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Archives & Special Collections

Black Mountain College

Black Mountain College 

This collection was purchased by North Carolina Wesleyan University after the closure of Black Mountain College in 1957. It is a collection of items from the college's library as well as works by and about people who were connected with Black Mountain College. Vincent Chip Larkin, Instruction & Assessment Librarian, is the curator of the Black Mountain College Collection. Professor Emeritus Dr. Leverett T. Smith, long-time curator of the collection, continues to support and guide library staff in managing the collection.

Littleton College Collection

Littleton College

Littleton College opened in 1882 as "Central Institute for Young Ladies" and operated until it was destroyed by fire in 1919. It was chartered "for the purpose of maintaining a school of high grade near the town of Littleton, in the county of Warren, for the intellectual, moral, and religious development and training of young ladies...".  The college was located on 22 acres in the town of Littleton. In 1888, the name was changed to Littleton Female College and in 1911 to Littleton College. Under the leadership of President James Manly Rhodes, the college grew, and in the early 1900’s more than 200 students enrolled each year. On January 22, 1919, a fire destroyed the college which was never rebuilt.

The Littleton College Memorial Association held their annual reunions at NC Wesleyan for many years. A collection of Littleton College memorabilia donated by the group to NC Wesleyan is housed in the Hardee-Rives Room in the library.

The Littleton College Collection includes college catalogs, yearbooks, literary magazines, and photographs and other memorabilia such as diplomas and even graduation dresses.  Some of the college catalogs, yearbooks and literary magazines have been digitized and are available online through DigitalNC


To access other materials in the Littleton College Collection, speak to a library staff member or call (252) 985-5350.

The above picture is from NCpedia.

Tar Heel Maps

Old NC Map

This collection of maps of North Carolina was presented to the college by Gregory Williams, a 1975 graduate of NC Wesleyan who also served on the Board of Trustees for a number of years. It includes maps printed between 1590 and 1995 and is housed with the University Archives. Williams collaborated with his former professor, Allen S. Johnson on a catalogue, Tar Heel Maps: Colony and State, 1590-1995. Dr. Johnson was Professor Emeritus of History and Geography at NC Wesleyan and was a distinguished member of the faculty for over 40 years.

The map above is from the book Tar Heel Maps: Colony and State, 1590-1995.

Smith Collection of the New American Writing

The Leverett Tyrrell and Eleanor Hoyt Smith Collection of the New American Writing

A special collection of books related to the subject of the New American Writing, an approach to writing developed, among many other places, at Black Mountain College in the 1950s with Charles Olson, the college’s last Rector, considered a central figure in the movement.  The collection features work by Olson, his students (including Jonathan Williams, Joel Oppenheimer, Edward Dorn, Fielding Dawson, and Michael Rumaker), as well as other prominent New American writers such as Robert Creeley, Paul Metcalf, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Anselm Hollo.   

The Collection has three interlocking areas: Ancestors, the New American Writing, and Descendants, the focus being on the New American Writing. The New American Writing is perhaps best described in the introduction to Donald Allen’s The New American Poetry (1960). There he divides the poets into “five large groups, though these divisions are somewhat arbitrary and cannot be taken as rigid categories”: the Black Mountain Group, the San Francisco Renaissance, the Beat Generation, the New York School, and a fifth category of Miscellany. A list of authors and titles is linked below, using these groupings. At present this collection comprises some 500 volumes.

This non-circulating reader’s collection was assembled by Professor Emeritus Leverett T. Smith, Jr. and donated to the college in honor of his parents Leverett Tyrrell and Eleanor Hoyt Smith, with cataloging and shelving funded through the Eleanor Hoyt Smith Memorial Fund.  It is housed in the Hardee-Rives Room; for access to the collection please contact Chip Larkin at or the library at  To find Smith Collection books in our library catalog, use the advanced search, on the drop down select “local call number” and “begins with” and put “Smith” in the search box.

Included as sub-collections within the Smith Collection are The Books of the North Carolina Wesleyan College Press, copies of the 32 books and pamphlets published by the press between 1987 and 1995, and A Michael Rumaker Collection, a group of 45 works comprising books by Michael Rumaker, journals and anthologies with appearances by Rumaker, translations of his work, and miscellaneous titles. Many of the books in these two sub-collections are signed by the authors and some have inscriptions to Professor Smith.