University of Tennessee, Knoxville librarians Anne Bridges and Ken Wise are among the top 100 most influential people in the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, according to the Great Smoky Mountains Association. Bridges and Wise were named in a special edition of Smokies Life Magazine that commemorates the Centennial of the National Park Service.
Bridges and Wise are honored for “providing unmatched accessibility to Smokies-specific resources for researchers and writers.”
Bridges and Wise are co-directors of the Great Smoky Mountains Regional Project (GSMRP), a program of the UT Libraries. GSMRP collects and preserves materials on the Great Smoky Mountains regions of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina to serve the research needs of the academic community and the general public.
The two librarians frequently share their expert knowledge of the Great Smoky Mountains at community talks and through the project’s newsletter, the Great Smoky Mountains Colloquy. They also select visual materials from the UT Libraries’ collections to be digitized and made available online. The UT Libraries’ digital collections include early photographs of the Smokies, Smoky Mountains Hiking Club handbooks, and the memoirs of John W. Oliver, a longtime resident of Cades Cove.
Bridges and Wise are the editors (along with Russ Clement) of Terra Incognita: An Annotated Bibliography of the Great Smoky Mountains, 1544-1934, the most comprehensive bibliography of sources related to the Great Smoky Mountains ever created. Database of the Smokies, available for free on the GSMRP website, brings the bibliography up to date.
“We’re extremely proud that Anne and Ken were singled out for this honor,” said Steve Smith, dean of libraries at UT. “They have been working tirelessly for the past decade to preserve and share information on the historical, cultural, and natural treasures of the Smokies region.”
Among the notables profiled in “Smokies Heroes: The 100 Most Influential People in the History of Great Smoky Mountains National Park” are men and women who promoted creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, such as Horace Albright and Anne Davis; individuals whose names grace prominent features of the Smokies landscape, such as Arno Cammerer (Mount Cammerer) and Charlie Conner (Charlies Bunion); and present-day Park staff who work to conserve Park resources.