Bittersweet was begun in 1973 at Lebanon High School (MO) by English teacher Ellen Gray Massey and a group of interested high school students, sophomore through senior, in a special English class dedicated to preserving the crafts, lore, legends and personalities of the Ozarks. The concept of Bittersweet was cultural journalism and experiential education (learning while doing). The goal of the publication was to learn all aspects of running a business and at the same time, learn about the Ozarks, its geography, crafts, lore and the people who live there.
(Excerpted from Bittersweet Summer 1979, "A Look Behind the Cover" by Rebecca Baldwin.)
Articles touch a wide range of subject areas. Included are such diverse pioneer craft and industry as wooden toy making and rope making. There are biographical profiles of Ozarkers' reminiscences of life and recreation. Agricultural topics range from sheep shearing to bee keeping. Bittersweet has been described as a "Foxfire of the Ozarks" after a similar project begun in Georgia in the early 1970's.