Words and Watercolors of Emma Bell Miles
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.
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.
Unpublished poem of Emma Bell Miles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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.