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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

ORAL HISTORY

Kim & Vivian Barnhill


Ms. Lena's Pie Shop

In the southern Arkansas town of DeValls Bluff, Vivian Barnhill and her daughter Kim Barnhill carry on the legacy of Ms. Lena, Vivian’s mother and Kim’s grandmother. In 1994, Ms. Lena went into business at the age of 75, serving fried pies from a kitchen adjacent to her house.

Vivian and Ms. Lena enjoyed a tight mother-daughter bond that is reflected in Vivian and Kim’s relationship. When Kim joined the business, Vivian assumed it would take her 6 months to learn how to mix and roll out the tricky, moisture-sensitive pie dough. After years of watching her mother and grandmother, Kim succeeded on her first effort.

When Ms. Lena passed away in 2005, she asked her daughter to carry on the family business. Kim joined her mother, becoming the third generation of pie makers in the family. Today, Vivian and Kim continue Ms. Lena’s legacy every weekend, serving over thirty flavors of fried and whole pies to customers from all corners of the world.

Date of interview:
2013-08-02

Interviewer:
Sherri Sheu

Photographer:
Sherri Sheu

Download Transcript

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