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Special And Digital Collections


 Hunter Library is committed to building regionally oriented, historically significant collections of broad cultural and research interest. Many collections are available online; others are housed on the library's second floor.

The Hunter Library Special Collections Reading Room is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For the safety of you and our staff, you will be required to wear a mask at all times and stay at least 6 feet apart from others. Special Collections staff are available for research assistance via email,, and phone, 828-227-7474. You can browse our extensive Digital Collections online.

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

Browse Hunter Library's Digital Collections

Browse Hunter Library's Digital Humanities projects

The regional collections housed in Hunter Library’s Special Collections focus on manuscripts documenting southern Appalachian life and natural history, with particular attention to western North Carolina. The manuscripts include letters, diaries, business and financial records, legal documents, literary productions, maps, news clippings, and photographs. Specific collections may represent the activities or history of an individual, a family, a business, or organization.
Areas of collecting interest include:

  1. material documenting the cultural and natural history of western North Carolina and southern Appalachia;
  2. material documenting the history of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians;
  3. literary works and papers of authors residing in, or native to, or writing about western North Carolina;
  4. materials concerning the history of Western Carolina University (previously known as Cullowhee High School, Cullowhee Normal and Industrial School, Cullowhee State Normal School, Western Carolina Teachers College, and Western Carolina College). Materials include university publications and photographs; and
  5. material concerning the behavior of spiders.

Search the Library's Manuscript Collections

This collection contains books that would be difficult to replace if damaged or lost and includes materials pertaining to regional history and culture, Appalachian wilderness, and the behavior of spiders. Special Collections books do not circulate but may be used in the Special Collections reading room.

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