Photo by Edward DuPuy, courtesy of Southern Highlands Craft Guild and WCU Hunter Library
The ‘Cherokee Traditions’ website includes this image of woodcarver Watty Chiltoskie at the 1953 Craftsman’s Fair in Asheville.
Individuals with an interest in the region’s past can now search two new online archives devoted to Cherokee culture and the evolution of travel in Western North Carolina courtesy of Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library.
“Travel Western North Carolina” includes images and commentary about 27 towns and communities in WNC over five decades. The site allows users to follow a route along footpaths and wagon trails in the 1890s, take a train ride in the 1910s, and drive by car along mountain roads in the 1930s. Each “stop” includes a description of the community and excerpts from primary documents of the time, including newspapers, letters and guides. The site is online at wcu.edu/library/DigitalCollections/TravelWNC.
“Cherokee Traditions: From the Hands of Our Elders” unites information about Cherokee basketry, pottery, woodworking and more and includes information about artisans and archival photos. The “From the Hands of Our Elders” pages grew from a grant-funded, multi-institutional project that also saw the creation of two guides to Cherokee basketry and pottery. The site is online at wcu.edu/library/DigitalCollections/CherokeeTraditions.
Both new collections formerly were elements within Hunter Library’s “Craft Revival: Shaping Western North Carolina Past and Present” website, a research-based site that documents an effort to revive handcraft in the western region of the state in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
George Frizzell, head of special collections, coordinated the “Travel in WNC” collection and hopes visitors to the site to come away with an understanding that the WNC region changes and adapts like any other. “I hope it shows people that this area changed with the arrival of new technologies, and that with the arrival of the railroad and automobile, the infrastructure was revised and revamped, and people acknowledged the impact on the economy,” he said.
For a list of all Hunter Library’s digital collections, visit wcu.edu/library/DigitalCollections.