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Anna Ernberg Papers

Identifier: RG 09-9.19

Scope and Contents

This collection contains personal items of Anna Ernberg, director of Fireside Industries at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. Anna Ernberg was one of the most visible proponents of the Appalachian weaving revival in the early 20th century. Included in the collection is a Redpath Chautauqua poster, a personal photograph book, a scrapbook of weaving drafts, correspondence, a piece written about the history of Fireside Industries by Ernberg and Fireside Industries brochures, a scrapbook of clippings and weaving patterns, numerous drafts and sketches of weaving patterns, yarn samples, and weaving samples.


  • Other: Majority of material found in 1910-1930


Conditions Governing Access

Records can be accessed through the Reading Room, Berea College Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College.

Conditions Governing Use

Federal copyright regulations apply.  Cite all information.

Biographical Note

As the head of Fireside Industries at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, Anna Ernberg was one of the most visible proponents of the Appalachian weaving revival in the early 20th century. Born in Christiansted, Sweden, in 1874, Anna Ernberg immigrated to the United States with her husband when she was in her twenties. Living in New York, Ernberg taught weaving at Pratt Institute and Teachers College. In 1911, as a widow with two young sons, she was invited by Berea College president William Goodell Frost to run the school’s weaving program. In addition to the work she did as an instructor, supervisor, and designer, Ernberg was a tireless fundraiser who traveled to major cities throughout the northeast to sell the products of Fireside Industries. Under her direction for twenty-five years, Ernberg turned Fireside Industries into a reliable source of income for the college. Ernberg also designed looms which were utilized by students at the college. Ernberg was a popular speaker with women’s clubs, patriotic organizations like the Daughters of the American Revolution, church groups, and art organizations. By 1917, Ernberg had raised enough money to fund a new building called the Log House, which held the looms, spaces for finishing work, sales areas, and an apartment for her and her sons. Ernberg also gave lectures and demonstrations of dyeing, weaving, and handcraft at Redpath Chautauqua events. In 1930, she was chosen by Ida Tarbell as one of the fifty outstanding women in America. Ernberg’s influence on the weaving of the Appalachian region lasts to this day. Among those who came to Berea to study were Lucy Morgan, founder of the Penland School for Crafts, and Lou Tate, founder of the “Little Loom House” in Louisville. During Ernberg’s tenure loom building patterns or Woodcraft-built hand looms were provided to the region and weaving teachers from settlement schools and craft centers came to learn both hand weaving and crafts marketing.


7.00 boxes_(general)

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

Ernberg gave some materials to Grete Schioler who later donated the items to the Archives.

Processing Information

Processed and finding aid created in 2016 by Lori Myers-Steele, Collections Archivist.

Archon Finding Aid Title
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Berea College Special Collections and Archives Repository

Hutchins Library
100 Campus Drive
Berea Kentucky 40404 US