New Aqusitions

What’s New in Appalachian Special Collections?

This article appeared in the Volume 1, Issue 3 Winter 2020 issue of the Appalachian CuratorClick here to view a PDF of the full issue.

New collections in regional repositories:

Appalachian State University

Berea College

East Tennessee State University 

University of North Carolina Asheville 

Virginia Tech

Western Carolina University


W. L. Eury Collection, Appalachian State University

Private William Rufus Barlow Civil War letters – In the summer of 1862, William Rufus Barlow (1827-1865) of King’s Creek, Iredell County, North Carolina was conscripted into the Confederate Army, joining other draftees in Company B of the 18th North Carolina Infantry. The letters sent home by Barlow to his wife, Elizabeth German Barlow (1840-1914), reflect the fears and values of a conscripted soldier as he experienced the horrors and attrition of the Civil War. In several letters, he laments his inability to escape the army, fearing that desertion would bring about retribution on his family. In addition to descriptions of camp life and battles, Barlow’s letters contain suggestions for the upkeep the family farm, pleas for foodstuffs from home, and lists casualties from his home community. The letters always close with Barlow’s dread that he will die before he can write another letter and express hope that he will meet his wife and children in heaven. Barlow participated in many of the major battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia, receiving a shrapnel wound in the wrist and enduring multiple bouts of sickness. Captured in 1864, he spent his final months in the prisoner of war camp at Elmira, New York, dying of pneumonia in January 1865. Barlow’s letters reveal the mind of a non-slaveholding western North Carolina farmer who was a reluctant participant in a conflict that devastated Appalachian communities.

Mary Lyons papers – Mary E. Lyons is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction books for children. Lyons’ historical and biographical works delve into the lives of marginalized people in history, from women to African Americans to impoverished Irish during the potato famine. She has written, edited, or co-authored twenty-one books. The Mary E. Lyons Papers consist of the research, illustrations, correspondence, manuscripts, drafts, and proofs of eighteen of Lyons’ published books, as well as three that were not commercially published. In addition, there are articles, presentations from conferences and classroom visits, letters from students, publishers, and others, school curriculum materials that compliment Lyons’ books, and other book ideas. This collection provides an example of the process of writing and publishing, as well as how the author immerses herself into the time periods and the lives of those about whom she wrote with the aid of primary sources, such as the farm ledger from the late 1840s, used in writing Letters from a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs. Lyons received a Bachelor of Science from Appalachian State University in 1970, and returned to earn a Master of Science in reading in 1972. Before becoming a full-time writer, Lyons was a reading teacher at both elementary and middle schools in North Carolina and Charlottesville, VA. She has also been a school librarian in elementary, middle, and high schools in Charlottesville.


Berea College

William Goodell Family Papers, Part 2, 1757-1959 The William Goodell Family Papers (Part 2) consist of correspondence of numerous Goodell family members (both between each other and family friends and associates); writings, documents, and photographs of Goodell family members; documents, writings and printed materials of abolitionists; and correspondence, papers, and materials specific to members of the family of William Goodell Frost.(Finding aid)  

Celebration of Traditional Music Recordings, 1974-, 1974-2018  Audio and video recordings of Celebration of Traditional Music performances 1974 – 2018. Also included are recordings and transcripts of meetings of the Traditional Music Committee relating to the planning of the Celebration’s early years. (Finding aid)


Archives of Appalachia, East Tennessee State University

Beth Harrington Films, 2000-2007, AppMs 875. Raw video and interview transcripts for Beth Harrington’s films Welcome to the Club: The Women of Rockabilly (2004) and The Winding Stream: The Carters, the Cashes and the Course of Country Music (2014).

Johnson County Hospital Oral History Project, 2018. Three (3) oral history interviews and associated documents about the community impact of the transition from the former Johnson County [Tennessee] Hospital to the current Johnson County Hospital. (Finding Aid)

Maxine Kenny Collection, 1971-1988, undated, AppMs 461 (accrual). Subject files relating primarily to Appalachian health, especially in Floyd County, Virginia, and strip mining. (Finding Aid)

Michael Montgomery Collection, AppMs 632 (accrual). Research files on Appalachian linguistics and related books and journals. From the estate of Michael Montgomery. Note: The bulk of Montgomery’s research remains with his research partners. (Finding Aid)

Timothy F. Woodbridge Music Collection. Approximately 2000 78rpm records of old-time and country music recordings from Appalachia and elsewhere.


University of North Carolina Asheville 

MountainTrue Papers -Contains materials from MountainTrue, the oldest environmental non-profit agency in Western North Carolina, formed through a merger of The Environmental and Conservation Organization of Henderson County, founded in 1987, the Jackson-Macon Conservation Alliance, founded in 2000, and the Western North Carolina Alliance, based in Buncombe County and founded in 1982.The collection contains a wide range of materials from the conservation group, including various environmental projects and planning, and the correspondence and data associated with the projects. The collections contains a large number of items related to timbering projects in Western North Carolina, including graphs, maps, and correspondence of several prominent government officials. There are also materials related to mining, oil drilling, herbicide usage, nuclear waste management, clean air initiatives, and watershed management. The collection contains correspondence from the US Department of Agriculture as well as the papers of Walton R. Smith’s correspondence and “Green Papers.” The collection also contains material from the USFS, including graphs, data, and reports, as well as timber sales and studies. (Finding aid)


Virginia Tech

Christiansburg Industrial Institute Oral History Project; Ms2019-037   The Christiansburg Industrial Institute Oral History Project consists of oral history interviews, transcripts, field notes, and other assorted documents produced by the students of Professor David Cline in the Fall of 2012 in association with interviews conducted with former students of the Christiansburg Industrial Institute about their childhoods, the African-American community in Southwest Virginia, the student experience at Christiansburg Industrial Institute, the quality of the curriculum and how it prepared students for further education and the workforce, the closing of the school, and subsequent preservation efforts via the Christiansburg Institute Alumni Association and Christiansburg Institute, Inc.

Byllesby, Virginia, Dam Construction Photograph Album, 1912-13; Ms2019-028   The Byllesby, Virginia, Dam Construction Photograph Album contains 110 silver gelatin prints in a black photograph album that documents the step-by-step construction of the Byllesby dam and associated power generating structures on the in Carroll County, Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It includes the installation of turbines, images of workers on site, and living quarters. There are also a few images of people in the landscape, dancing, and playing cards, along with related newspaper clippings and ephemera. The dam, built by the predecessor to the Appalachian Power Company, was one of the first to provide electricity to the region. The album likely belonged to Clifford Erickson, a draftsman on the dam project.

Jacob Sherman Legal Documents, 1858; Ms2019-027  The Jacob Sherman Legal Documents contain a complaint of Jacob Sherman and the testimony of Burgess R. Linkous regarding the sale of an enslaved person in Western Virginia in 1858. The complaint of Jacob Sherman in the circuit court of Pulaski County, Virginia, against Edward H. Kinzer and Burgess Linkous, brings a case for the return of an enslaved woman and several of her children who were fraudulently purchased and sold off without his permission by the two men while he was recuperating from grievous injuries to his body and mind. The complaint is addressed to the Honorable Andrew S. Fulton, judge of the circuit court of Pulaski County, Virginia. The complaint was transcribed by Lynch S. Currin, clerk.

G. E. Roberts Letter, 1874; Ms2019-026   The G. E. Roberts Letter contains information pertaining to an African American man shooting a white doctor, Dr. Hammet, in Christiansburg, VA. The letter is written to Walter J. Reeve in Central Depot, VA on February 8, 1874.

Carroll and Wythe Counties Industries Collection, 1937-1980; Ms2019-016  This collection consists of materials relating to various industries in Carroll and Wythe counties, Virginia, collected by author Randal L. Hall in the course of writing Mountains on the Market: Industry, the Environment, and the South. The collection includes four issues of Zinc magazine (the in-house publication of New Jersey Zinc Company), the Summer 1939 issue of which includes a six-page photo section on Austinville, Virginia. Also included is a special photographic section of the Galax Gazette. In addition to brief company overviews, the publication contains photos of the plants, products, and personnel of Galax Mirror, Webb Furniture, Vaughan Furniture, Vaughan-Bassett Furniture, and Galax Knitting, as well as other businesses; and various scenes of the city and surrounding area. The collection also contains an Austinville Limestone pocket notepad, a National Carbide Company miners lamp dust can lid, and a combined photo portrait of the individual employees of the Carroll Hosiery Mills.

George W. L. Kabrich Family Papers, 1850-1947 [bulk 1850-1904]; Ms2019-013  The George W. L. Kabrich Family Papers, 1850-1947 [bulk 1850-1904], contain correspondence, legal records, financial records, and religious documents. The collection documents the personal and professional life of George W. L. Kabrich, who taught school and Sunday school, worked as Overseer of the Poor for Blacksburg Township, and was on church councils for local Lutheran churches. Items also relate to George’s father-in-law John Surface, his daughter Effie Kabrich, and others.

Rosanna Croy Dawson Collection, 1847-1907, 2019; Ms2019-012   The collection contains materials related to the Croy-Dawson families of Blacksburg, Va. These include diaries, photographs, and other documents, some of which involve a dressmaking business started by Ellen Dawson and later joined by Rosanna, Ellen’s mother. The business, run out of the family home, was, reportedly, the only woman-run business in Blacksburg at the time.

Robert Edward Minshall Collection, 1909-43; Ms2019-043   Robert Edward Minshall Collection contains VPI photographs and booklets from 1909-1913. There are 30 photographs, many of which are postcards, which include images of campus views, Castle Rock, the corps, Price Hall, Cascades, the 1943 campus flood, VPI walkway, Academic Building no. 1, Uncle Bill, and pictures from the 1909 football teamAdditionally, there are two booklets from the Class of 1913 Annual Sophomore Banquet and VPI 1913 Commencement.

Albert N. Hubbard Letter, 1864; Ms2019-034   The Albert N. Hubbard Letter is a diary-style letter that contains information pertaining to fighting and traveling through the Shenandoah Valley, including New Market, Woodstock, Harrisonburg, and Staunton. The letter was written in Martinsburg, Virginia, and sent back to Hubbard’s home in Windsor, Massachusetts.

John L. Hebron Letter, 1862; Ms2019-033  The John L. Hebron Letter contains information pertaining to the capture of a prisoner, July 4th celebrations, swimming in the river, and interacting with Rebel soldiers on pickett. John L. Hebron writes the letter to his mother, dated July 5, 1862 from Battle Creek Tennessee.


Western Carolina University

Gideon Laney Collection   This collection concerns the photography of Gideon Laney (December 22, 1889-February 16, 1976), of Brasstown, in Clay County, NC. He served in France during World War I, and returned to North Carolina after his discharge in 1919. In 1924, he married Martha Creech Ison, and their daughter, Grace Elizabeth, was born in 1925. Martha died in 1929, leaving Gideon to raise their young daughter.  (Finding Aid)

Bethel Rural Community Organization Collection   This collection contains items donated by the Bethel Rural Community Organization in Haywood County, NC. This collection chiefly concerns the Plott family, and includes ledgers and photographs. (Finding Aid)

David M. Sherman Collection, Add. #7    his collection is an addition to the David M. Sherman collection, concerning the Appalachian Trail, including correspondence (1983-2004) and Appalachian Trail maps and brochures. (Finding Aid)

Slaglekin Family Genealogy Project Collection    This collection contains the genealogical research done by Phil Slagle. It contains genealogical and other information related to ancestors and descendants of Jesse Henry and Maggie Gillespie Slagle of Cartoogechaye Community in Franklin. The Slaglekin Project is a collection of genealogical information and artifacts (photos, family trees, books, medical histories, and the like) relating to the ancestors and descendants of Jesse Henry and Maggie Gillespie Slagle of Cartoogechaye, Franklin, Macon County, NC.  (Finding Aid)


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