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HIST 451 - Senior Seminar Prep: Primary Source Material and Thesis Ideas: Home

Your one stop shop for online sources for your Senior Capstone.

Special Collections & Archives Access Spring 2024

  • Special Collections is open Monday-Thursday, 9-4, by Appointment.
  • Please contact us one week in advance of your required appointment day/time.
  • Email is the best way to contact us for an appointment and will garner the quickest response.
  • We are also happy to make Zoom appointments for general research questions and help.

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

(828)251-6645 or email us at


Citing Primary Sources in Chicago/Turabian Style

UNCA's Special Collections, in collaboration with UNCA History Faculty, developed this guide to citing primary sources in Chicago/Turabian style:

Guide to Citing Primary Sources

What are 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. IE: We have a lot of materials related to World War I, although not necessarily related to this area.

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