Libraries, Museums, and Archives for Researching Appalachia

Appalachian Collection @ Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA

Virginia Tech’s Carol M. Newman Library houses the university’s Special Collections. Here users can access manuscripts, archived materials, and historical materials from the region’s history. Special Collections includes an Appalachian Collection, began in 1988, which includes nearly 300 manuscripts. Information can be found on over 100 different railway systems, religious materials, family papers, and oral history collections.

 

Appalachian Cultural Museum @ Appalachian State University 

Boone, NC

Located at Appalachian State University, this museum was created to foster an understanding of the people of the Appalachian Mountains and to serve as a laboratory for new museum ideas. Through exhibits, publications, and special events, the Museum presents the rich traditions of the region. The Museum gives new meaning to life in western North Carolina in a manner that is authentic and non-stereotypical.

Note: the "Appalachian Cultural Museum" is a showcase of items from Appalachian State University Library's W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection as we track the progress of a two-year processing project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to eliminate the Appalachian Collection backlog.

 

Archives of Appalachia @ East Tennessee State University

The Archives of Appalachia houses approximately 18 million manuscripts, 85,000 sound recordings, and 250,000 images relating to various Appalachian topics.

 

Berea College Archives, Manuscripts and Artifacts Collections 

Berea, KY

Hutchins Library’s Southern Appalachian Archives holds more than one hundred sixty separate collections including organizational records, personal papers, oral histories, photographs, and non-commercial audio and video recordings that document regional history and culture especially in the areas of activism, education, folklore, traditional music, and religious expression.

The Library’s Weatherford-Hammond Mountain Collection started in 1914, includes over 21,000 volumes of published material on all aspects of the region’s history and culture including newly published as well as out-of-print works.

 

Berea’s Appalachian Center Artifacts and Exhibits Studio maintains and makes available a teaching and research collection containing nearly 3,000 objects documenting life in the region. Collection highlights include mountain domestic life, ca. 1850-1940; regional craft traditions, especially textiles, pottery and woodworking; stereotypes of Appalachian people; and the history of Berea College.

 

Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection @ University of Kentucky 

Lexington, KY

The University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center successfully completed a NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources digitization grant, resulting in online access to 132 cubic feet from the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection.
 

The materials focus on 189 years of economic development in the eastern Kentucky coalfield from 1788 to 1976. The ten individual collections document the search for, extraction of, and distribution of coal, oil, and natural gas resources in Breathitt, Boyd, Clark, Floyd, Harlan, Lawrence, Letcher, Perry, and Powell counties; the creation of railroads to bring these raw materials to industrial manufacturers and electrical power generators across the United States; and the company towns, their services, and the individual lives that grew up to sustain and make possible this economic development.

These collections include the Benham Coal Company records, Wheelwright collection, Sherrill Martin collection, Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company and Lexington and Eastern Railway Company records, and the Kentucky Union Land Company records. Additional details on the project and other Appalachian-related collections at UK SCRC can be found on the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection page.

 

Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives @ The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Libraries 

Knoxville, TN

Housed at the John C. Hodges Library at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives focuses on select topics in East Tennessee and the surrounding Appalachian area. These include the Civil War, Native Southeastern American history, and the music, literature, cinema, and performing arts of the eastern Tennessee region. Our Great Smoky Mountains Regional Project acquires and preserves materials in all formats, documenting the history and culture of the mountain regions of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Recently the library has developed a collection related to the history of moonshine and distilling in the region as well. Access to a wide array of these materials can be found through our Digital Collections.

 

Digital Library of Appalachia

Appalachian College Association Central Library. The Digital Library of Appalachia provides online access to archival and historical materials related to the culture of the southern and central Appalachian region. The contents of the DLA are drawn from special collections of Appalachian College Association member libraries.

 

The Kentucky Digital Library

(Hosted by the University of Kentucky)

The Kentuckiana Digital Library is built to enhance scholarship, research and lifelong learning through the establishment of access to shared digital archival collections in the state of Kentucky. It also provides guidance and instruction for Kentucky libraries, archives, historical societies and museums on applying appropriate technologies used in the production of digital library resources.

 

Library of Congress Manuscripts Reading Room 

Washington, D.C.

The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with more than 130 million items on approximately 530 miles of bookshelves. The collections include more than 29 million books and other printed materials, 2.7 million recordings, 12 million photographs, 4.8 million maps, and 58 million manuscripts.

This Library of Congress Manuscript Reading Room includes links to finding aids and the American Memory online collections. It also includes information on Reading Room policies and procedures, instructions for searching manuscript catalog records in the Library's online catalog, online exhbits and resources, and the Division's annual acquisitions reports.

 

McConnell Library @ Radford University

Radford, VA

The Appalachian Collection contains manuscripts and other primary materials that document the history and culture of Southwest Virginia and Appalachia. Collections include the Highland Summer Conference Collection and the Virginia, Iron, Coal and Coke Company Collection. In addition to these collections, McConnell Library has an extensive collection of books, CDs, video recordings, journals, and other materials related to Appalachia and Southwest Virginia

 

Morrow Library Special Collections @ Marshall University

Huntington, WV

Special Collections houses collections of a unique and specialized nature on the third floor of the James E. Morrow Library on the Marshall University campus.

 

National Museum of American History Archives Center

Smithsonian Institute 

The Archives Center contains archival collections documenting American music, ethnic imagery, advertising and advertising history, religion, technology and invention, material culture, sports, and transportation.

 

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections

The mission of the NUCMC program is to provide and promote bibliographic access to the nation's documentary heritage. This mission is realized by NUCMC production of cataloging describing archival and manuscript collections held by eligible repositories located throughout the United States and its territories. The program's mission is further realized by the provision of free searching, via NUCMC gateways, of archival and manuscript cataloging in the RLG and OCLC union catalogs. Collection of links to sites in various states.

 

Repositories of Primary Sources for Eastern States @ University of Idaho

The University of Idaho Library’s Special Collections includes a repository of primary sources about the Eastern United States and Canada, arranged by state. Listings include information on public and university libraries, as well as museums, societies, and associations.

 

The Southern Folklife Collection

The Southern Folklife Collection on the fourth floor of Wilson Library houses one of the world's largest collections of Southeastern-tradition derived music.

 

Southern Historical Collection @ University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

The Southern Historical Collection (SHC) has developed a large-scale digitization program that is designed to provide online access to entire manuscript collections or to substantial portions of collections. The collections listed were digitized in whole or in part under this program. Clicking on a collection name will take you to the collection's finding aid (a descriptive guide to the collection's contents). To search for other SHC collections or other digitized collections in UNC-Chapel Hill's University Library.

 

Special Collections @ UNC Asheville

Special Collections at UNC Asheville collects manuscripts, photographs, oral histories, and other materials that document Asheville and Western North Carolina. Special Collections at UNCA was founded in 1977 as the Southern Highlands Research Center with a goal of documenting the diversity of urban Appalachia and Asheville.

 

University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center

The University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center successfully completed a NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources digitization grant, resulting in online access to 132 cubic feet from the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection.
 

The materials focus on 189 years of economic development in the eastern Kentucky coalfield from 1788 to 1976. The ten individual collections document the search for, extraction of, and distribution of coal, oil, and natural gas resources in Breathitt, Boyd, Clark, Floyd, Harlan, Lawrence, Letcher, Perry, and Powell counties; the creation of railroads to bring these raw materials to industrial manufacturers and electrical power generators across the United States; and the company towns, their services, and the individual lives that grew up to sustain and make possible this economic development.

These collections include the Benham Coal Company records, Wheelwright collection, Sherrill Martin collection, Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company and Lexington and Eastern Railway Company records, and the Kentucky Union Land Company records. Additional details on the project and other Appalachian-related collections at UK SCRC can be found on the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection page.

 

Virginia Memory @ Library of Virginia 

Virginia Memory is part of the online presence of the Library of Virginia, the state archives and reference library at the seat of government for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia Memory has been designed as a gateway to the Library of Virginia's digital collections, whether those items are indexed and delivered through traditional library systems, offered in online exhibitions, organized as resources for educators and students, or presented as research articles by staff who work with the collections on a daily basis.

 

West Virginia & Regional History Center @ West Virginia University

Morgantown, WV

The West Virginia and Regional History Center is the largest historical archives/library in West Virginia, preserving the gathering of archives, manuscripts and books pertaining to the history of West Virginia and the central Appalachian region.

West Virginia and Regional History Center Special Collections: focusing on the region include the Appalachian Collection, Archives and Manuscripts, West Virginia History OnView photographs database with over 50,000 images available online, and the regionally recognized Appalachian Bibliography

 

West Virginia State Archives

Includes West Virginia Historical Societies and Repositories Guide to Collections Pertaining to West Virginia History Repositories outside West Virginia. Also includes Southern Mountaineers the History of the William Leonard Emery Appalachian Collection.

 

The W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection @ Appalachian State University

Boone, NC

This repository for a wide variety of materials related to the Southern uplands is located on the second floor of Belk Library at Appalachian State University. The Appalachian Collection has more than 26,000 volumes of books and over 200 periodical subscriptions, with special strengths in the social sciences, regional history, folklore, music, religion, genealogy, fiction, and African and Native Appalachia.