his lifetime, Horace Kephart made
changes to his photograph album. Similar
to his research journals, the album
evolved with his interests and experiences.
Many captions have been erased and
rewritten. This may reflect a reorganization
of photographs or updated phrases
to describe them. Other pages contain
bits of former paper corners and different
caption placement, suggesting that
some level of rearranging took place.
Kephart also likely began the work
of preserving the album. The binding
was carefully replaced relatively
early, and Kephart developed the expertise
to make such repairs as a librarian.
Kephart maintained a "diary"
when he first came to western North
Carolina. While this diary was not
included in the collection, its index
is part of Kephart's journals. Matching
this index to the first pages of the
album shows a purposeful selection
of subjects in support of a planned
book. Many of these appear in Kephart's
later writings. In contrast, many
photographs have no accompanying information,
particularly toward the end of the
album. These may come from various
travels, as many do show an environment
not typical of western North Carolina.
It is unclear when these photographs
were taken and when they were added
to the album. The Kephart Collection
also contains numerous photographs
not connected to the album.
The virtual album presented here
offers an idea of how the physical
album once appeared. These images
do not reflect the way the album currently
appears. Most significantly, the majority
of the photographs were removed from
the album due to the high acid content
of the album pages. Several photographs
and a number of clippings were attached
with adhesive bonds that could not
be broken. These remain in the album.
The majority of these are clippings
of plates from "Senate Document
84." This refers to the following
publication: U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"A Report of the Secretary of
Agriculture in Relation to the Forests,
Rivers, and Mountains of the Southern
Appalachian Region." Washington:
Government Printing Office, 1902.
Horace Kephart's personal copy of
this report is available at Hunter
Library Special Collections. Currently,
the only source information for other
clippings comes from Kephart's album
notations. Kephart's captions also
remain in the album. The pages are
currently interleaved with acid free
pages to minimize the effect of the
acid content on these remaining photographs.
The current digital project provides
an excellent opportunity to create
the appearance of the album without
subjecting the photographs to the
damaging chemical content of the paper.
This technology based solution also
minimizes handling of the original
album and photographs, as well as
restoring important contextual information.
The separation of the photographs
from the album is further complicated
by the processing history of the Kephart
collection. It moved between Western
Carolina University and the National
Park Service and has undergone numerous
phases of processing as a result.
In addition, there are inconsistencies
within the album content organization
that are difficult to reconcile. For
the most part, photographs were marked
in pencil on the back with the album
page number and the location on the
page. Some have only the page number.
Some were loose at the time of processing
and do not have a page number indicated.
At this point there are also several
photographs missing from the set of
album photographs. Some have become
intermingled with the loose photographs
of the Kephart collection. Loose photographs
that match captions have been added
into the virtual album. These do contribute
to the overall look of the album.
However, many subjects have multiple
shots that are similar, so this placement
may not be exactly correct. Likewise,
photographs that do not have the original
location on the page were matched
to captions and may be incorrect.
It appears that at the time of his
death, Kephart may not have been in
possession of many of the photographs.
Some captions indicate the missing
photograph is one that matches a published
photograph. It may be that Kephart
sent these originals to the publisher,
and they were never returned. In these
cases, the photograph from the published
work has been substituted into the
virtual album. Another issue affecting
the presentation of the album is the
presence of some captions containing
personal information about specific
individuals that cannot be verified.
These captions have been digitally
blurred out of the virtual album due
to concerns about privacy and accuracy.
The virtual album contains editorial
notes denoting when a caption has
been removed, photographs are apparently
missing, or published photographs
have been added.
Between inexact photo developing
techniques and fading over time, many
of the photographs are nearly impossible
to view. Minimal digital photo editing
has been added to the majority of
online images to enhance details.
A master image with no alterations
has been preserved for each photograph
as a 600dpi .tiff file. Likewise,
each page was scanned in two sections
at 600 dpi. These scans were merged
together by hand to create each album
page, a difficult and inexact process
since the scanner created flair and
variations in shading when scanning
the album. The original photographs
and album remain archived for future
use. The majority of the photographs
are included in an online database.
Links for these photographs allow
users to quickly access additional
information about each photograph.
The database also includes information
about when this image was created.
A corresponding handwritten log includes
all changes made to each image. Researchers
requiring specific editing information
or original image files should contact
Special Collections at Hunter Library
with their requests.
Ultimately, the original album cannot
be replaced as either an artifact
or a research resource. However, that
original album can never be physically
restored. While the virtual album
is similar to Kephart's original design,
the damage of time and the efforts
to minimize further damage prevent
recreating the album exactly as it
existed at the time of Kephart's death.
Instead, this virtual album assumes
Kephart's role in the evolutionary
process of editing his personal volume.
This current representation provides
the essence of Kephart's vision, and
a tribute to the people and places