Special CollectionsBetsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives
Lucinda Oakley Ogle (1909-2003) was born in Sevier County, Tenn., on Scratch Britches Mountain. Her father, Willey Oakley, had been known as “The Roaming Man of the Mountains” because he gave tours and told stories of his experiences in the Smoky Mountains. Lucinda herself would later be known for her storytelling, love of nature, and passion for preserving her family’s heritage through her short stories.
While the majority of Lucinda Ogle’s photograph collection contains images of her family, the folder highlighted in the teaching collection includes photographs of Gatlinburg and Cades Cove, dated circa 1927-2003.
Topics and Themes – Great Smoky Mountains National park, Southern Appalachia, history of East Tennessee, history of Gatlinburg, Appalachian people and groups, Appalachian culture, 20th century rural life, memoirs, storytelling
Laura Thornburgh (1885-1973), was born in Knoxville, Tenn. and graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1904. Thornburgh published several books on etiquette, education, psychology, and interior decorating. However, her devotion to the Great Smoky Mountains led to write her most well-known book, The Great Smoky Mountains, published in 1937.
The folder highlighted in the teaching collection includes photographs of mountain people and culture, dated early to mid-20th century.
Topics and Themes – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Southern Appalachia, history of East Tennessee, Appalachian people and groups, Appalachian culture, 20th century rural life, female authors, storytelling, recreation and travel
Philander P. Claxton (1862-1957) attended the University of Tennessee between 1880 and 1882. After serving as a superintendent, teacher and professor in schools and universities in North Carolina, he became a professor of education at the University of Tennessee in 1902. During this time he became head of the university’s first Department of Education and the superintendent of the Summer School of the South. Claxton would later become the Commissioner of Education of the United States (1911-1921), provost of the University of Alabama (1921-1923), superintendent of city schools in Tulsa, Okla. (1923-1929), and president of Austin Peay Normal School (later Austin Peay University) in Clarksville, Tenn. (1930-1946).
Between 1929 and 1930, Claxton took a hiatus to rest and write. The photographs highlighted are part of materials used for his writing. These photographs depict farming, lumbering, forestry, and railroads, dated 1920s.
Topics and Themes – Southern Appalachia, Appalachian industries, agriculture, 20th century rural life, Appalachian culture, manufacturing industries, transportation
The White Caps of Sevier County, Tennessee, were a vigilante group formed in approximately 1892 by citizens who wished to rid Sevier County of individuals (mostly women) whom they deemed lewd or adulterous. The White Caps were extremely popular between 1892 and 1896, until Laura and William Whaley were brutally murdered in front of their infant child in December of 1896. Because the Whaleys were generally considered poor but honest citizens of Sevier County, this event turned public opinion against the White Caps, and the group rapidly declined.
Donald Franklin Paine was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1939, and earned several degrees from the University of Tennessee. Currently, Paine practices law with Paine, Tarwater, and Bickers in addition to researching Tennessee’s legal history, writing a monthly column, and lecturing at UT and elsewhere.
This collection contains a variety of primary source information, including Correspondence, Photographs, Notes, Newspaper Articles, and Court Records. Series III: Newspaper Clippings, has articles that provide the reader with valuable insight into the general public’s view of the White Cap organization and the eventual punishment of convicted White Cap operatives. Series V: Court Records houses records relating to trials of White Caps operatives, specifically Bob Catlett, Pleas Wynn, and Catlett Tipton. These documents include chronologies, transcripts, opinions issued, and relevant legislation.
Topic and Themes – vigilante groups, court proceedings, murder trials, Southern Appalachia, Great Smoky Mountains
Available for instruction is also a Great Smoky Mountains/Appalachia Digital Teaching Collection that can be found here. The following Digital Collections are additional digitized Special Collections materials that may be relevant or useful to topic of Southern Appalachia, Appalachia, and The Great Smoky Mountains.
William Cox Cochran (1848-1936) was an Ohio lawyer, scholar and trustee of Oberlin College. He served in the U.S. Department of the Interior under his stepfather. Cochran studied law and opened a law office in Cincinnati, Ohio, later became a clerk of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
Cochran captured 89 photographs of East Tennessee during a visit to the area, August 12-30, 1886. These photographs depict East Tennessee mountain people and farms, as well notable landmarks, located in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Topics and Themes – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Southern Appalachia, Appalachian people and groups, Appalachian culture, agriculture, landscapes and scenery, 19th century rural life, architecture, history of East Tennessee, travel photography
The Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women founded the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School in 1912 in Gatlinburg, Tenn., as a service project to commemorate the fraternity’s 50th anniversary. The Pi Beta Phi schools provided free public education for Gatlinburg area students until Sevier County took over the schools’ operations in 1943. Pi Beta Phi would later focus on Arrowcraft, a shop established to sell local handicrafts, and Arrowmont, a permanent, year-round arts and crafts school.
The “From Pi Beta Phi to Arrowmont” Digital Collection features photographs, historical essays, letters, diaries, and scrapbooks documenting the settlement school, Gatlinburg, mountain life, culture, education, and crafts. These sources primarily date between the 1910s through the 1940s.
Topics and Themes – History of Gatlinburg, education, women in education, traditional handicrafts, public schools, settlement schools, history of East Tennessee, Southern Appalachia, Appalachian people and groups, Appalachian culture, 19th century rural life, 20th century rural life
Albert G. “Dutch” Roth was born in 1890 in Knoxville, Tenn. He began photographing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Greenbriar and Mount Le Conte sections in 1913. An avid hiker and photographer, Roth would bring his Kodak 122 camera with its heavy tripod and flash power to capture the Smokies’ vistas from unusual camera angles. In 1957, Roth retired from his job as a pipefitter and moved with his family to Gatlinburg, Tenn. He died in 1974.
Roth’s photographs were primarily taken while hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains before and after the national park was founded. His photographs depict hiking parties and Smoky Mountain locales, including images of cabins, dating from the 1920s through the 1940s. Also digitally available is Tales from the Woods, the personal journal of Albert G. “Dutch” Roth.
Topics and Themes – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Southern Appalachia, history of East Tennessee, landscapes and scenery, travel photography, architecture, Appalachian people and groups, Appalachian culture, recreation and travel, 20th century rural life
Postcards from The Great Smoky Mountains has been formed by selecting postcards from a variety of manuscript collections, primarily the Ridley Willis Postcard Collection (MS. 3781). The online collection contains souvenir accordion-style folders as well as the fronts and backs of individual postcards. Several prominent photographers, including Jim Thompson and Walter Cline, and Smoky Mountain residents like Jack Huff are represented in the collection. The images document prominent landmarks, geographic features, and man-made improvements such as roads complete with vintage automobiles.
Brothers James E. (Jim) and Robin Thompson were professional photographers based in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the early twentieth century. Jim’s photographs appeared in many contemporary publications extolling the beauty of the Smokies, including reports to the federal government urging the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This collection includes approximately 400 photographs held by four institutions that capture the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.
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