April 22, 2018

Share Home Remedies With Slackwater


The SlackWater Center at St. Mary’s College of Maryland is a consortium of students, faculty, and community members documenting and interpreting the region’s changing landscapes. Oral histories are at the core of the center, which encourages students to explore the region through historical documents, images, literature, and scientific and environmental evidence. The college has more than 500 interviews and is hoping to expand.

Some of this work is published in the print journal SlackWater, some of which is online and some published here.

Julia King, professor of anthropology at the college, recently said a student at St. Mary’s College would slackwater logolike to learn more about the use of home remedies, in the past and in the present. Anyone who knows someone who could speak to this topic is asked to email Ms. King at jking@smcm.edu.

She thanked participants in advance. “Please check out our oral history archive; you probably know many of the people whose stories are there for all posterity. We are the only county with such an extensive record,” Ms. King said.

The SlackWater collection consists of oral history interviews relating to the history, culture, and folklore of Southern Maryland, primarily St. Mary’s County in the 20th century. Interviews are physically documented on audiocassettes, CDs, transcripts, and recording logs. The online collection contains full-text transcripts or recording logs only; full access to audio recordings and transcripts is available at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Archives.

The name SlackWater comes from a word used by watermen in the region to describe the stillness right before the tide changes. “Slackwater is when the tide is changing from one to another,” fisherman Neal Robrecht said during an interview – that moment of calm before the tide reverses course.

The SlackWater Center dates to 1998. Created and developed by former professor of English Andrea Hammer, SlackWater grew out of the Southern Maryland Documentation Project, an oral history project started by Ms. Hammer in 1984. The center aims to provide students at St. Mary’s with meaningful research experiences that make full use of the college’s historical and geographical location. The center encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration and, most importantly, public outreach and debate.



The Slackwater Center

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