Appalachian Resources in Special Collections and University Archives: Home
About the Guide
This guide is designed to help researchers locate resources in Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) relating to Appalachia generally, as well as about specific topics. There are also links to other collections both analog and digital available online and from other institutions. This guide does not contain all of the materials in SCUA related to Appalachia, but is intended to be a helpful starting point for researchers.
This guide is broken up into sections by topic. Under each topic tab you will find links to resources including books, manuscript collections, and media. The "Digital/Online Resources" section contains links to digital paper collections, A/V and oral history collections, and search tools for primary sources and keywords. Digital and A/V materials related to a specific topic can be located under each topic section.
Rather than just one collection, this guide uses many different source materials from across the archives. If you are interested in learning more about a specific collection or have any questions, don't hesitate to contact a staff member for help or suggestions!
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What is Appalachia?
"Appalachia" refers to a region in the eastern United States, named for its weathered mountain system. The Appalachian mountains stretch from New York to Mississippi, but definitions on what "is" Appalachia are constantly changing. The topography of the mountains is not the only way the boundaries of Appalachia are determined; politics, economics, and culture all play a role in determining what is and isn't Appalachia. Commonly, definitions of Appalachia include areas in and near the mountain range in Alabama, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and all of West Virginia. Occasionally, parts of Mississippi, Maryland, and New Jersey are included. The cultural "core" region (where the ties to the history, culture, economy, and mountain land are considered strongest) generally includes northern Georgia, eastern Kentucky, western North Carolina, east Tennessee, southwestern Virginia, and West Virginia. This definition of a core region is not to exclude those who identify with Appalachia or as Appalachians, but to provide researchers with a starting point.
These definitions, and further information on how they can change, can be found in the introduction of the Encyclopedia of Appalachia.
Special Collections has well over 1,000 manuscript collections with content relating to Appalachia. You can search for these collections and view their finding aids here. This is more helpful if you already have a specific topic in mind, such as education in Appalachia or a particular region.
All of our books relating to the Appalachian region or Appalachian people can be found using the library's catalog. Most of our books will be in Special Collections, but a few may also be located in Newman Library. To find books generally relating to Appalachia, you can search "Appalachia" or "Appalachian" in the keyword form.
Special Collections has begun digitizing many of our manuscripts. These digitized items can be found at Special Collections Online. You can search for collections or individual items. The search box in the upper right corner of Special Collections Online can be used to find more general keywords relating to Appalachia.