Our Collections

The North Carolina Collection at Pack Library is a fully cataloged collection of published materials reflecting history, literature and life in Western North Carolina. Within the collection there is a particular emphasis on material relating to Asheville and Buncombe County.

Our online database contains an inventory of historic photographs and documents from the North Carolina Collection at Pack Memorial Library. We have over 1000 images and items that document the history of Asheville and Western North Carolina available online. The collection is only partially online now, but images and other research aides are being added as they become available.

In addition to a wide variety of books relating to the history of WNC, the North Carolina collection also includes:

  • Photographs
  • Historic documents
  • Genealogies
  • Postcards
  • Maps
  • Oral Histories
  • Microfiche of local newspapers

You may also access Heritage Quest, a leading online resource for genealogy data thru Buncombe County Public Libraries. You will need to enter your library card number (all 13 digits with no spaces) to access the database online. 

Book Collection

The personal library of Dr. F. A. Sondley, considered one of the finest private collections in the South, forms the nucleus of this collection. It covers the history and culture of Western North Carolina and includes general reference books relating to all of North Carolina.

Photograph & Postcard Collection

Over 12,000 photographs and 4,000 postcards showcase the buildings, streets, people and events of Asheville, including numerous 19th century views. Highlights include the William H. Barnhill Photograph Collection of Appalachian mountain people and the Robert Fortune.  Collection of more than 4,000 slides. Photographs and postcards have been cataloged and are accessible through our online database.

Manuscript Collection

This collection documents the history of Asheville and Buncombe County through family, institutional and business papers, and the records of local government agencies. The collection emphasizes the development of Western North Carolina first as a health resort, especially during the tuberculosis era, and then as a tourist center.

Map Collection

Over 500 maps show the development of Asheville and Buncombe County from the 1880s to the present day. These include plans, surveys and maps of the Great Smokies National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, original NC maps, topographic maps, and reproductions of maps from 1709 to the present.  Hiking trails for state and national parks are also included.

Thomas Wolfe Collection

A major collection of Wolfe materials, it is especially strong in first editions of Wolfe’s books, as well as published articles and reviews, photographs, family recordings, correspondence, and newspaper clipping files. The collection’s focus is Wolfe’s connection to Asheville.


The North Carolina Room contains many genealogical resources, including census records, cemetery indexes, birth, death and marriage indexes, family files, books regarding individual families, various North Carolina county histories and records, and online databases such as Ancestry and Heritage Quest.

Architectural Drawing Collection

Drawn predominantly from the work of Six Associates, an Asheville firm that became one of the most respected modern design firms in the Southeast, drawings include work by Anthony Lord, Henry Gaines and Ronald Greene. The collection also contains some prominent early 20th century Asheville architects, such as William H. Lord, Charles N. Parker and William East, as well as a growing collection of contemporary architects.

Additional Resources

• Asheville City Directories, 1883 to present

• Microfilm of the Asheville Citizen-Times and other newspapers with daily coverage beginning in 1890 and miscellaneous dates beginning in 1844

• Newspaper Clipping Files arranged by subject with a complete index

• Oral Histories

• Biographical Clipping Files and index

• Indexed list of Asheville photographers

• Indexed list of Asheville historical buildings

• Indexed list of Asheville architects and their buildings

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