chairs for them. The Biscayne Bay Yacht Club has also used our chairs fox' their dining room - they needed something that would hold up under the very moist conditions that prevail at seaside and found that our unglued chairs fitted their needs.

A chair and set of candlesticks were selected as a part of the United States exhibit for the- World Agricultural Pair in Cairo, Egypt several years ago.

We were included among the craftsmen in the book, "Artisans of the Appalachians", and National Geographic’s "Craftsmen in America",

My brother retired at the end of 1979 my wife, who had worked with us for a, number of year's, bought his share of the business. We run that business today with the help of four full time employees and three part time who do the chair seating in their homes.

Should you wish further information please let me know, we would be happy to

have you visit the shop at any time.

Yours very truly,

Arval  J. Woody

    woo4_014 Draft of text possibly used for the Connie Stapleton book on crafts. Note attached to front of draft by unknown hand: "I believe the text on this and the follo9wing page were the ones used in Connie Stapelton's book on crafts. [No books by Connie Stapelton were found.] Arval Woody has edited the text to correct the pricing information and other outdated material.  
    woo4_015 Newspaper clipping: The Carolina Sun, October 30, 1985. Backstage this week: "Guild members talk fair economics," by Bonnie Chasteen. Contains information on Arval Woody and his shop, as well as other artisans in the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild. Woody notes that he is one of the oldest Guild members. He notes that he makes about 2500 chairs a year.  
    woo4_016 Newspaper clipping: Asheville Citizen-Times, Sunday, March 28, 1982. Shows Asheville's freshman Congressman, Bill Hendon in Washington, sitting in a Woody chair.  
    woo4_017 Newspaper clipping: Asheville Citizen-Times June 26, 1983. "Fare Varied In Mitchell, Yancey," by Elizabeth Hunter. Mentions the Woody Chair Shop.  
    woo4_019 Letter:  From Diane Koos Gentry, Photographer/Writer, April 28, 1983.

Dear Nora and Arval,

"Enclosed is a copy of my MODERN MATURITY article on western North Carolina craftsmen including you. I hope you like it and that it brings you increased business. It's been very popular with the magazine's readers. We got 30 letters in the first week. I asked them to foreword any mail to you directly.

While I like the text on you which remained quite unedited, I'm disappointed by the pictures they used and the way they were cropped. I had some great pictures of you jumping on a chair in mid-air and lots of better pictures of you at work. Why they cut important parts off the pictures, I don't know. I'd like to be able to get some pictures of you cooking backs to add to the series and do a story entirely on you sometime for another magazine. Your chairs are so beautiful.

We'll be coming back to North Carolina in late May this year. I'm sure I'll see you many times this summer. We usually bring all our guests into your shop. Thank you for all your help. I hope the article brings you lots of good orders.

Sincerey, Diane K. Gentry. [Original and copy]

    woo4_020 Letter: From George Beauvais, Sr., President, Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce. July 22, 1982.

Dear Mr. Woody,

We certainly appreciate your contribution in helping Mitchell County celebrate Our day at the World's Fair. I think that the enthusiasm and the size of the crowds that watched all of you perform was a tribute to you and to Mitchell County.

I was very proud to be there and be a Mitchell Countain!

Thanks again, Gratefully, Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce, George Beauvais, Sr., President.

    woo4_021 Letter: From Neal B. Westveer, Mayland Technical College, Spruce Pine, North Carolina, January 10, 1984.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Woody,

Thank you again for your fine efforts in hosting my class in local history. It adds a lot to the content of the class to have the students see the fine work that results from human ingenuity, skill, and pride in craftsmanship.

I hope that we can call upon you again for this important aspect of the class.

May 1984 be your best year yet!

Yours truly, Neal B. Westveer

    woo4_022 Letter: From James B. Hunt, Jr., Governor [North Carolina]. May 4, 1983

Dear Nora and Arval:

Thank you so much for my beautiful chairs. Carolyn and I love them, and we want so much to visity your shop sometime.

Please come and see me in my rocking chair in the Capitol.

My warmest personal regards.

Sincerely,  ... [Handwritten at bottom: "We love the chairs. Thank you so much."  [Original and copy]

    woo4_023 Letter: From Mrs. James B. Hunt, Jr., Executive Mansion, Raleigh, North Carolina. May 10, 1983.

Dear Mr. Woody:

You were so generous to send us one of your beautiful hand-crafted Colonial American chairs. North Carolina can surely be proud of the Woody family tradition. Craftsmanship such as yours represents our heritage, and we are so fortunate to be able to claim you as native son.

Thank you for thinking of us in such a lovely way. My husband joins me in sending you and Mr. Woody our best wishes, and warm personal regards.

Sincerely, Mrs. James B. Hunt, Jr.
[Original and copy]

    woo4_024 Lettter: From Brian Westveer, Mayland Technical College, Spruce Pine, North Carolina, August 15, 1982.

Dear Mr. Woody,

Thank you again for your great hospitality to our class studying the local culture and history. Your craftsmanship is a source of pride for all of us in the community. Your presentation is most interesting and a delight for the visitors.


We'd like to impose upon you again on Tuesday, October 26 at 1:00 We are having 50 adults live-in at Wildacres to study the Toe Valley. We'd like to bring 25 at 1:00 and 25 about 2:15.


The last tour was perfect. The group left with a real feeling about what craftmenship [sic] is all about and some good basic knowledge about what to look for in chair construction.


We hope you have had a very successful summer.


Yours truly, Brian Westveer

    woo4_025 Magazine article: Modern Maturity, NRTA Edition, April- May 1983. [Original full magazine and one photocopy of article.]  
    woo4_026 Newspaper clipping:  Mitchell News Journal, May 26, 1983, page 5. "No Slow Season This Year For Woody's Chair Shop," by Elizabeth Hunter.  Describes the shop and the work of the Woodys and the recent article in Modern Maturity. Nora discusses the correspondence with individuals who know of the shop. She tells of inquiries from those seeking information on genealogy of the Woody family. At then end of the article, the Woodys are quoted by the author regarding their ability to meet all the orders for chairs. The Woodys note that they 'haven't been caught up in our orders for 25 years'.  
    woo4_027 Magazine image from unknown source: "Rocker of Ages and other heirlooms." Shows one of the Betsy Ross Rockers from Woody's Chairs and notes the price of $100 to $225. [2 copies]  
    woo4_028 Artcle: Harbor Lights, published by the Land Harbor Property Owners Association, Linville, N.C. vol. 7, Number 7, early August 1988. "They Still Make Chairs By Hand," by Ruth Tornick. Author tell of her delight in browsing through the Woody Chair Shop.  
    woo4_029 Magazine article: Tar Heel Wheels [?], [n.d] "North Carolina Chairs: Made For White House," by Doug Reed, Citizens-Times, Raleigh Bureau. Article contains two images. One shows Governor Terry Sanford rocking in one of the Woody brother's chairs. The second image shows the two Woody brothers with Mrs. Sam J. Huskins of Burnsville (far rt.) and Governor Terry Sanford (far lft.). Article credits Mrs. Huskins with the idea to send children's rockers from the Woody shop to the Kennedy children. Article discusses the process of the donation.  
    woo4_030 Photocopy of photographic layout. Unknown source or destination. Shows Arval Woody jumping on chair to test its strength. Poor quality image..  
    woo4_031 "Toe Valley History, Economics, Culture, & People, October, 1983. Certificate of Appreciation. Be it known that Woody's Chair Shop has contributed significantly to the understanding of life in the Toe Valley by the 19833 class of Mayland Technical College at Wildacres.

The insights of the above will be carried by the class to all parts of the U.S. and will do much to promote the recognition of both the fine quality of the native population and the outstanding natural beauty of the land "Between the Toes". Neal Brian Westveer, Instructor, Mayland Technical College. Mayland Technical College at Wildacres, Little Switzerland, N.C."
      Newspaper section:  Asheville Cenennial Edition: A Special Supplement of the Asheville Citizen-Times, Thursday-Friday, December 15/16, 1983. Headline:  "Asheville, 1883: On the Move," contains historical information on the region, including craft.