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The Southern Appalachian Archives, part of the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies, is located in Renfro Library on the campus of Mars Hill University in Mars Hill, The Southern Appalachian Archives is a collection of photographs and audio collections throughout local (Madison County), regional, and cultural history. The archive also houses collections in Western North Carolina Baptist history and history Mars Hill University. Some of the more notable collections include The Bascom Lamar Lunsford collection which contains scrap books, photographs, transcribed ballads and recordings. Also the James G. K. McClure Collection, which includes over 3,000 photographs documenting the history of the Farmers’ Federation along with the history of western North Carolina agriculture from the 1920s through the 1950s.


The Southern Appalachian Center at Mars Hill University was established in 1974 for the social and cultural preservation and renewal of the region. The Center was to give the people of the region and understanding or basis to construct the future. One function of the Appalachian Center was to collect and archive materials from the region to help establish the basis for a better future. In 1974 the Center was staffed with historians and scientist to work together in preserving the materials taken in by the archives. The archives would separate the materials into different section, some of these sections being the Southern Appalachian Oral History Program, the Southern Appalachian Photograph History, and the Mountain Music Archives.

Each of these sections was housed in the Appalachian Room of the Center which was located at the time in the Memorial library. Now the archive is a part of the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies and located in Renfro Library. This room is full of textbooks and other materials that the students and their professors can use to access the history of Appalachia. The Southern Appalachian Archives and the Appalachian Room are available to the community as well as the college residents. 

Mars Hill University Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies Dr. Karen Paar. Director, Ramsey Center Archivist, Southern Appalachian Archives
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