Welcome! We are a cultural repository that values education, research, creativity, and community engagement. We serve the general public and our university community as well as researchers from around the world. Our materials support scholarly research, local and family history, and a love of bluegrass, gospel, and old time music. The Archives maintains almost 10,000 linear feet of manuscripts and records, over 84,000 sound recordings, and nearly 8,000 moving images. In our Special Collections, we have almost 14,000 books and other printed materials related to the south-central Appalachian region. Our Reading Room is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and all material is housed onsite.
In April 1978, ETSU dedicated the new Institute for Appalachian Affairs and the Appalachian Room in Sherrod Library. The Appalachian Room held rare books and materials related to the region. On September 1, 1978, the Archives of Appalachia officially opened to promote an awareness of and appreciation for Appalachian culture and history. Foremost among those persons instrumental in establishing the Archives were ETSU professors Thomas Burton and Ambrose Manning whose Oral History Archives of Appalachian folklore, manners, and customs formed the core of the Archives' early collections.
In 1984, ETSU inaugurated the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services to provide a comprehensive resource for the study of Appalachian history and cultural heritage. The Center included the Institute of Appalachian Affairs, the Reece Museum, and the Archives of Appalachia. Under the direction of the Center, the Archives envisioned broad access to scholarly resources and focused on strengthening its collections to document the full spectrum of the southern Appalachian experience.
In 1998, the Archives moved to its present location on the fourth floor of the Charles C. Sherrod Library. By partnering with the library for increased space and digital resources, the Archives expanded its manuscript holdings, initiated a digital preservation program for unique and rare sound recordings, and extended educational and public services.
The mission of the Archives of Appalachia is to support original research, educational engagement, and artistic creativity that promotes an understanding of the Appalachian region. The Archives seeks to collect and preserve those records and papers of enduring value that document Appalachia’s history and cultural heritage and make those materials accessible to scholars, educators, students, and the general public. The Archives particularly seeks materials from the south-central Appalachian region including northeast Tennessee and bordering counties in eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia, and western North Carolina.