Folk Image and Customs

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Entry Category: Folk Image and Customs - Starting with H


The “hillbilly” has been an enduring staple of American iconography, and Arkansas has been identified with the hillbilly as much as, if not more than, any state. Despite the lack of scholarly consensus on the origin of the term—historian Anthony Harkins gives as the most likely explanation that Scottish highlanders melded “hill-folk” with “billie,” a word meaning friend or companion—there is no shortage of hillbilly images in American popular culture. Whether a barefoot, rifle-toting, moonshine-swigging, bearded man staring out from beneath a floppy felt hat or a toothless granny in homespun sitting at a spinning wheel and peering suspiciously at strangers from the front porch of a dilapidated mountain cabin, the hillbilly, in all his manifestations, is instantly recognizable. Wrapped …