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Special Collections Donations

Donating Materials to Special and Digital Collections

Hunter Library’s Special and Digital Collections is dedicated to collecting and preserving manuscripts, books, photography, and other unique materials in support of the research interests of Western Carolina University’s students, faculty, and staff, as well as those of interested members of our community. Our current collection strengths and interests include:

  • Historic photographs of Southern Appalachia and its people
  • Cultural heritage and history of Southern Appalachia
  • Arts and crafts of Southern Appalachia
  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
  • Southern Appalachian authors
  • Southern Appalachia during war (including Civil War, World War I and II, Korean War, Vietnam War)
  • The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Western Carolina University history

We welcome donations of personal, family, or organizational papers related to these collecting strengths.  Special and Digital Collections relies exclusively upon donations of materials, and we are deeply indebted to our gracious donors.  By contributing your papers, you are enhancing our ability to provide valuable research resources to our community and the University.

Why should I donate my materials?

Letters, diaries, photos, ledgers, business records, and other materials offer unique information regarding your life or the history of your family or organization. These materials provide valuable perspective and context to the study of the culture and history of the entire region. When you donate your papers to Hunter Library, your family’s history becomes an important part of the community’s collective memory and will serve as a great asset to current and future researchers. Donated materials are stored in archival quality containers and housed in climate-controlled areas, which will greatly prolong their lifespan over being stored in basements or attics.

What types of materials might Hunter Library accept?

We accept collections large and small. You, your family, or your organization need not be famous for your materials to be valuable and historically significant. Your materials need not be organized, arranged, or sorted. In some cases, the research value of your materials may be greater if you do not sort or rearrange your materials before donating them. Please contact our staff before you sort, cull, or otherwise rearrange your materials. Types of materials collected by Special Collections include:

  • Letters and correspondence
  • Diaries, memoirs, and reminiscences
  • Writings, papers, speeches, and reports
  • Photographs and scrapbooks
  • Genealogical information, including family histories, naturalization papers, etc.
  • Records of a business, community group, or organization
  • Deeds, land records, and maps
  • Films, videotapes, and audiotapes

Special and Digital Collections occasionally receives donations of valuable materials that are outside of our collecting interests, or would better fit the collecting interests of another institution or repository. In those cases, our staff will recommend a more suitable home for your materials. If your materials are a good fit for Special and Digital Collections, our staff will work with you on the physical transfer of the materials and on the completion of a deed of gift.

Sometimes, Special and Digital Collections will accept materials that fall outside of our normal collecting interests. If you have any questions about whether your materials are within our collecting interests, or if your materials are unique, rare, very old, or just incredibly fascinating, please contact us!

If you would like to contribute to Special and Digital Collections, but you do not have a collection to share with us, cash contributions are always greatly appreciated. Quality archival materials, such as photo sleeves and acid-free boxes, and digitization equipment, such as scanners and cameras, are very expensive! Your cash donation helps us preserve more materials and stay on the cutting edge of digitization technology.

Is my donation tax deductible?

In certain circumstances, it may be possible for a donor to take a tax deduction for the donation of a manuscript collection. Hunter Library is not able to appraise materials or offer tax advice.

Please contact:

Jason Brady

Hunter Library – Special and Digital Collections



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