New Aqusitions

What’s new in Appalachian Special Collections? 

This article appeared in the Volume 1, Issue 1 Spring/Summer 2019 issue of the Appalachian Curator. Click here to view a PDF of the full issue.

New collections in regional repositories:

Appalachian State University

Berea College

East Tennessee State University 

Marshall University

Radford University

University of Kentucky

University of North Carolina – Asheville 

University of Tennessee

Virginia Tech

Western Carolina University



W. L. Eury Collection, Appalachian State University

Recently processed…

Munsey Webb collection on the Norfolk and Western Railway, 1887-1995 – Collection of Munsey Willard Webb (1927-2006), who worked as a depot agent and telegraph operator at various railway stations between Pulaski, Virginia and Galax, Virginia. Through photographs and documents, the collection is a window into the history of forgotten railroad communities and rail spurs along the Norfolk and Western Railway’s Radford Division. The collection maintains the original order established by Webb which, logically, follows the rail line south and west from Pulaski to Galax, each folder representing a stop at a station and visit to a community.

Garrett Arwood Family recordings – Music from the Arwood Family of Pigeonroost, Mitchell County, North Carolina. These recordings were made by the family and prominently feature the playing and singing of Garrett (1904-1993) and Nora Arwood (1913-2009). Garrett was a noted fiddler and fiddle maker featured in the Foxfire book series. The collection audibly displays the wide swath of sounds which fall under the umbrella of “mountain music” with recordings of Garrett and Nora’s son, Norman (1927-1973), showing the incorporation traditional sounds into honky-tonk and bluegrass. The Eury Collection is indebted to Patricia Arwood Kotowski for this donation of her family’s musical legacy.

In process

William Boswell “Bosh” Rigsby papers – “Bosh” Rigsby (1899-1963) was a joke writer who supplied gags for popular comic strips across the United States. A native of Augusta, Georgia, Rigsby worked from his summer home in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, keeping a meticulous account of the gags he sold (and those that were rejected) through an intricate numbering system. Rigsby’s files contain hundreds of note cards with joke ideas and rough sketches of scenes to guide illustrators.

Mary Elizabeth Lewis papers – Mary Elizabeth Lewis (1912-1972) was a writer, photographer, and nurse from Erwin, Unicoi County, Tennessee. Lewis lived an exciting life full of adventures that took her far away from the mountains of Tennessee. She used her experiences as a nurse as inspiration for a screenplay and moved to Hollywood during its Golden Era. The collection contains Lewis’ writings as well as candid photographs of stars including Joan Crawford and Gary Cooper. Scrapbooks and photograph albums contain scenes of Lewis at home in the mountains, with shots of landscapes and communities in eastern Tennessee.



Berea College

WKXO radio station (Berea, KY) –  Eight 7 inch audio reels documenting commercials and local new heard on Berea’s WKXO during the late 1970s and early 1980s donated by former announcer Kyle Sowers.  The station is no longer on the air and none of the advertisers are in business any longer.

MACED (Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (10 boxes) – Official records of MACED. Twenty years’ worth of MACED documents, photographs, materials, etc.  Documents are from the organization’s founding; some of them are important to understanding the last 42 years of Appalachian economic development; others are very specific to MACED as an organization.


Archives of Appalachia, East Tennessee State University

Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival Recordings, 1972-2018, AppMs 868. Analog and born-digital recordings of the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival, one of the longest-running bluegrass festivals in the United States which has featured performers ranging from Ralph Stanley to Ola Belle Reed to Alison Krauss & Union Station. Donated by the Brandywine Friends of Old Time Music, Inc. In process, but open to researchers with advance notice.

The Enterprise (Johnson City, Tennessee) newspaper, 13 January 1887. Added to the Archives’ Historical Newspapers Collection, AppMs 833. Donated by Jenny and David Lockmiller.

Carl Sauceman and the Green Valley Boys Recordings, 1960-1976, undated, AppMs 869. Analog recordings of radio show sets played by Carl Sauceman and the Green Valley Boys (Carl & J.P. Sauceman). Donated by Glen Rose. In process but open to researchers with advance notice.

Scopes Trial postcards, 1925. Eight real photo postcards of Joe Mendi the chimpanzee when he visited Dayton, Tennessee during the Tennessee v. Scopes trial. Donated by Sam Preston.

War in the Modern World Course Collection (accrual), 1985-2009, UnivRec 376. Audio and video student interviews of military veterans, most from or in Southern Appalachia. Unprocessed with full inventory and access available on request.


Marshall University

Carl Barnett Photograph Collection

Accession 2019/02.0853:   Photographs and negatives taken by Carl Barnett, photographer and former teacher at Douglas High School, Huntington, West Virginia. Photographs taken in the 1930s – 1940s. The images document the African American community in Huntington including photographic portraits, Douglas High School groups, churches, congregations, and businesses. His studio was named Notan Studio.

James E. Casto 

Accession 2018/11.0852:   This collection contains information of early Huntington, Charleston, Guyandotte, and surrounding area West Virginia businesses in the forms of advertisements, business letterhead, ink blotters, photographs, and publications. Items span from the mid-1880s to the mid-1980s.

Oley Elementary Time Capsule, 1888

Accession 2018/10/0850:   This collection includes materials found in the Cornerstone Time Capsule from 1888 that was buried at Oley Elementary School. Included in this collection are the personal business cards of prominent people in the Huntington, West Virginia community who were members of secret society groups such as the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. Additionally, this collection contains business cards from local Huntington shops from the 1880s, some of which contain artwork or are featured in color. Further, this collection contains books and manuals, where the majority emphasize the Huntington, WV community either in education, city statistics, religion, and masonry. This collection also includes correspondence, which features an addressed letter to the Daily Paper in the 1970s, as well as lists of members in camanderies, and other business announcements. Finally, this collection features 11 different newspaper titles where community members may have gathered their information in the 1880s, ranging from religious to political.

Guyandotte Poetry Society Papers

Accession 2018/09.0849:   This collection contains the professional documents of the Guyandotte Poetry Society. The contents in this collection span from 1989 to 2018. The collection includes correspondence, directions to meetings, directories of poets who participated in the Society, and poems that were submitted and workshopped. The materials in this collection document the various writers who either served as reviewers or submitted poetry for review. This list of writers is included following the list of folders and their contents.


Radford University

Papers of James Lewis Graham, Sr. – These materials (approx. 2 linear feet) document Mr. Graham’s work at the Radford Iron Company, and include additions to our collection of that company’s publication, The Iron Worker.

Letters of Katie V. Campbell – 4 letters from a former Radford student during her time at the school in the 1930s

An accrual to the Virginia Deal Lawrence Scrapbook Collection – This accrual (2.5 linear feet) documents Ms. Lawrence personal life, and her church involvement.

The Radford University Art Department transferred 25 audio tapes of various interviews with artist Dorothy Gillespie in the 1970s and 1980s.

The family of former professor Charles Baumer Swaney, PhD donated an unpublished manuscript on transportation history written during his time at Radford.


University of Kentucky

The Pauline Canterberry papers document Pauline Canterberry’s and Mary Miller’s work to defend Sylvester, West Virginia, from coal dust pollution caused by Massey Energy’s Elk Run Facility.

The Ann Pancake collection on Pauline Canterberry consists of letters written by Pauline Canterberry to author Ann Pancake concerning coal mining and mountaintop removal in Sylvester, West Virginia.

University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) successfully completed work on its Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant, resulting in online access to the SCRC’s largest group of post-War on Poverty Appalachian primary sources. Action in Appalachia: Revealing Public Health, Housing, and Community Development records in the UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center was a $156,439 grant to fully preserve, organize, and make publicly available the records of seven community-driven organizations dedicated to improving quality of life for the Appalachian Region between 1965 and 1990. All inventories generated by the project are available on the University of Kentucky Libraries digital library, ExploreUK.

Collections made available through Action in Appalachia include:

Appalachian Leadership and Community Outreach, Inc. (ALCOR) records

Eastern Kentucky Health Services, Inc. (EKHS) records

Commission on Religion in Appalachia (CORA) records

Human/Economic Appalachian Development Corporation (HEAD) records

Marketing Appalachia’s Traditional Community Handcrafts (MATCH) records

Eastern Kentucky Housing Development Corporation (EKHDC) records

Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE) records



University of North Carolina – Asheville

Bluff Mountain Papers  -The Bluff Mountain Papers document efforts by the Western North Carolina Alliance and other citizen groups who opposed a US Forest Service plan to log Bluff Mountain in 1996-97. Includes WNCA organizational documents, US Forest Service documents, newspaper clippings, and other materials related to the group’s actions. The papers also include documents related to various staffing and personnel issues with WNCA during the 1990s.

Cut the Clearcutting Papers – Materials from the Western North Carolina Alliance documenting opposition to the Forest Service Plan for management of the Nantahala and Pisgah Forests, specifically even-aged management through clearcutting and shelter wood cutting. Includes correspondence, personal notes, newspaper clippings covering forestry activities, and petitions to increase public awareness.

John J. Keetch US Forest Service Collection  – Items written or collected by John J. Keetch, a U.S. Forest Service employee who worked in Western North Carolina. In 1968, Keetch and George M. Byram published, “A Drought Index for Forest Fire Control,”an index to calculate the fire danger in forests, and most of the materials in this collection reflect Keetch’s long interest in fire danger and calculating its risk.

Morse Family Chimney Rock Park Collection – Materials from the Morse family who owned Chimney Rock for over 100 years prior to selling it to the state of North Carolina in 2007 when it became Chimney Rock State Park.  Included are both items related to the family and materials related to Chimney Rock.

RiverLink Papers  Contains materials from RiverLink, an environmental non-profit organization that works to preserve and develop the French Broad River and its surrounding environment. A large part of the collection covers the organization’s administrative files, including plans for various projects, involved groups, and actions for improving the river. It also includes documents relating to laws and regulations regarding river management.


University of Tennessee

Kelly Bennett Photograph Collection, MS.3892

Dr. Kelly E. Bennett (1890-1974) was born in Whittier, North Carolina, and moved with his family to Bryson City, North Carolina, as a young child. A pharmacist by profession, he began working in his father’s store, Bennett’s Drug Store, in the 1920s. He served in the state senate and as mayor of Bryson City.  Bennett was also a skilled photographer whose work appeared in books, magazines, newspapers, and on postcards.  The collection consists of Bennett’s photographic slides, negatives, and prints taken of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Moonshine War Original Screenplay (MS. 3860) and Original Press Kit (MS. 3871)

Based on a novel of the same name by Elmore Leonard, the MGM film was directed by Richard Quine in 1969 and starred Alan Alda and Richard Widmark.

Four new standalone digital collections, with enhanced descriptive metadata, are more visible and discoverable.

Knoxville Gardens Slides:

Anna Catherine Wiley Sketches:

Photographs of the Ruskin Cooperative Association:

Images of East Tennessee Buildings and Locations:


Virginia Tech

Fries Textile Plant Records, 1900-1988, Ms1989-039, (Partial Inventory only) 80 boxes, 150 cu. ft –  Materials include correspondence, ledgers, production records, employee records, and other items documenting the history of the town and plant. The Fries Civic League obtained the records of the Fries Textile Plant after the plant closed in 1988 and placed them on loan in a “bailment and preservation agreement” in 1989 with Special Collections. With the Fries Civic League dissolved, the Fries Town Council and Mayor of Fries assumed the functions of the League and donated the collection in 2016. A grant from NHPRC was awarded in 2018 to fund the full processing of the collection. That work is underway. The collection will include approximately 150 additional blueprints and architectural drawings dating from 1901 to the 1990s when completed.

Western Lunatic Asylum [Staunton, Virginia] Collection  Ms-2016-021, 0.2 cu. ft. 1 box – Includes includes correspondence written to the Western Lunatic Asylum in Staunton, Virginia, dating from 1841 to 1878, as well as a final year report from 1903

Elizabeth Fine Papers, c.1983-2012,  Ms2015-041,  6.2  cu. ft. 5 boxes; 1 oversize folder – Includes papers and materials collected by Fine during her tenure as a professor at Virginia Tech. The collection includes research and subject files on aspects of Appalachian culture and history; papers from her instruction, departmental, and administrative activities; and files on historic buildings on campus, particularly the history, renovation, and reopening of “Solitude.”

Adams Express Company Ledger, 1912,  Ms2017-043, 0.1  cu. ft. 1 folder The collection consists of a ledger for the Adams Express Company recording shipments being moved from Hot Springs, Virginia, to Warm Springs, Virginia, between May and September of 1912.

Virginia Iron, Coal and Coke Company Pay Ledger, 1918, Ms2017-027, 0.3  cu. ft. 1 box –  The Virginia Iron, Coal and Coke Company was organized in 1899, when it acquired several plants previously owned by the Carter Coal and Coke Company in Pulaski and Wythe counties, Virginia, as well as furnaces at Roanoke, Radford, Max Meadows, and operations in other parts of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The ledger contains entries noting the names and occupations of individual employees, days and times worked, and amount owed.

Marvin H. Neel Papers, 1933-1988, Ms2016-022, 0.3 cu. ft. 1 box – Neel served as the Ceres postmaster beginning in 1930 and also as a rural carrier until he retired from the Postal Service in the late 1950s. Neel began the acquiring presses and established the Backwoods Press in Ceres, Virginia, in 1933. The press would run consistently until the late 1950s and produced a few publications from 1958 until about 1967, when Neel retired from the printing business.   This collection includes biographical resources, ephemera, correspondence, and writings and woodcut prints by and related to Marvin H. Neel (1908-1978), created between 1933 and 1988.

Olivia Tutwiler Hill Diary, 1919, Ms2016-004, 0.1 cu. ft. 1 folder – Diary of Olivia Tutwiler (later Olivia Tutwiler Hill), a young teacher living in Blacksburg and Childress, Virginia, in 1919.

James and Rosa Evans Store Ledgers, 1919-1934, Ms2015-009, 0.2 cu. ft. 1 box – This collection consists of 2 ledgers, one from 1919-1920 and the other from 1932-1934. The ledgers contain purchases and payments from the patrons of a general store owned by James and Rosa Evans in the Pennington Gap–St. Charles area of Virginia.


Western Carolina University

John Parris Estate Collection

Papers and possessions from the estate of journalist and author John A. Parris (1914-1999). Parris served as a war correspondent during World War II and reported from the North African and European theaters. After the war he became noted for his “Roaming the Mountains” column that was a regular feature of the Asheville Citizen and Asheville Citizen-Times newspapers and which first appeared in February 1955.

Edgar Purdom Collection

Fifty six photographs documenting rural activities and scenery (drying pottery, churning putter, grinding meal, etc.) by Edgar J. Purdom. Born in 1900, Purdom opened a custom furniture shop in Wayah Valley, near Franklin, NC, in 1946. He was a hobby photographer and made these photographs in Western North Carolina. Purdom retired in 1968 and passed away in Lake County, Florida in 1987.

Veronica Nicholas Collection

This collection concerns Veronica Johnston Nicholas (1941-2016), chiefly during her service on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners (1980 to 1990), and during her community service and activism in the 1970’s in Jackson County, NC. She was involved in many social and political activities, but is perhaps best known for her advocacy of women’s issues (including the organization REACH), animal rights (including the organization ARF), and her organization of Citizens Against the Airport, which opposed the construction of the Jackson County Airport on the Cullowhee site that was ultimately chosen for the airport’s location.

Catch the Spirit of Appalachia Collection

Catch the Spirit of Appalachia (CSA) was established in 1989 with the mission of “Planting the seeds of heritage through the arts.” CSA was cofounded by sisters Amy Ammons Garza and Doreyl Ammons Cain. Incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1991, CSA accomplishes their mission through the painting of historical regional murals, publishing local writers, bestowing Appalachian Studies scholarships, encouraging the youth to learn and play mountain music, and by recording oral history and storytelling through the Stories of Mountain Folk radio show and podcast. They have also published over 125 books by regional authors. This collection includes all titles published by CSA, minutes and administrative files, interviews, and various ephemera.



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