Monday, November 17, 2014

Celebrating the scholarship of Sam Schuman, UNC Asheville’s Third Chancellor

Samuel Schuman, who passed away on November 11, is best known at UNC Asheville as the university’s third chancellor.  He also served as chancellor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, a fellow COPLAC school. In addition to his legacy as an academic administrator Dr. Schuman was a professor of language and literature and an accomplished scholar.

Sam Schuman while serving as Chancellor of UNC Asheville
Special Collections is honoring Dr. Schuman’s scholarship with an exhibit of his published books. Additionally, Special Collections has recently digitized Dr. Schuman’s recently published pamphlet, COPLAC - The Evolution of A Vision: 1987-2014. This succinct history of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges was published by COPLAC earlier this year. You can read Dr. Schuman’s history of COPLAC by clicking here.

Dr. Schuman received his BA from Grinnell College, his MA from San Francisco State University, and his PhD from Northwestern University. He was a literature scholar and published a number of articles on William Shakespeare and Vladimir Nabokov.  He was also interested in the academy and published a number of articles and books on various issues related to higher education, including pedagogy, tenure, and honors students. He was an avid athlete, at one time writing a column about jogging, and on several occasions incorporating running metaphors in the titles of his articles.

A sample of of the Dr. Schuman’s books on display:

Nabokov’s Shakespeare (Bloomsbury, 2014)

Seeing the Light: Religious Colleges in Twenty-First Century America (Johns Hopkins, 2010)

Old Main: Small Colleges in Twenty-First Century America (Johns Hopkins, 2005)

If Honors Students Were People: Holistic Honors Education (National Collegiate Honors Council, 2013)

From the program for "The Installation of Samuel Schuman as Chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Asheville, April 24, 1992" 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Selections from the William T. Kirkman Collection: Celebrating North Carolina Archives Month

October is "Archives Month" in North Carolina, and this year's theme is “North Carolina at Play: Health and Leisure in Our State." Given that outdoor recreation is extremely popular in Western North Carolina, we thought we'd celebrate by featuring photographs from the William T. Kirkman Photography Collection.  Kirkman was an Asheville native and avid hiker. He joined the Carolina Mountain Club (CMC) in 1941 and remained active with the club for over 50 years.  He was also an accomplished photographer and began taking photos of CMC events in the 1940s.

Photo of Kirkman from the exhibit on display in Ramsey Library
Kirkman's photos document hikers on trails throughout Western North Carolina, and the Kirkman Collection contains over a thousand black & white prints, color prints, and 35mm slides. The earliest photos in the collection date from the 1940s, and several of the 1940s-era photos are included in this blog and in an accompanying exhibit in Ramsey Library at UNC Asheville.

The Carolina Mountain Club was active in the development and maintenance of the Appalachian Trail in the Asheville area.  The photo below dates from 1948 and shows a CMC crew working on the AT at Devil's Fork Gap.

Trail maintenance on the Appalachian Trail in 1948.
Kirkman's photos often capture hikers enjoying the outdoors and the pleasure of each others' company, as the following photos indicate.

Having fun on the trail, c. 1940.

Smiling on a long staircase.
A brief stop on the trail.
Kirkman often framed his hikers amidst the natural beauty that is Western North Carolina. We're so taken by some of his photographs that we used Kirkman's photo of hikers with mountains behind them as the background for our Special Collections & University Archives logo (see above).  Some of the following photos showcase the mountain landscape as well as hikers.

Winter hikers on an unknown mountaintop.
Walking alone

Resting on a rocky ledge.

In addition to the William Kirkman Photography Collection, UNC Asheville also has the official records and historic papers of the Carolina Mountain Club. Look for another post later this month as we continue to celebrate hiking in Western North Carolina as part of North Carolina Archives Week! 

Until then, Happy Trails!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

History of the University of North Carolina at Asheville now available online.

William Highsmith
Former Chancellor William Highsmith’s history of UNC Asheville, The University of North Carolina at Asheville: The First Sixty Years, was originally published in a limited run in 1991. Thanks to the NC Digital Heritage Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, a digitized copy of Highsmith’s history is now available online through the Digital NC website. You can access it via this link.

William Highsmith brought a wealth of personal experience to this history, having spent 22 years as the chief administrative officer at the institution.  He was hired as President of Asheville-Biltmore College in 1962, which at the time had the distinction of being the first state-supported Community College in North Carolina. Under Highsmith’s direction the college grew into a four-year liberal arts university and joined the UNC system as the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Highsmith became UNC Asheville’s first Chancellor and held that position until his retirement in 1984.  

After his retirement  Highsmith settled into his new life as Chancellor Emeritus and Professor of History and began work on his history of the University.  He conducted research and dictated an extensive narrative, but at the time of his death in July 1987 the history was incomplete. After his death the manuscript was edited and revised by his widow, Allene Highsmith, and Chris Streppa, then Director of Publications at UNC Asheville.  The book was published by UNC Asheville in 1991 and now has a new life on DigitalNC.

Cover of the 1991 print edition
University Archives in Ramsey Library has copies of Highsmith's original narrative, notes on the posthumous editing process, working drafts of the revised copy, correspondence related to the publication of the completed book, and the final print edition of The University of North Carolina at Asheville: The First Sixty Years.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

New in Special Collections: the E. E. Brown Photography Collection

Special Collections recently acquired a 19th century photograph album from photographer Edward Elmer (E.E.) Brown, thanks to a generous donation by Brown's granddaughter.  E. E. Brown was an Ohio native and professional photographer who was hired by the Western North Carolina Railroad to take photographs of Asheville and Western North Carolina. Brown enjoyed the Asheville area so much that he moved here, eventually operating the Lindsey & Brown photography studio in the 1890s with his partner Thomas H. Lindsey.

Asheville from Sunset Drive

The E. E. Brown Photography Collection contains Brown's personal photo album, complete with a handwritten 1883 inscription inside the front cover.  Each of the album's 46 pages includes one, two, and sometimes three photographs. As you can see from the images in this post, Brown often added captions to the photographs.

South Main Street, Asheville

Brown took his camera all around Western North Carolina, photographing street scenes in Asheville, various places along the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers, a number of railroad scenes, as well as waterfalls and landscapes. The collection also includes biographical information about E. E. Brown supplied by his granddaughter, Eleanore Brown, who donated the collection to Ramsey Library's Special Collections. 

Battery Park Hotel

While his skills as a photographer brought him to Western North Carolina, eventually Brown's professional interests took another turn. He built a house on Oak Street in Asheville and started a florist business, later moving his greenhouse to Murdock Street. When he retired from the florist business he sold it to Middlemount Florist.

Marshall, NC
You can read more about E. E. Brown in the Brown Photography Collection finding aid, and view over 60 of his photos on the Western North Carolina Heritage website. An exhibit featuring 15 photos from the collection is on display on the top floor of Ramsey Library, in the gallery space outside of Special Collections.

French Broad River from Richmond Hill

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Historic UNC Asheville student newspapers available online through DigitalNC

Over 500 issues of UNC Asheville student newspapers are now available online through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center's website. These digitized newspapers date back to 1935, when UNC Asheville was called Biltmore College and the student paper was The Highlander. 

April 1935 issue of The Highlander,
the student paper of Biltmore College

For the last three decades, UNC Asheville students have written, edited, published, and read The Blue Banner, UNC Asheville's student paper since 1984. Before it was called The Blue Banner, the student newspaper had no fewer than five different titles.  Many of these student newspapers (sporting all their various titles)  are available through the website, including:

You'll note that some years appear to be missing from the above list. Not all papers have been digitized for DigitalNC yet. This is an ongoing project and more will be completed over the course of the next year or so. The dates listed above indicate what has been digitized to date.

In addition to the student newspapers mentioned above, also includes a few other UNC Asheville publications, including The Bulldog Barker (2002-2005), an entertainment guide published by the Office of Student Life,  as well as  The Rag and Bone Shop (1979-1981), an art and literary magazine.  There is also one issue of the UNC-A Free Press, an "underground" newspaper from 1974 published by students.

DigitalNC also digitized UNC Asheville's yearbooks. You can view them via this link. 

This digitization project is a collaborative project between UNC Asheville's Archives and Special Collections and the Digital Heritage Center at UNC Chapel Hill. The original copies of all these publications are housed in the Archives in Ramsey Library.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Celebrating the work of our Special Collections Interns!

During the Spring Semester Special Collections was abuzz with the work of three gifted interns from the UNC Asheville History Department. Tasmin Milner and Chase Newsom collaborated to reprocess and create a new finding aid for the Irwin Monk Papers, while Joshua Dacey reprocessed and created a new finding aid for the Frank Coxe Papers. Chase Newsom also created a new finding aid for the Tench Coxe Collection.  Their work with these collections adds more descriptive detail and brings the collections' content into new focus, providing better information for researchers wishing to use these collections.

The Irwin Monk Papers include documents, correspondence, military records, legal documents, and other materials that were donated by the family of Irwin Monk. Monk was an Asheville native, a friend of Thomas Wolfe (who showed up in a cameo role in Look Homeward Angel), an attorney, and a veteran of World War I. He was an active member of the American Legion and Buncombe County Bar Association. The Monk  collection includes materials from his service in the Signal Corps in WWI, including US Army maps that show trench positions.

Frank Coxe (1839-1903) was an executive with the Western North Carolina railroad. He moved to Asheville in 1881, where he purchased land and built the Battery Park Hotel. Between his interests in the WNC Railroad and his development of the Battery Park, Coxe was a major force in the early development of tourism in Asheville. The Frank Coxe Papers include early documents about the Coxe family, correspondence and business records related to the construction and management of the Battery Park Hotel, scrapbooks and account books, photographs, and other materials.

The interns also created exhibits for the cases outside of Special Collections, located on the top floor of Ramsey Library. Tasmin Milner and Chase Newsom created an exhibit based on materials from the Irwin Monk Collection, while Joshua Dacey applied his personal interest in stringed instruments by researching and creating an exhibit based on the banjo and dulcimer making brothers, Wade & Wayne Martin. The exhibits will be up through mid-August. Drop by Special Collections and take a look at the fine work done by our interns!

Irwin Monk exhibit (left) and Martin brothers instrument exhibit (right)

Information about the Marin Family musical instrument collection.
Handmade banjo and dulcimers in the exhibit.
Information about the Irwin Monk Papers exhibit.

World War I materials on display from the Irwin Monk Papers.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Images from the D. Hiden Ramsey Collection

As befits the first post on this new blog from Special Collections at UNC Asheville’s D. Hiden Ramsey Library, we’ll take a look at some images from the D. Hiden Ramsey Collection at UNC Asheville.

Ramsey was raised in Asheville and attended the University of Virginia, receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics in 1912-13.  In 1920 he joined the Asheville Citizen newspaper staff as an associate editor, beginning a career in journalism that culminated as general manager of the Asheville Citizen-Times from 1930-1954.  The library at UNC Asheville is named after Ramsey.

Weaving through Ramsey’s career was an ongoing love of the Appalachian mountains, and his collection includes pamphlets and photographs testifying to that effect. Some of these images are below.

A group of people picnicking at Craggy Gardens, 1911

Ramsey's collection includes several Great Smoky Mountain tour guides.

"Cedar Cliff, 1915" One of the many sepia images in a photo album from the Ramsey Collection.

One of several issues of the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club Handbook in the collection.

This photo has the curious caption "Ego - Sawyers 1913"

"Greybeard 1914" - D. Hiden Ramsey,  pensive pipe smoker man in repose.

"Bear Hunters," c. 1915
The Ramsey Collection contains speeches, correspondence, articles by and about Ramsey, photographs, and transcriptions of a series of local history lectures Ramsey delivered at Asheville-Biltmore College (the precursor to UNC Asheville) in 1962. These lectures reveal a deep knowledge of Western North Carolina history, delivered with a journalist's snappy style and an understated wit.  Part of the history of Asheville includes the 1916 flood, as documented in the following photo:

The 1916 flood engulfs Asheville's National Casket Company.