Articles,  New Aqusitions

What’s new in Appalachian Special Collections?

This article appeared in the Volume 4, Issue 3 Winter 2024 issue of the Appalachian Curator. Click here to view a PDF of the full issue.

New collections in regional repositories:


Buncombe County Special Collections, Asheville

University of North Carolina Asheville 

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga


Buncombe County Special Collections, Asheville

Mary Mitchell Westall Large Collection on Westall Family History (1905-2016), additional accrual, MS294. Materials in this collection represent five generations of the family of Asheville builder James Manassas Westall (1861-1943). With the 1914 marriage of his son “Jack” to Mary Mitchell Wiley, the “hillbilly” Westall clan was united with the Tennessee business roots of Asheville hotelier Newton Pierce Chedester and the Virginia tidewater roots of the Arthur Luther Wiley family. Supported by historical genealogies, these photos, letters, scrapbooks, family stories and ephemera focus on upper-middle class family life in a late 19th-century suburban city. The original donation was made in 2007 with additional materials being added in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Buncombe County Special Collections received the final donation of materials for this collection in October 2022. This donation includes several hundred family letters, a recipe book/cookbook that belonged to Emma Chedester Wiley which was passed down to Mary Mitchell Wiley (Mrs. Jack Westall) and then to Mary M. Westall Large, scrapbooks and photo albums from the Arthur Luther Wiley family, additional printed materials relating to the Westall and Wiley families, and correspondence to Thomas Wolfe. Also included are annotated correspondence and photos of the women employed in the Jack Westall household at 44 Westall Avenue in the early 20th Century, an autographed copy of Thomas Wolfe’s “The Story of a Novel”, an autographed copy of a book by WASP Dot Swain Lewis, with a model of a statue she created for the WASP museum, and assorted Asheville memorabilia.

City of Asheville–Parks and Recreation (1970s-2010), MS440. Items in this collection include materials related to city parks, programs, and festivals through the years. Photos are of staff members, booths, and attendees at events such as Bele Chere, First Night, and holiday parades. This collection highlights the Parks and Recreation facilities and programs through the years that have served the diverse population of Asheville.

Asheville City Council Records (1849-2021), MS442. This collection contains records of Asheville City Council meeting minutes dating back to 1849. Asheville City Council minutes 1849-Jun 24, 2008 are held on microfilm. Digital copies of the microfilm, as well as born-digital minutes, are also held on DVDs. 1890-1896 and 1896-1900 are available on

BCSC Zine Collection (2015-2023), MS446. This collection assembled by BCSC staff contains zines (small-circulation self-published works typically with DIY, subculture origins) of local interest, either by creators local to the WNC region or centered on topics of local interest.
As alternative publications produced outside of traditional publishing models, zines are generally intended for personal expression and/or knowledge sharing, especially by and among identities and communities that are not typically represented by mainstream publishing. Topics in this collection range widely, and include LGTBQ+ issues, identity politics, activism, anarchism, how-to, and more. Creators include individual artists as well as organizations that disseminate information within specific communities. Some of the contributors are Grace Crouch, DIYabled, Geddi Moore, Jessica White, co-founder of the Asheville Zine Fest in 2016(MS447), the Asheville Zine Fest, and BCSC Artist in Residence Miles Lamberson.

University of North Carolina Asheville

David Cohen Editorial Cartoon Collection [M2021.03] – Contains hundreds of original editorial cartoons by David Cohen, who has drawn cartoons for the Asheville Citizen-Times since 1970. His cartoons have appeared in publications such as The Funny Times and on CD covers by such musicians as Carla Bley.

Holly Boswell Kindred Spirits Collection, [M2019.08} Holly Boswell (1950-2017) was a pioneering transgender activist, credited with being one of the earliest adopters of the term “transgender” and the creation of the transgender symbol. This collection contains Issues of Gender Quest from Spring 1998 to Autumn 2001, excerpts from writings on spirituality, and materials relating to the operation of Kindred Spirits including correspondence, meeting materials, financial documents regarding the organization’s status as a nonprofit, and materials relating to the construction of the Bodhi Tree House in Black Mountain, NC.

Art Loeb Trail Collection [M2022.01] – Contains documents, newspaper articles, maps, trail dedication materials, publications, correspondence, and other materials related to Art Loeb and the creation and dedication of the Art Loeb Trail.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

The Lookout Mountain Civilian Conservation Corps photographs digital collection is comprised of 25 back and white photographs that document the environmental conservation and infrastructure improvements conducted by Civilian Conservation Corps crews on Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, Tennessee between 1933 and 1939.


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