Rare book collection

The Southern Pamphlet Collection

History of the Collection:

The pamphlets, brochures, and broadsides of this remarkably diverse collection of Southern Americana originated in and were removed from manuscripts collections as they were acquired and processed by the Southern Historical Collection (now part of the Manuscript Department in Wilson Library). While these print materials were subsequently housed in the Rare Book Collection (RBC), the catalog providing access to them remained in the Manuscripts Department until the mid-1970s, when it was relocated with the pamphlets. Since that time access has been through the catalog of the RBC. Although new pamphlets continue to be added, their numbers have declined greatly in recent years. The Manuscript Department now retains most printed materials that accompany new manuscript collections coming into the Southern Historical Collection.


The Southern Pamphlet Collection contains 10,718 pamphlets, brochures, and broadsides. They date from 1820 to the present with the bulk published between about 1850 and 1950. Reflecting the rich variety of the manuscript collections in which they originated, the pamphlets cover a broad range of subjects within the general context of the American South. Major topics include business and industry, the Civil War, education, folk music, public health, religion and churches, race relations, reformers and reform movements, slavery and the plantation system, travel literature, and women. While many of the publications are quite ephemeral in nature, they nonetheless provide an often unique documentation of local history in the South. Among the various genres represented, government documents, speeches, and sermons are particularly numerous. The pamphlets are drawn from or deal with all of the states of the Confederacy (except North Carolina) as well as many of the border states. Printed materials relating to North Carolina are housed in the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Library.


A Title IIC grant from the U.S. Department of Education permitted the complete recataloging of the collection between 1991 and 1993. As a result, the contents are now available through the UNC Library's on-line catalog (DRA), which provides full author, title, and subject access.

Description Created: June 25, 1999