Nimrod Workman: To Fit My Own Category

Director: Scott Faulkner, Anthony Slone
Release Year: 1975
Running Time: 34:59
Original Format: 16mm Film
Color / B&W: bw

Nimrod Workman was born in 1895 and provided for a family of thirteen working in the coal mines of West Virginia. To Fit My Own Category is an extended visit at his home as he and his family prepare meals, build an addition to the house, dig for yellow root, swap jokes with the neighbors, and enjoy each other’s company. Nimrod’s reminiscences about coalmining, union organizing in the 1920s and ’30s, and eighty-three years in the mountains are intercut with impromptu performances of the traditional ballads and original songs for which he won a National Heritage Award. This program will be of interest to students of labor and coalmining history, West Virginia history, folklore and music, and issues related to aging.

This film was preserved by Appalshop Archive with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. To support the work of preserving and safeguarding Appalshop’s collections, please consider making a donation to Appalshop Archive.

Screenings & Festivals

American Film Festival–Finalist

Athens International Film Festival–Merit Award

Conference on Visual Anthropology, Temple University

Film Forum, New York

National Film Theatre, British Film Institute

Sonoma Valley Film Festival


“His impromptu early-morning greeting from his porch is liable to make you think twice about pre-conceptions of the aged….The only drawback to this film is that it can’t be hours longer.” –Dave Moberly, Barbourville Mountain Advocate

“Nimrod Workman has worked for 42 years in the coal mines, but has come through with a joyous spirit and no bitterness….For every occasion, a folksong is inevitably ready.” –The New York Times

“Nimrod continues to amaze! My students, most from middle-class, midwestern homes, were really impressed with his spirit, energy, and character.” –Richard Shaw, Department of History, University of Missouri

“A good starting point for a discussion of the role of folklore in people’s lives.” –Carolyn Lipson-Walker, Indiana University, Journal of American Folklore