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Wylie Family Papers (Coll. #5082) Scope
Long at the center of inquiry into the history and culture of the American South, the Southern Historical Collection (SHC) is a vast collection of distinct archival collections. These collections are comprised of unique primary documents, such as diaries, journals, letters, correspondence, photographs, maps, drawings, ledgers, oral histories, moving images, albums, scrapbooks, and literary manuscripts.

The SHC offers strong documentation of all periods of southern history since the late eighteenth century:

  • the Antebellum plantation era;
  • the Civil War and Reconstruction;
  • the New South;
  • the Jim Crow South;
  • and the South since 1954.

Subject strengths include:

  • the American Civil War;
  • the Antebellum plantation era;
  • business;
  • the Civil Rights era;
  • communities;
  • family;
  • journalism;
  • labor;
  • literature;
  • politics;
  • race relations;
  • religion and religious communities;
  • slavery;
  • social activism;
  • and sociology.

For information on our current collecting activities, please review our Collection Development Policy.

The SHC is open for research in the Wilson Library on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus. Materials in the SHC are non-circulating.

Researchers mush register to use SHC materials, but no appointment is necessary. Please bring picture identification.

Manuscripts collecting at the University of North Carolina began with the work of the North Carolina Historical Society in 1844. The Society collected manuscripts until it ceased operation early in the twentieth century.

The University Library inherited the Society's holdings. By 1915, history professor Dr. J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton began inquiring about materials to add to the library's collection of historical manuscripts. By the mid-1920s, he was corresponding about his idea of establishing at Chapel Hill "a great library of Southern human records," and he traveled across the South in his "faithful Fords" seeking and acquiring materials.

The University officially established the Southern Historical Collection on 14 January 1930, with Dr. Hamilton as director. Sarah Graham Kenan provided an initial endowment. When Hamilton retired in 1951, the SHC held approximately 2,140,000 manuscript items. Today the total has grown to over 15 million items organized in more than 4,600 discrete collections.

For more information, please contact us at:

Southern Historical Collection
CB# 3926, Wilson Library
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27515-8890
Telephone: 919-962-1345
FAX: 919-962-4452
Inquiry Form: