Laura Thornburgh was born to Jacob Montgomery and Laura Emma Pettibone Thornburgh on February 8, 1885 in Knoxville, Tennessee. She was educated at the University of Tennessee, graduating in 1904. She was devoted to the Great Smoky Mountains, where she enjoyed hiking and camping. Using the name Laura Thornborough, she wrote several books, including Motion Pictures in Education (1923), Etiquette for everybody: a guide to social usage for old and young (1923), The Etiquette of Letter Writing (1924), Interior decorating for everybody (1925), The Psychologist Keeps House (1930), and her most famous, The Great Smoky Mountains (1937)( Carson, 18). She died on March 28, 1973. The University of Tennessee Special Collections Library (Knoxville, Tennessee) is the digital publisher. Ms. Thornburgh was a dramatic critic and book reviewer for the Knoxville Sentinel, 1907-1917 (Thornborough, 463).
Faculty Member (summers) University of Tennessee 1923; George Washington University 1924; Director of Educational Motion Pictures 1930-1932; Member of Adm. Association. University Women, League Am. Pen Women (chairman National Motion Picture Com 1932-1933), International Association of Arts and Letters, Chi Omega. Ms. Thornburgh was a Republican and Catholic (Daniel, 111).
Ms. Thornburgh wrote many feature articles for newspapers and magazines regarding the Great Smokey Mountain and kindred subjects. Ms. Thornburgh wrote the book, "The Great Smokey Mountains" which was first published in 1938. Ms. Thornburgh spent her summers at Thornborough Cabin in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with winters spent in Knoxville, Tn with her brother and mother (Murfree, 128).
The Smoky Mountains Hiking Club began inauspiciously as an informal adult hiking program organized by leaders of the YMCA boys camp in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Marshall Wilson, Assistant Boys Work Director, and George Barber, Physical Director, suggested the hike, an overnight excursion to Mount Le Conte on October 19-20, 1924. Laura Thornburgh's widely acclaimed The Great Smoky Mountains became the first book-length treatise on the history and people of the mountains since Kepahrt's Our Southern Highlanders. Paul Fink, who served as a Tennessee representative on the Park's nomenclature committee, published that's Why They Call It; The Names and Lore of the Great Smokies, a popular essay on the stories behind colorful place names found in the mountains. Fink later published Backpacking Was the Only Way, a journal account that includes his experiences in helping blaze the Appalachian Trail for sections of its 71 miles across the Smoky skyline. Paul Adams, who built the first lodge on Mount Le Conte and helped ...