Back to Homepage of Horace Kephart: Revealing an Enigma

About the Project

Born in East Salem, Pennsylvania in 1862, Horace Kephart went on to become a leading literary figure in early 20th century North Carolina. Prior to moving to western North Carolina and becoming a full time writer, Kephart established a career as a librarian. His cataloging experience gave him a unique attention to detail that he incorporated into his later writings and research. While still a librarian, Kephart began writing articles on outdoor life among his professional publications. This interest culminated in his first book, Camping and Woodcraft, originally published in 1906. A related book, Camp Cookery, was published in 1910 and later incorporated into a revised edition of the earlier book. He was already at work compiling photographs and observations for his next book, Our Southern Highlanders, published in 1913. Later, Kephart turned his writing skills towards the successful promotion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Shortly before his death in 1931, Kephart served as president of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association from 1929 to 1930.

Throughout 2004, Hunter Library celebrated the 100 year anniversary of Horace Kephart's arrival in western North Carolina. As an extension of these events, Special Collections and the Mountain Heritage Center joined together in creating an online exhibit of Kephart's life and works. Funding for this project came through a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant managed by North Carolina Exploring Cultural Heritage Online (NC ECHO.)

As the project developed, it became clear that Horace Kephart's personal album would become a feature of the online exhibit. The majority of the photographs were removed from the album during processing to prevent further damage from the acid content of the pages. This makes viewing the physical album difficult. The online exhibit provided a unique opportunity to reconstruct the album virtually, allowing viewers to see the photographs within the context of the album. The final virtual album includes all 80 pages of the physical album.

Alongside the album, another feature of the project provides a series of exhibit pages. Much like a museum gallery, these provide a logical path through related items to create a learning experience. Here visitors can learn about Kephart, his writings, and the people and places of early 20th century western North Carolina.

Researchers will find the searchable database helpful for locating specific documents and artifacts related to a given topic. With each image is a set of Dublin Core metadata describing the item and its place in the collection. This database also contains accession information for researchers who plan to use the physical collections.

In addition to these three primary components of the exhibit, background material and additional resources about Kephart are provided. These will help users understand the context of the materials in the exhibit and guide researchers beyond the present exhibit.

Special Collections at Hunter Library and The Mountain Heritage Center invite you to enjoy this exhibit.