Photographic collections of Special Collections & University Archives contain over 20,000 images, including prints, negatives and transparencies. Photographs are available for viewing in the Reading Room, and thousand of images have been digitized and put online in the Southern Appalachian Digital Collections website, a collaborative project with Western Carolina University that was launched in 2022. Digital copies of most images are available for educational use. Please contact us for details.
Many of these collections have accompanying manuscript materials. See Manuscripts or the links within the finding aids for photographic materials.
Stafford and Wingate L. Anders Collection
Small digital collection of postcards of Asheville and photographs related to Exum Clement, mother of Stafford Anders who was the first woman legislator in North Carolina. (3 items, 26 images)
Appalachian Hall Photographs
Four prints showing Appalachian Hall hospital when it was on S. French Broad Avenue, and graduating nursing classes
Asheville Area Photographic Collection
A photographic survey of Asheville, NC, sponsored by the Southern Highlands Research Center and the North Carolina Department of Archives and History in 1976. Photographs are by Charles McLarty and Jefferson Davis. The collection numbers approximately 200 images and complements the work of Jeff Davis who photographed for CETA in the 1970s and later.
Photographs taken between circa 1895 and 1930. A large number of the photographs show logging operations, especially of the Ritter Lumber Company in Proctor, located on Hazel Creek in Swain County, NC. Many of these photographs feature Austin Brooks, a lumber worker, and other photographs are of Mr. Brooks and his family
E.M. Ball Collection
A large collection of negatives and prints of Asheville and western North Carolina from 1919-1969. Collection is comprised largely of urban architectural photographs and people and events in Asheville. Also included are early images of rural life in the region.
Ewart McKinley Ball III Photograph Collection
Negatives from Ball's work as a commerical photographer in Asheville between 1969 and 1999.
Jody Barber Collection
Views of Hendersonville, NC and surrounding area, taken by members of the Barber family from 1884 until the 1930's. Note: Hendersonville Public Library holds the bulk of the Baker-Barber Collection.
Julia Britt Photo Album
33 portraits likely taken in the late 19th by photographers in Asheville, and other locations. Most subjects are unidentified
E. E. Brown Photography Collection
Images from an 1883 photo album belonging to photographer E. E. Brown. The photographs were taken by Brown under commission from the Western North Carolina Railroad.
Frank Clodfelter Photographs
Negatives and transparencies taken from 1952 to the early 1980's includes many of the railroad lines that were in the southeastern United States such as Norfolk Southern, and Southern Railway lines.
Homer Clontz Collection
A collection of World War II photographs taken when Clontz was onboard the USS Intrepid. Includes reconniaissance photographs, Admiral Nimitz signing the peace treaty, aircraft, and Pacific island scenes
Frank Coxe Papers
A banker and past Executive Director of the Asheville Industrial Council and descendant of Tench Coxe. Approximately 140 photographs of Asheville, Green River area, Old Battery Park Hotel and family members are included in this collection. See also the Tench Coxe Collection.
Jeff Davis Photograph Collection
Photographs taken between 1978 and 1985 documenting various job training programs in Asheville. The photographs show program participants, instructors, and other staff members, only a few of which are identified by name
East Riverside Photographs
A collection of turn-of-the century and later photographs of the East Riverside area of Asheville, NC. Most are unidentified but are an exquisite representation of the large African American community in Asheville at the turn of the century. Identification is invited.
Eliada Home Photographs
Over 9,000 black and white and color photos, negatives, glass plate negatives, scrapbooks, lantern slides and oversized photos from Eliada Home Inc. near Asheville (See also M2005.08 for manuscripts)
Faces of Asheville
Images and documents from the Faces of Asheville photo documentary project (2007-2009). Online access through the Southern Appalachian Digital Collections website
Grove Park Inn Photographs
An on-line only collection of images of the construction and development of the Inn. Online access is available through the Southern Appalachian Digital Collections website. Many of the photographs are the work of John B. Robinson
Sarah Harnden Photographs
Two photographs of hog-killing in the Leicester area of North Carolina, 1995
Hugh Hester Photographs
Small collection of family photographs of Hester, a military General, political activist and writer, and his family.
Neal Hinegardner Collection
Small collection of propaganda photographs probably taken by Jakob Tiefenthaler, photographer for the German Third Reich just prior to WWII. The collection includes photographs of Hitler, Himmler, Göring, Goebbels, and additional government, party and military leaders, reviews of troops and other promotional views of official ceremonies. Hinegardner knew and worked with Tiefenthaler who was employed by the US Armed forces following the war.
Joi Holloway Photographs
Small collection of 33 photographic slides of the exterior and interior architecture of St John in the Wilderness Church, Flat Rock, NC, and 21 architectural slides of the exterior and interior of St. James Church of Hendersonville. Slides were taken March 27 and 29, 1996
William T. Kirkman Photograph Collection, 1923-2000
Selected photographs taken from the approximately 4,000 images in Kirkman' personal collection. Focused on his years as a member of the Carolina Mountain Club, an Asheville area hiking club established in 1931, it also includes many images of western North Carolina, as well as other regions along the Appalachian chain of mountains. Kirkman, a 50-year member of the Carolina Mountain Club, was active in local environmental initiatives and documents related to his activism are included. The collection also contains some supplementary materials about the Carolina Mountain Club.
Henry Martin Knauth Photograph Collection
A collection of two-hundred-eighty-four photographs taken by Henry Martin Knauth during his tour of duty in Europe in the First World War as a quartermaster for the American Army. Photographs include famous sights in Paris such as Notre Dame, Napoleon's Stables, and photos of victory parades during the war's conclusion. Also featured are pictures Knauth took in various parts of France, Italy, and Germany during his travels while on leave. These photos include images of the destruction of the First World War along the Western Front. There are also pictures of Knauth's extended family and hometown in Ludwieler, Germany from which his family had migrated to the United States in the 1890's. Also included is a photograph of Woodrow Wilson flanked by an honor guard at the Paris Peace Conference.
Ku Klux Klan Rally
A small body of photographs and videos, photographed by ADL members of the KKK rally in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 17, 1998
L. C. LeCompte Postcard Collection
Over 400 color postcards and postcard folders of Western North Carolina and the Southern States, mostly created and produced by the Asheville Postcard Company, between circa, 1913 and 1977
Luther McCurry Collection
A small collection of photographs of Asheville at the turn of the 20th century collected by the McCurry family.
Caroline and W. B. McEwen Collection (1904-1906)
1906 scrapbook with photographs of scenic Western North Carolina.
Mrs. Walter L. Massie Collection of Jesse Morris Photographs of Oteen Hospital
A photograph album of 375 photographs depicting life at Oteen Hospital, Oteen, NC, during the the period of WWI and beyond. The photographs were taken by Jesse Morris and others while Morris was working as a nurse in the hospital.
Mountain Dance and Folk Festival & Shindig on the Green Photographs
The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival (MDFF) is the nation's oldest folk festival. It grew out of the Rhododendron Festival and by 1930 it was an independent festival in Asheville, North Carolina.Today the annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival continues to feature musicians and dancers who characterize the music and dance of the Southern Appalachian region. This collection documents the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival and its subsidiary entertainment venue, the Shindig on the Green. This collection includes over 1,000 photographs, slides, pamphlets, and flyers from the Festival, mostly documenting the 1970s and 1980s.
William Patrick Mungo Photographic Collection
An on-line only collection of photographs and postcard photographs taken and collected by Mungo during his tour of military duty from Hawaii to the Philippines within the years of 1939 and 1940 as part of the 31st U.S Infantry, Company H. Also included are a small number of family photoos. Special Collections does not have any physical original materials which were retained by the family of William Patrick Mungo.
National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, NC
An on-line only historical overview of the National Climatic Data Center located in Asheville, NC that visually documents its location in the Grove Arcade building and subsequent move to the Federal Building.
National Forests in North Carolina Historic Photographs
A large (approx. 1900 images) photographic collection that documents the "Cradle of Forestry" and many of the National Forests of North Carolina. Many are availble online in the Southern Appalachian Digital Collections website.
W E Ogilvie Photographs
Ten framed prints of rural churches in western North Carolina, taken by W E Ogilvie III, probably during 1947 to 1949.
Overlook Castle Photograph Collection
A collection of nineteen photographic prints and negatives of Overlook Castle in Asheville, NC. The images generally date from the 1920s when the castle was used as a private residence
Laura Gasperson Peek Collection
A collection of twenty eight photographic prints showing farming in Big Sandy, just west of Asheville, NC, in 1999/2000. The images center on the Duckett family and their neighbors as they farm tobacco and raise cattle
Hans Curt Pfalzgraf Collection
Large format photographic prints of various scenes of Western North Carolina photographed by Pfalzgraf in the 1940's.
D.H. Ramsey Photographic Collection
One photo album of family photographs and travel photographs of D.H. Ramsey and family.
Isaiah Rice Photograph Collection
The Isaiah Rice Photograph Collection contains a sample of over 1000 photographs that document the African-American community in Asheville, NC, from the late 1950s through the early 1970s. The Isaiah Rice Collection provides an important photographic record of Asheville’s African-American Community in the middle of the 20th Century.
Ora Rives Collection
Album of 43 monochrome photographs recording a 1905 camping trip from Cedar Mountain to the Lake Toxaway area of North Carolina by the Rives and Hill families, and friends.
Holladay Collection of John G. Robinson Photographs
Over 2400 photographs believed to be the work of John Graham Robinson (1878-1923), and possibly his son John Graham Robinson Jr. (1908-1970), his wife Sarah (1876 - 1958), and other unidentified photographgers. Images show the Robinson family and friends, and Asheville and it's environs, in addition to other areas of the U.S., Europe and Asia. Also included are a number of postcards and documents collected by the Robinson's.
R. Henry Scadin Collection
Approximately 1300 glass photographic plates taken in the early 20th century in western NC, Vermont, Florida and Michigan. The majority of images are scenic views, but others show people, believed to the Scadin's immediate family, along with buildings, and industry. The collection also includes 48 diaries written between 1888 and 1928 descibing daily lives and events, a photo album, and other miscellaneous materials.
Phyllis Selzer Collection - Madison County Photographic History
A collection of photographic negatives and descriptions of twenty images portraying events and people in Madison County, NC, in the first half of the 20th century, primarily circa 1905 to 1930, although many images have not been dated. The subjects include former soldiers, education, social groups, events, and buildings.
D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections - Sundry Photographs
A small number of miscellaneous photographic negatives of unknown origin(s) and source(s). The materials generally cover the Asheville and Western North Carolina geographic area, with the exception of one series of negatives that cover an unidentified city. It is difficult to date many of the images, but they all seem be from the early 20th century. Some may be copies made of images in other collections within Special Collections.
U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station Collections
This collection of 3,249 photographs documents the work of the U.S. Forest Service Southeastern Forest Experiment Station in Asheville, NC. covering forests in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee, and activities from 1897 through 1952. Most of the photographs in this collection are technical in nature, and include the effects of timbering, grazing, erosion, and pollution on an area; forest growth patterns; forestry history, methods, and equipment; and historical data on land use. Logging and timber management in western North Carolina is included. Many are available online in the Southern Appalachian Digital Collections website. The collection is related to the National Forests in North Carolina Historic Photographs collection.
Photographs by Unidentified Photographer
Contains photographic negatives taken primarily during the 1950s and 1960s. The subjects covered (businesses, auto accidents, local events) suggest the work of a commercial photographer, possibly E M Ball, rather than an amateur. Geographically, the collection centers on Asheville and western North Carolina, but there are also some shots from Raleigh, NC.
Miniatures of Western North Carolina
Twenty-four small [1.5" x 2"] photographic prints of scenic views, and buildings in Asheville and Western N.C. The photos were likely taken in the late 1920s / early 1930s.