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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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"Vale of Humility between Two Mountains of Conceit"

by William S. Powell, 2006

"Vale of Humility between Two Mountains of Conceit" is a phrase describing North Carolina that originated from a speech given by Mary Oates Spratt Van Landingham on 6 Mar. 1900. That day, she spoke on the "native literature" of North Carolina before the Mecklenburg Historical Society in Charlotte. Referencing North Carolina's location between South Carolina and Virginia, Van Landingham said, "Where there are mountains of conceit, there are apt to be valleys of humility." The term has remained a source of tongue-in-cheek pride for North Carolinians.

Additional Resources:

Van Landingham, Mrs. John. "A State's Scant Literature: The Native Literature of North Carolina: Influences of the Past; Prospects for the Future." Glowing Embers. Charlotte, N.C.:The Observer Printing House. 1922. p. 30. (accessed August 16, 2012).

Hovis, George. Vale of Humility: Plain Folk in Contemporary North Carolina Fiction. Charleston: University of South Carolina Press. 2007.

Powell, Lew. "Valleys of whatever, mountains of whatever" North Carolina Miscellany (blog). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. October 1, 2010. (accessed August 16, 2012).

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