The collection consists of student essays describing in short biographical form the lives of older female relatives of the student writers. Most of the women thus described lived in the Appalachian region during the first half of the 20th century. The socioeconomic background of these women ranged from severe rural poverty to the educated, comfortable middle class. A total of 76 individuals are subjects of these essays. Most of the papers were written from memory and from family stories.
The papers in this collection were written by students as part of their coursework for the Women's Studies course "Introduction to Women's Studies" (WMST-2010) taught by Patricia Buck at ETSU during Spring semester 1999, Fall semester 2000, and Spring semester 2001. The papers addressed the topic of describing what life was like for the individual student's oldest female relative or family friend.