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HIST 250- The Historian's Craft: Home

This guide will help you to understand the importance of of Historiography and will assist you in applying the latest methodology in conducting research in primary sources.

What Is Historiography?

Historiography is essentially the study of the history of history. In order for us (historians) to situate our research into the context of a particular topic, we need to know what the changing ideas (and why those ideas have changed) and approaches to that topic are and have been- this is the historiographic essay section of your paper. 

Head of Special Collections & University Archivist

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Gene Hyde
Special Collections, Ramsey Library
(828) 251-6645

Special Collections & Archives Access Spring 2023

  • Special Collections is open by appointment; please email to reserve a time.

  • Phones and cameras are allowed for taking pictures of any of the Special Collections materials.

  • Please do not bring food or drink into Special Collections.

Please contact us to make an appointment for the Reading Room or a Virtual Appointment.

(828)251-6645 or email us at


Using Special Collections

What are Special Collections?

Ramsey Library's Special Collections contain a variety of primary materials that document the history and culture of Asheville and Western North Carolina.  Materials include manuscript collections, photographs, maps, oral histories, company records, church and synagogue records, scrapbooks, and other materials. A list of collections available for research is available on the Home Page for Special Collections.

Special Collections also includes rare and small-press books and pamphlets with an emphasis on Asheville and the surrounding region.

How Do I Use Special Collections and Archives?

What can I expect to find in an Archive?

  • Archives and special collections can contain manuscript collections, personal papers, business records, photograph collections, oral histories, maps, audio and video recordings, rare books and periodicals, university and/or corporate records, and other sources. Because archives and special collections contain unique materials, each archive and special collection has its own distinct set of materials. Often an archive has a particular collection focus or concentration - for instance, UNCA's Special Collections concentrates on collecting materials related to Asheville and Western North Carolina, but there are exceptions to this general rule. For instance, we have a lot of materials related to World War I.

What is a "finding aid," and how do I use it?

  • Finding aids describe what you can expect to find in a collection. Finding aids will include such information as:
    • the title of the collection
    • a description of what's in the collection
    • information about the person or organization who created the collection
    • citation information
    • how big the collection is (sometimes called "extent" and stated in linear or cubic feet)
    • a list of what is in each box in the collection (sometimes called "container list" or "collection inventory")
  • Here's an example of a finding aid, in this instance for the Julian Price Papers and Recordings in UNCA's Special Collections.
    • Finding aids can look different and have variations on the types of information in them. This is another, older finding aid for the Upper French Broad Defense Association from UNCA's Special Collection. While it looks different it still has the same basic information.

Special Collections and Assistant Archivist

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Ashley McGhee Whittle
205C Ramsey Library, CPO #1500
UNC Asheville
One University Heights
Asheville, NC 28804