Hunter Library is committed to building regionally oriented, historically significant collections of broad cultural and research interest. A number of these collections are online. These digital collections provide a foundation for research, education, and humanities programming through their documentation of significant aspects of the American story.
The images in these collections can be downloaded for private use without cost or permission. Use of any images for publication--articles, exhibitions, etc.--requires notification and permission. To request permission or for higher resolution images, please contact Special Collections at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Browse our new Southern Appalachian Digital Collections website.
When it opened in 1908, the Champion Fibre Company was the largest pulp mill in the world. Champion played a crucial role in the environmental future of Haywood County and was central to economic and social life. This collection features photographs, the publication “The Log”, and oral histories with mill workers.
From 1828 to 1834, the Cherokee Nation published a bilingual newspaper. Approximately 260 issues were published under the titles Cherokee Phoenix and Cherokee Phoenix and Indians' Advocate.
Cherokee Traditions: From the Hands of Our Elders is a database of Cherokee art forms, historic photographs, and native language recordings. Images are primarily from the collections of Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
Civil War soldiers from western North Carolina kept in touch with family members by exchanging frequent letters to and from the war front. Organized by family name, the collection ranges from 1862 to 1863 and reflects personal situations and circumstances.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mountain craftsmen formed the cornerstone of a revived interest in things handmade to create a movement known as the Craft Revival. Although craftsmen left few written records, their stories survive in samples of their work, accounts of their sales, and newspaper clippings celebrating their talents.
Established in 1934, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America’s most visited national park. The collection focuses on early efforts to establish a park in eastern US, including the records of the Appalachian National Park Association, Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, Civilian Conservation Corps, and journals created by Horace Kephart.
Highlights from WCU showcases some of the most unique and interesting items held by Hunter Library’s Special Collections department, the Mountain Heritage Center, and others on campus.
In 1904, librarian Horace Kephart left city life to settle in western North Carolina’s “big primitive forest” where he began a second career as a writer, publishing Camping & Woodcraft and Our Southern Highlanders. Kephart is credited with drawing attention to the Great Smoky Mountains and was instrumental in establishing the national park.
The journal began as a monthly publication in July 1991, was published bimonthly from 1994 to 2003, and continues today as a quarterly publication. The journal issues in this digital collection are presented as annual compilations and are full-text searchable.
This digital collection brings together several notable photographic collections that depict the landscape and people of western North Carolina in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Images are from the Hunter Library Special Collections and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Stories of Mountain Folk’s oral history interviews are now being produced as podcasts since their transition from radio program format on January 1, 2016. Stories of Mountain Folk explores the nature and significance of oral history and storytelling to advance the understanding of the cultures of Western North Carolina.
This all-sound collection of radio programs, broadcast until 2016, was produced by Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, a North Carolina not-for-profit. Created from a series of interviews, over 200 radio programs capture “local memory” detailing traditions, events, and life stories of mountain people.
Three travelogues allow viewers to visit towns and communities throughout western North Carolina. Different journeys include a route along footpaths and wagon trails as it was in the 1890s, a train ride in the 1910s, and a drive along mountain roads in the 1930s.
The WCU LGBTQ archive is a WCU faculty and student project that aims to provide a sustainable and visible presentation of queer life in rural Western North Carolina.
Hunter Library’s Making Memories collection offers a look back at the people, buildings, and events that inform Catamount history. In addition to our own collections, Hunter Library partnered with DigitalNC to make a selection of Catamount yearbooks available online.
These interviews document the communities and culture of Western North Carolina. Topics include the building of the Fontana Dam, the history of WCU, stories from local veterans, integration of the local school systems, and more. Users have access to both the audio of the interview as well as a transcript.
The Western Carolinian is Western Carolina University’s student-run newspaper. The paper was published as the Cullowhee Yodel from 1924 to 1931 before changing its name to The Western Carolinian in 1933. The issues in this collection are full-text searchable.
These selected digitized theses and dissertations were written between 1950 and 2008 and are accessible only to users on-campus. Theses and dissertations published after 2009 are in our institutional repository, NC DOCKS.
Showcasing maps from the western region of North Carolina, users can view maps based on location or by type, such as road maps, topographic maps, and plat maps. Maps in this collection span from the 1800s to the 1970s. This collection also features historic maps of Western Carolina University.
World War II affected the residents of WNC both home and abroad. This collection highlights Carr and Ruth Hooper, who were interred in the Philipines; Robert Venoy Reed, an army medic captured by German forces; and Samuel Owens, captured by Japanese forces in the Philippines during his service in the Navy