During the 1960s and 1970s, Maryville physician Elgin P. Kintner often hiked into the Great Smoky Mountains and captured the breathtaking views with his camera. Once the photographs were developed, he pasted them together, carefully matching them to create panoramic displays.
The public can now enjoy those photos too, courtesy of the UT Libraries. The library staff has transformed them into an online digital collection. “The Panoramic Images of Elgin P. Kintner, M.D.” may be viewed at the library’s website.
The collection is a collaboration between UT Libraries and Kintner’s daughter Beccie King. Recognizing the value of her father’s images and wishing to see them recreated as her father envisioned them, King had the negatives scanned and digitally stitched to form seamless panoramas. She then donated the finished panoramas along with a large collection of her father’s stand-alone photographs to UT Libraries.
Kintner, who was the first full-time pathologist at Blount Memorial Hospital, died in May 2008 at the age of ninety.
“He saw those mountains every day on his way to and from the hospital and thought how beautiful they are,” King said. “But he realized you can’t get to know the mountains unless you get into the mountains. With that realization he started hiking. He set a goal for himself of hiking all the maintained trails in the park, and then all the unmaintained trails. He accomplished that goal and more.”
King noted that her father cherished being able to take panoramic photos of unobstructed views from the fire towers. Many of them no longer exist.
“The fire towers on Blanket Mountain, Bunker Hill, High Rocks, Rich Mountain, and Spruce Mountain — those historic structures are gone,” said Ken Wise, a UT librarian and the author of several hiking guides to the Smokies. “That makes Dr. Kintner’s panoramic views an even more treasured collection.”
Wise, along with UT librarian Anne Bridges, is co-director of UT Libraries’ Great Smoky Mountains Regional Project.
“We love these photos,” Bridges said. “As soon as Beccie showed us the images, we saw their potential. We’re so grateful to her for letting us add them to the Smokies collection.”
For fifteen years, the Great Smoky Mountains Project has been collecting and preserving books, articles, photographs, manuscripts, maps, business records, diaries, and other written and visual materials to create the definitive collection on the Smokies. Selected collections are made available online for use by scholars and researchers around the world. Those online collections now include a photographic record of the Smokies covering more than 125 years.
Click here to view the UT Libraries’ digital collections.
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