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The Archives of Appalachia is a repository for memories — the written words, images, and sounds that document life in southern Appalachia. We steward nearly two miles of manuscripts, 250,000 photographs, 90,000 audio and moving image recordings, and 14,000 books. More than 4,000 visitors from ETSU and around the globe utilize our collections each year for scholarly and creative projects. Our Reading Room is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
In April 1978, ETSU dedicated the 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. ETSU professors Thomas Burton and Ambrose Manning's Oral History Archives of Appalachian folklore, manners, and customs formed the core of the Archives' early collections.
In 1984, ETSU inaugurated the Center of Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services to provide a comprehensive resource for the study of Appalachian history and culture. 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.