Digital Collections

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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.

Scanned page of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper

Cherokee Phoenix

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.

Amanda Smoker weaving a basket

Cherokee Traditions: From the Hands of our Elders

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-era letters

Civil War Collection

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.

Sitting and standing holding baskets

Craft Revival: Shaping Western North Carolina Past and Present

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.

Green mountains

Great Smoky Mountains: A Park For America

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 in preparation for his classic book, Camping & Woodcraft.

Horace Kephart with a pistol

Horace Kephart: Revealing an Enigma

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.

Valley in Appalachia

Picturing Appalachia

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.

Man and woman carving on a front porch

Stories of Mountain Folk

This all-sound collection of interviews 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.

Woman leaning on old car

Travel Western North Carolina

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.

Western Carolina University Herbarium

The Western Carolina University Herbarium is the largest botanical resource in western North Carolina, with over 27,000 pressed and dried vascular plant specimens. This specimen imaging project currently represents trees and shrubs in the chestnut genus, Castanea.

Western Carolina University: Making Memories since 1889

In celebration of Western Carolina University’s 125th anniversary, Hunter Library’s Making Memories collection offers a look back at the people, buildings, and events that inform Catamount history. The images and documents that appear on this website are housed in the library’s Special Collections unit. In addition to our own collections, Hunter Library partnered with DigitalNC to make a selection of Catamount yearbooks available online.


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