Emersion into the society of York was an easy task for Patrick, a native of a nearby Gastonia, North Carolina, and with familial ties to York's elite. But his personal connections proved to be a mixed blessing to the project. His informants were more forthcoming than they might have been with an outsider, but Patrick felt so deep an obligation to protect their privacy that he never published his findings.Established from Patrick's 1954 Harvard dissertation, this first publication of Townways of Kent invites modern readers to experience mid-century small-town life from the vantage of the white upper and middle classes, and in particular from the viewpoint of Old Kent families. Often disparaging in their views of the African American and mill village communities, the townfolk prove to be further subdivided along rigorously defined lines of ecomic status and ancestry - established families versus newer arrivals - but pride in their community's history and in maintaining a particular vision of the town shines through. The introduction by the Reeds places Patrick's work in its historical context and to bring the story of town life in Kent up to the present day.
Ralph C. Patrick (1920-1983) spent the majority of his professional career at the University of North Carolina's School of Public Health where, in the early 1960s, he was instrumental in establishing a training program in medical anthropology. John Shelton Reed is William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was director of the Howard Odum Institute for Research in Social Science and cofounder of the Center for the Study of the American South. Dale Volberg Reed is a retired musician and music educator.