D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives

Samuel Robinson Papers

Summary Information

UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives
Samuel Robinson Papers
Date [inclusive]
3.5 Linear feet
Physical Description
Includes business and personal correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and realia
Located in Special Collections, Row 7 Section 2, and lateral file drawer

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Samuel Robinson Papers, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville

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Biographical Note

Samuel Robinson (b.1891, d. December 22, 1973) was an Asheville optometrist, engineer and civic leader.

A leader in environmental issues, Robinson was an active member of the Carolina Mountain Club. In 1961 he instigated the naming of a peak in the Great Smoky Mountains for George Masa, a founder of the Carolina Mountain Club and a noted photographer. Robinson was a local Boy Scout leader for more than 25 years, was a member of the national council of the Boy Scouts of America, and worked to integrate the black scouting movement within the Daniel Boone Council. He worked for the American Forestry Association, the [Asheville] Metropolitan Planning Board, and was an active member of Temple Beth Ha-Tephila in Asheville for 58 years.

Robinson performed his own optometry laboratory work, and strove to raise standards within the optometry profession, lecturing at professional meetings on difficult optometric problems, on complexities of prisms, and on his own method of glaucoma therapy.

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Scope and Contents

Documents and photographs collected by, or about, Dr. Samuel Robinson, an optometrist who worked in Asheville in the mid 20th century. Although a small amount of business correspondence is included, most is personal, including a number of condolence letters sent after Robinson's death. Three scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and other items cover Robinson's education in Texas, his years in Asheville, and his interest in hiking, and there are also a small number of photographs, membership cards and professional certificates/licenses. The collection also includes a small book of notes by Robinson describing important aspects of his life.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives

Ramsey Library, CPO # 1500
One University Heights
Asheville, North Carolina, 28804-8504


No restrictions. Any display, publication, or public use must credit the D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.


Samuel Robinson

Addendum materials donated by Leah R Karpen in 2005

Processing Information

Originally processed by Special Collections staff, 1996, 2005, and reprocessed Jess Furst, January 2014. Minor processing and new finding aid by Colin Reeve, January 2018

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Collection Inventory

Box 1 - Documents and Photographs 

Folder 1: "Scissor Snips" 

Scrapbook of clippings, ephemera, and handwritten articles from Robinson's times at Ball High School, Galveston, and the University of Texas, (1904 - 1922) 

Folder 2: Correspondence and Articles 

"A Creed for the Individual," n.d. 

Letter to Mrs. Jacobson, May 9, 1945. 

Dedication of tablets to memory of Dr. Moses P. Jacobson, speech delivered by Dr. Samuel Robinson, November 3, 1950. 

The Jewish Layman: The Temple Brotherhood Monthly (photocopy), February 1936. 

"The Temple Brotherhood - Its Opportunity for Adult Jewish Education," by Dr. Samuel Robinson, n.d. 

An account of travel in Canada, n.d. (First two pages missing) 

"What am I doing about anti-Semitism?" n.d. 

Article (photocopy), "Theory of Sound Optometric Economics," by Samuel Robinson, O.D., from the Optical Journal and Review of Optometry, October 1, 1947. 

Talk delivered by Dr. S. Robinson at Memorial Services at Beth Ha-Tephila Cemetery, Asheville, N.C., Sunday October 3, 1954. 

Article (photocopy), "The Future of Optometry - How To Shape It?" by Samuel Robinson, O.D., in The Optometric Weekly, May 26, 1966. 

Article (photocopy), "The 'Sears' of Britain--and more," in Business Week, February 8, 1954. 

Folder 3: Letters, family history, and photographs 

Letter of condolence from Roy A. Taylor to Mrs. Samuel Robinson, January 7, 1974. 

"Resolution In Memoriam of Dr. Samuel Robinson," February 19, 1974. 

Letter from Carl D. Hunter, Daniel Boone Council, Inc., Boy Scouts of America, to Mr. and Mrs. Karpen, January 17, 1974. 

Invitation to the dedication of the Dr. Samuel Robinson Self-Service Supply Center at Daniel Boone Council Headquarters in Asheville, November 18, 1974. 

Contribution card, American Optometric Foundation, n.d. 

Handwritten letter of condolence from Rabbi Samuel A. Friedman to Mrs. Samuel Robinson, December 23, 1973. 

Letter of condolence from Jack R. Maguire, the Ex-Students' Association of the University of Texas, to Mrs. Samuel Robinson, January 22, 1974. 

Letter of condolence from Rabbi Richard S. Sternberger to Mrs. Samuel Robinson, January 24, 1974. 

Handwritten poem of condolence from granddaughter Jude, n.d. 

Letter of condolence from John S. Stevens, Attorney at Law, to Mrs. Samuel Robinson, December 28, 1973. 

Handwritten timeline of activities and appointments, May 1957-September 1973. 

Handwritten list of additional chronological notes. 

Handwritten letter (photocopy) to Leah, Eva, Morris, Fada, Dick, Elliott, and Michael, February 19, 1951. 

Newspaper clipping, "Litter Along Forest Trail Is Criticized," by Samuel Robinson, n.d. 

Magazine clipping, "Dr. Samuel Robinson," by Arch Nichols, Appalachian Trailway News, n.d. 

Speech read in memory of Dr. Samuel Robinson at a Meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Board, January 2, 1974. 

Samuel Robinson Death Certificate, filled January 2, 1974. 

"High Lights of Seventy-Five Years of Temple Beth Ha-Tephila History," August 13, 1966. 

Historical Data, Family Robinson, n.d. 

Newspaper clipping (photocopy), "1,500th Hike," Asheville Citizen, August 27, 1968. 

Newspaper clipping (photocopy), "'Brainstorming' Businessmen," Asheville (N.C.) Times, November 10, 1967. 

Newspaper clipping (photocopy), "Asheville optometrists were honored Thursday night...," September 27, 1963. 

Newspaper clipping (photocopy), "Dr. Robinson, Optometrist, Dies at 82," Asheville Citizen-Times, December 23, 1973. 

"Rice's Knob," "My Speech on Judaism," personal accounts of activities, May 11, 1969. 

"Jane Serrota's Wedding," personal account, December 1967. 

Newspaper clipping (photocopy), "The Illness Isn't Beyond Cure," Asheville Citizen-Times, March 16, 1969. 

Letter, October 11. 

Folder 4: Plastic Wallet Containing Membership Cards 

Membership card, The American Forestry Association. 

Membership card, The Jewish Chautauqua Society, for 1964-1965. 

Membership card, American Optometric Foundation, for 1965. 

Chairmanship card, Boy Scouts of America, for 1965. 

Membership card, Carolina Mountain Club, for 1965. 

Membership card, Boy Scouts of America, for 1965. 

Membership card, North Carolina Society of Engineers, for 1965. 

25-year veteranship card, Boy Scouts of America, for 1962. 

North Carolina Driver's License, for 1970-1974. 

Membership card, Southern Council of Optometrists, for 1965. 

Membership card, Daniel Boone Council, Boy Scouts of America, for 1965. 

Council membership card, Daniel Boone Council, Boy Scouts of America, for 1965. 

Membership card, The Wilderness Hikers, for 1958. 

Folder 5: "Book For My Family - Contains Information of Use After My Passing". 

Ledger book in which Robinson describes important aspects of his life, such as friends, business associates, financial information, and organizations he was a member of. Also contains a letter from Natalie (Mrs. Charles Haar) about her father. 

Folder 6: "Mountain Memories: A Record of My Mountaineering, Hiking Trips, Outings & Travels," by Dr. Samuel Robinson, Asheville, N.C., Volume IX. 

Photocopied pages from, nd 

Folder 7: Photographs 

"Grandfather, Pack Square Store", nd [robi001] 

"Galveston, Texas about 1904, Daniel Robinson" [robi002] 

Group of men and women with "1913 Academs" sign, nd [robi003] 

Engineers Club meeting, nd [robi004] 

Dr. Robinson being presented with an award, nd [robi005] 

Postcard of the Needle, Great Gable [English Lake District] sent to Robinson from D Avery and M Bishop, 1961 [robi006] 

Robinson's waiting room, 28 March 1949 [robi007] 

Samuel Robinson, nd [robi008] 

Folder 8: Various Certificates & Licenses [2005 addendum] 

Optometrist Certificates & Licenses, 1916 - 1930 

Folder 9: Miscellaneous Papers, 1915 - 1926 [2005 addendum] 

University of State of New York, Higher Education, Optometry Laws, Rule and Information, June 1915 

Letter from James Lewis, Northern Illinois College, 1916 

Letter from O H Orr, Brevard Institute, 1923 

Letter from A R Waters, The Baptist Student Union, Mars Hill, NC, 1924 

Letter from (J A Gibbs), Whittier, NC, 1924 [On New York Life Insurance Co. notepaper] 

Letter from John Parris, Sylva, NC, 1924 

Letter to W E Queen, Sylva, NC, 1924 {With handwritten response from Billy Queen] 

Agreement and receipt for landscaping work at 108 Forest Hill Road, 1926 

Carolina Power & Light Company, share certificate, 1926 

Bill from Asheville Chamber of Commerce, 1926 

Bills from Asheville Water Works, 1924 - 1926 

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Lateral File Drawer - Oversize Items and Realia 

Plaque, "The N.C. State Optometric Society - A Testimonial of Sincere Appreciation Presented To Samuel Robinson, O.D. in Honor of Fifty Years of Distinguished and Unselfish Service to His Patients and His Profession," nd 

Binder of newspaper clippings relating to Dr. Samuel Robinson's optometric business and civic activities, and additional loose clippings (1957 - 1973) 

Scrapbook, with wood covers, of documents and newspaper clippings relating to the Wilderness Hikers of Asheville, NC (1939 - 1947) 

Union of American Hebrew Congregations Citation For Religious Leadership to Dr. Samuel Robinson, framed, 1966 

Engineers Society of Western North Carolina, Certificate of Membership, 1938. 

North Carolina Society of Engineers, Certificate of Membership, 1949 

Shofar Award of the Jewish Committee on Scouting, nd 

Carolina Mountain Club, Honorary Membership Award, 1966. 

The Cactus, 1913 - University of Texas Yearbook 

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