Dr. Palmer holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she served as director of the Advising Center for the College of Communications and taught Basic News Writing. 

Dr. Palmer's deep interest in this area arises from her family's history in Cades Cove. Her grandfather, John Marion Sparks, and grandmother, Elizabeth Shular Sparks, lived in the Cove as did her great, great grandparents, Nathan and Jane Potter Sparks, for whom Sparks Lane in Cades Cove is named. In June 2017, Dr. Palmer was elected to the Board of Directors of the Sam Houston Schoolhouse in Blount County, Tennessee.

Dr. Palmer holds a Community History Award from the East Tennessee Historical Society. The award states, "Dr. Gail Palmer has produced a large body of work on the Great Smoky Mountains...Her books share a native's look at the mountain people, a captivating and entertaining model for communicating local history through storytelling." Betty B. Best, journal editor, Blount County Genealogical & Historical Society, nominated Palmer for the ETHS May 2013 award.

Dr. Palmer recently tested her hiking skills, breaking away from her usual writing time at the computer. She's pictured here where the Boulevard and Appalachian trails intersect.

On November 19, 2016, Dr. Palmer was interviewed on Cleveland, TN's nonprofit WOOP-FM 99.9 radio about The Midwives' Quilt:  Click here to watch the show.

A review from the Judge, 24th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards:

"I've spent a great deal of time since my childhood in the Smoky Mountains for family holidays, so I feel that I know the region rather well, and I'm pleased to report that Dr. Gail Palmer manages to capture the place quite well on paper in The Midwives Quilt. She's clearly done a great deal of research and has a deep feeling for the area and its people, and she is to be commended for the thoroughness of the work she's done. . . . Palmer has created a nicely-paced piece of work, her research is quite commendable, and her passion for the project is evident throughout." 

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An interview with Dr. Palmer from her appearance on Cleveland, TN's Woop-FM on November 19, 2016, is now available on YouTube:  Click here to watch the show.

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Dr. Palmer appeared on "Live at Five at Four" on WBIR-TV in Knoxville on June 24, 2016, where she was interviewed about The Midwives' Quilt:  Click here to watch the show. 


Smoky Mountain Publishers
Dr. Gail Palmer
P.O. Box 684
Alcoa, TN 37701
lpalmer@utk.edu