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Words and Watercolors of Emma Bell Miles

  • A black and white photograph of Emma Bell Miles, ca 1915

    Emma Bell Miles

    Emma Bell Miles, 1879-1919, lived on Signal Mountain, TN with her husband Frank and her 5 children. A naturalist, author, and artist, Emma shared her love of the mountain and its people through her diaries, stories, poems, and watercolors. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has also created an exhibit on Miles. Please visit that special collection here. 

  • This is a black and white image of Emma Bell Miles, with daughters Jean and Katherine, taken between 1912 and 1919.

    Emma Bell Miles with daughters

    Emma Bell Miles had several children. Here she is with daughters Katherine, born 1907 and Jean, born 1902. Emma also had Judith, twin to Jean, and Joe Winchester, born 1905, and Mark, born 1909. Her poetry, writings, and art work kept the family sustained on Walden's Ridge. 

  • This is a poem created by Emma Bell Miles and set to music by Roy Lamont Smith.

    Unpublished poem of Emma Bell Miles

    In the Chattanooga Public Library's local history files was this item written by the mountain poet. According to the notes, Roy Lamont Smith, Cadek Conservatory professor, composer, organist,and pianist, wrote music to accompany the poem. Similar poems by Emma Bell Miles appeared in Strains from a Dulcimer, published in 1930. Abby Crawford Milton edited this version. 

  • This is a hand colored postcard of Walden's Ridge on Signal Mountain at sunrise.  The artist was Emma Bell Miles.

    Walden's Ridge at sunrise

    As a watercolor artist, Emma Bell Miles put the beauty of a Tennessee sunrise in this hand colored postcard of Walden's Ridge on Signal Mountain.

  • This is a colored postcard of a cliff on Walden's Ridge at sunset created by Emma Bell Miles.

    Walden's Ridge at sunset

    Emma Bell Miles captured the serenity of the sun setting over the ridge in this hand colored postcard. The exact location is not known but there are several cliffs on Signal Mountain from which this scene could have been fashioned. 

  • This is a hand colored postcard of Walden's Ridge landscape created by Emma Bell Miles.

    Walden's Ridge bluff view

    In pastel watercolors, Emma Bell Miles captured the landscape of Walden's Ridge in the early 20th century. She sold these illustrated postcards in Chattanooga shops. 

  • This is a hand colored postcard of a cabin on Walden's Ridge painted by Emma Bell Miles.

    Walden's Ridge cabin

    Emma Bell Miles supported herself by painting these postcards of scenes on Walden's Ridge. This cabin could have been hers or one of her neighbors.

  • Another one of the hand colored postcards of Walden's Ridge created by Emma Bell Miles.

    Walden's ridge cliff view

    Emma Bell Miles must have perched on several cliff edges to obtain these beautiful images of Walden's Ridge on Signal Mountain. The exact location is unknown but she traveled the mountain to find these sights for her watercolor postcards. 

  • This is a hand colored postcard of a sunset on Walden's Ridge created by Emma Bell Miles.

    Walden's Ridge sunset number 2

    Emma Bell Miles, trained artist, painted her postcards with images she found on her home on Walden's Ridge. Here is another beautiful and serene sunset on Signal Mountain.

  • Illustration for Some Real American Music, chapter from The Spirit of the Mountains, published in 1905.

    "Some Real American Music"

    This is the illustration from the chapter on music in Emma Bell Miles' book The Spirit of the Mountains, 1905. In the early publications, Miles hand colored pages in addition to the printed illustrations.

  • Title page of the 1905 edition of Emma Bell Miles' Spirit of the Mountains.

    Spirit of the Mountains

    Spirit of the Mountains, published in 1905, is Emma Bell Miles' insightful review of mountain folk and their ways. Her book described "daily life, the primitive habits and customs of the mountaineers" and is used today as a resource into Appalachian culture.

  • This is the frontispiece and title page of Our Southern Birds, a book by Emma Bell Miles, published in 1919.

    Our Southern Birds

    In 1919, Emma published Our Southern Birds, a labor of love after spending 4 years off and on in the Pine Breeze Sanitarium for tuberculosis. Her careful and colorful illustrations showed how much she loved the wildlife of Walden's Ridge.