D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives

Personal Papers of William Highsmith, 1956 - 1984

Summary Information

UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives
Personal Papers of William Highsmith, 1956 - 1984
Date [inclusive]
2.75 Linear feet 3 boxes
Physical Description
Contains the personal papers of William Highsmith, primarily from 1962 to 1984, the years he led the University of North Carolina Asheville and its predecessor, Asheville-Biltmore College. Includes papers, correspondence, photographs, and other materials related to Dr.Highsmith's personal and professional interests, including serving as a trustee of St. Mary's Junior College in Raleigh, NC. The original titles and organization of the files are unknown. The files have therefore been arranged into three groups: those related to Asheville civic organizations, those related to medical groups and boards, and miscellaneous papers.
Located in Special Collections, Row 1, Section 2

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], University Archives, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804

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Biographical Information

William Edward Highsmith was born in Eastland, Texas on March 21, 1920 and received a MA (1947) and Ph.D (1953) in history from Louisiana State University. He worked at the University of Arkansas (1949-50), the LSU Caribbean Program (1951-1954), the Gadsden Center of University of Alabama (1954-1957), and was dean of the faculty at Jacksonville University from 1957 to 1962 . In 1962, he became president of Asheville-Biltmore College, and in 1969 was elected as the first chancellor of the newly created UNC Asheville. He stepped down as chancellor of UNCA in 1984, and died on July 28, 1987.

In addition to his duties at UNCA, Dr. Highsmith was involved in a variety of civic activities in Asheville. Among the organizations which Highsmith served were, the Asheville Chamber of Commerce (director), Mission Memorial Hospital (trustee), and the Health Education Commission of Western North Carolina (board member). He was also member of the NC Symphony Society, Asheville Rotary Club, and the Pen & Plate Club of Asheville. Additionally, he maintained correspondence with a number of former colleagues and private citizens, often related to education issues. At the time of his death, Highsmith was working on a history of UNCA and its predecessors.

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Scope and Content

This archive holds personal (non-university) papers of William Highsmith, primarily from 1962 - 1984, the years he worked in Asheville. Although not considered part of the official university archive, there are overlaps between this collection and Highsmith's official papers (UA3.2 and UA3.3), due to the civic status arising from Highsmith's role at the university, and his interest in educational issues. Research notes prepared by Highsmith for his book about the history of UNCA are included in this collection, but materials for book arising after Highsmith died are included in UA3.3, due to the significant input by university staff to complete the book after Highsmith's death.

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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

Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina Asheville assumes no responsibility.


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


Accruals are not anticipated


University of North Carolina at Asheville. Asheville-Biltmore College. William E. Highsmith.

Processing Information

Initially processed by Special Collections staff, date(s) unknown. Reprocessed by Colin Reeve, October 2014.

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Collection Inventory

Box 1: Asheville Civic Groups and Societies 

Folder 1: Asheville Chamber of Commerce, 1962-1963 

Folder 2: Asheville Chamber of Commerce, 1964 

Folder 3: Asheville Chamber of Commerce, 1965 

Folder 4: Asheville Chamber of Commerce, Jan - Aug 1966 

Folder 5: Asheville Chamber of Commerce, Sep - Dec 1966 

Folder 6: Asheville Chamber of Commerce, 1976-1980 

Folder 7: Asheville Chamber of Commerce, 1981 

Folder 8: Asheville Chamber of Commerce, 1982 

Folder 9: Asheville Chamber of Commerce, 1983-1984 

Folder 10: Asheville Ambassadors, 1960 

Folder 11: Asheville Revitalization Plan, 1978 

Folder 12: Downtown Revitalization, Meeting, January 25, 1982 

Folder 13: Downtown Revitalization, Mayor's Task Force, 1982 

Folder 14: Downtown Revitalization, Revitalization Strategy, Not dated 

Folder 15: Downtown Revitalization, Revports & Recommendations, 1982-1983 

Folder 16: Greater Asheville Council Inc., 1976-1984 

Folder 17: North Carolina Day Program, New York City, February 26, 1963 

Folder 18: Asheville Rotary Club, 1965-1983 

Folder 19: North Carolina Symphony Society, 1969-1971 

Folder 20: Asheville Community Concert Assoication, 1971-1972 

Folder 21: Asheville Friendship Force, 1977-1982 

Folder 22: Pen & Plate Club of Asheville, 1954-1983 

Folder 23: Rhododendron Royal Brigade of Guards, Royal Order Knights of the Laurel, History of, (circa 1970?) 

Folder 24: Southern Historical Association, Annual Meeting, Asheville 1963 

Box 2: Medical Groups and Boards 

Folder 1: Health Education Commission of Western North Carolina, 1971 

Folder 2: Health Education Commission of Western North Carolina, Jan - Jun 1972 

Folder 3: Health Education Commission of Western North Carolina, Jul - Dec 1972 

Folder 4: Health Education Commission of Western North Carolina, 1973 

Folder 5: Health Education Commission of Western North Carolina, 1974-1978 

Folder 6: Health Education Commission of Western North Carolina, Appendix to Report (?), circa 1972 

Folder 7: Area Health Education Center, 1973 

Folder 8: Area Health Education Center, 1974 

Folder 9: Area Health Education Center, 1975 

Folder 10: Area Health Education Center, 1979 

Folder 11: Area Health Education Center, Five Year Plan, 1980-1985 

Folder 12: Mountain Area Health Education Foundation, 1974-1975 

Folder 13: Mission Memorial Hospital, Advisory Committee of the School of Nursing, 1962-1966 

Folder 14: Mission Memorial Hospital, 1970-1971 

Folder 15: Mission Memorial Hospital, 1977 

Folder 16: Mission Memorial Hospital, 1978-1980 

Folder 17: Mountain Ramparts Health Planning Inc., 1974-1976 

Folder 18: Western Newsletter of Continuing Education in the Health Sciences, 1973-1976 

Folder 19: Buncombe County Hospital Reports/Studies, 1974-1975 

Folder 20: Asheville Hospitals, Miscellaneous, 1968-1975 

Box 3: Miscellaneous Personal Papers 

Folder 1: Biographic Information 

Folder 2: Personal Papers, 1959-1969 

Folder 3: Personal Papers, 1970 

Folder 4: Personal Papers, 1971 

Folder 5: Personal Papers, 1972 

Folder 6: Personal Papers, 1985 

Folder 7: Handwritten Notes & Speeches, Not Dated 

Folder 8: Booklets - "A History of Jacksonville University", 1959, and "6th Annual Lectures on Public Affairs...Jacksonville University", 1962 

Folder 9: Panama Canal, Notes & Materials for Lecture on, 1978 

Folder 10: Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, Education Symposium, 1972 

Folder 11: Research for UNC-A Book & other Projects 

Folder 12: Newspaper Clippings, 1966-1971 

Folder 13: St. Mary's College, Raleigh, 1968-1976