Update: Fall 2023
The Archives will be closed during the 2023/24 academic year and no archival services will be available. Inquiries can be directed by email to the Library Director.

The Warren Wilson College Archives was organized in 1968 under the presidency of Art Bannerman. The goal was, as it is today, to collect and preserve the historical materials about the college and its predecessor institutions: Asheville Farm School, the Asheville Normal and Teachers’ College, the Dorland-Bell School and the Mossop Schools. The records were first housed in Jensen Hall, and administered by volunteer Elsie Bender. She worked directly under the authority of the college president and with the guidance of an archives committee.

In 1985, the archives was moved from Jensen to the Martha Ellison Library, where a new wing included a separate archives area. In 1986, authority for the archives transferred from the college president to the library director. When the library was renovated and expanded in 1990s, the archives space increased by 40%; compact shelving allowed for more efficient use of the space.

As part of the renovation, the archives was rededicated on 8 October 1999 and named for Dr. Arthur S. Link, a renowned historian and trustee of the college. The new second room added to the archives was named to honor former library director Elizabeth Shepard (1973-1978) in November 1999.

Archivists who have served:
Elise Bender (volunteer): 1968-75, 1976-81
The Rev. Alcwyn L. Roberts (volunteer): 1975-76
Mary Dille & Martha Ellison (volunteers): 1981-86
Barbara Hempleman (First paid archivist): 1986-98
Dr. Linda Miles Coppens: 1998-2005
Diana Ruby Sanderson: 2005-2021


  • College Records

    The College Archives holds the records of the school from 1894 through the present. We have materials on college property and buildings, the farm, and academic departments. These include reports, plans, memos, correspondence, blueprints, maps, and drawings. We have papers of school presidents, deans, faculty and staff; these include reports, speeches, studies, writings, correspondence,and memos.

    Other administrative files provide information on the WWC work and service programs, the Boards of Trustees, financial matters, and long range planning.We have correspondence from the Board of National Missions officials and the Board’s legal files, and records of the college chapel, and papers on church and college relations.

    Printed materials include newsclippings from the 1940s through the present. Posters, brochures, and other graphics document concerts, theater, sports, lecture series, ceremonies and festivals. We also have promotional materials, yearbooks, catalogs, handbooks, directories, literary publications, school magazines and newsletters and administrative bulletins.

    We hold the archives of the Asheville Normal and Teachers College, a sister Presbyterian school established in 1882. These contain correspondence, newsclippings, yearbooks, student records, and photographs. We also have some records of the Mossop, TN and the Dorland-Bell (Hot Springs, NC) schools.

    The Congressional papers of James McClure Clarke (NC-10) are housed in the archives. Clark, an assistant to Presidents Bannerman and Holden, served in the United States House of Representatives from 1983-85 and 1987-1991.

    See below for digital copies of key works of Warren Wilson College History:

    • Toward Frontiers Yet Unknown: A 90th Anniversary History of Warren Wilson College. Banker, Mark T.

    • A History of Warren Wilson College.Jensen, Henry W. and Elizabeth G. Martin, Swannanoa, NC: Warren Wilson College. 1974.

  • Manuscripts

    The WWC Archives actively and enthusiastically seeks out and accepts the personal papers of faculty, staff, students, and alumni of WWC and its predecessor schools. While the archives is too small to accept everything one has written and/or saved over a lifetime, we can take samplings of:

    manuscripts of scholarly/creative works
    sound recordings
    scrapbooks, especially those documenting your time at WWC
    other types of records at the discretion of the archivist

  • Mountain Music Collection

    The Mountain Music Archives started as a project of the Appalachian Music Program by director David Holt in 1975. Holt began recording concerts and jam sessions with musicians of western North Carolina for whom traditional mountain music has been a life-long heritage. Under Holt’s leadership, he invited some of these musicians to Warren Wilson College for master classes, concerts and interviews. As some of the musicians were in their later years, the recordings made through the AMP are extremely rare; many of the musicians had never recorded albums, though they were considered to be virtuosi of their instrument.

    When Holt left the college in 1981, the 110 reel-to-reel and cassette tape recordings made by Holt and others, as well as donations of recordings from other aficionados of mountain music, found their way to the archives. A small crew of students arranged, described, and copied them. In 2002-03 student Andrew Pauley wrote a grant to underwrite the digitization of about 60% of the collection for the Digital Library of Appalachia. Clips of individual tracks from the digitized collection of the MMA can be found at the DLA.


    Music files from the MMA may be found on the Digital Library of Appalachia. Most of the recordings do not have artist release permissions attached to them. Many of the original artists are deceased and family cannot be located. If you have found a 30-second clip on the DLA then there is no copyright release. If you are the artist or the family member of an artist, please contact the Archivist for further information.
    • Full-length clips: A digital file may be sent to you via an online sending website. You will be required to sign a Digital File Release Agreement that states you will use the file for your personal use only. No commercial recordings or releases, even if you re-record it, may be gained from it. You may receive only one file.
    • Due to copyright protection, no full-length albums can be copied. You may come to the WWC Archives to listen to the recording on our equipment.
    • About 40% of the total MMA has been digitized. Under no circumstances can any original magnetic tape recordings be played.

  • Special Collections

    The Elizabeth Shepard Special Collections contains the library’s rare and special publications within the archives space. They include theses by graduates of the Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, and papers by students in honors and history seminars, and in interdisciplinary programs. There are also some published documentary works in American history, several early Bibles, and the American Guide Series, written and published under the aegis of the Federal Writers ‘ Project during the 1930s. Other books in the archives are publications by college staff, faculty, administrators and alumni; histories of the college, local and regional histories, guides to Western North Carolina, some items on the Presbyterian Church, and most of the published writings by the Rev. Dr. Warren H. Wilson. We also have a collection of original bird prints by John James Audubon and Albertina prints of original Dutch and German art masters.

    Natural Science Seminar Papers

  • Reference Policy

    The Arthur S. Link Archives of Warren Wilson College is open to all during the posted public hours and by appointment.

    Reference is limited to the history of Warren Wilson College and its associated institutions and very basic information about Presbyterian Church home missions in western North Carolina. Questions regarding the history of the Swannanoa Valley, western North Carolina or the Presbyterian Church in general will be referred to more appropriate archives and libraries that can answer those questions.
    Reference requests may be received via e-mail, telephone, letter and personal visit. Please call the Archives for the current public hours (which may change each semester) or check the website under Hours & Directions. Because the archivist is only on site for 20 hours per week, reference requests may take some time to be fulfilled. Also, reference requests from within the Warren Wilson community are filled before those of alumni and the general public.
    If you send a request by email, letter or phone, no more than 30 minutes may be devoted to research on that topic. If your request cannot be fulfilled in that allotted time, you may have to visit the archives to do the research in person.

    How reference findings can be sent to you:
    Ÿ• Photocopies will be sent of any text or photographic materials through the regular postal service. Please be sure to include a postal address in the e-mail or phone message.

    Ÿ• Photographs may be scanned and sent via e-mail (only 1-2 photos) or CDR. The number of photos may be limited, i.e. not every single photograph found. Photographs will be scanned at 300 dpi and saved/sent as a JPG file.

  • Collection Policy

    The Arthur S. Link Archives of Warren Wilson College primarily collects materials related to the history of the college and its predecessor institutions: the Asheville Farm School for Boys, the Asheville Normal and Teachers’ College (also known as the Home Industrial School and the Asheville Normal College); the Dorland-Bell School of Hot Springs, NC; the Mossop Schools, Mossop, TN.

    The records document the legal, administrative, cultural, and historical activities of these institutions. Materials may include text/paper documents, photographs, sound recordings, moving images, publications, oral histories, scrapbooks, and digital files. Of special value to the Archives are WWC publications, records of WWC student and faculty organizations and committees, office records, diaries, faculty publications, class notebooks, and photographs. Also of value are museum items such as items produced in the woodworking, textile, and print shops. In addition, the Archives welcomes donations of manuscript collections related to the history of the college.

    Secondary collecting includes documents related to Presbyterian home missions in western North Carolina, especially educational institutions, and the history of Riceville Valley. The Swannanoa branch of the Buncombe Library System and the Swannanoa Valley Museum in Black Mountain collect the history of Swannanoa and Black Mountain.

    At this time, we are unable to collect farm implements, biological items, and very large collections.

    If you would like to donate materials, please contact the Library Director at 828.771.3063 or by email.

  • Borrowing Materials

    Only in extremely rare cases will the Archives lend printed materials from the collection from within the WWC community. Unfortunately, we cannot send any materials to non-campus researchers. No archival materials—paper, photograph or sound recording—will be loaned for any reason.