Smoky Mountains Hiking Club Handbooks Available Online

UT and the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club have partnered to create the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club Collection, an online digital collection documenting ninety years of hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, circa 1930. From Smoky Mountains Hiking Club Records, 1926-1969. MS.0423. University of Tennessee Special Collections.

Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, circa 1930. From Smoky Mountains Hiking Club Records, 1926-1969. MS.0423. University of Tennessee Special Collections.

The UT Libraries has digitized the complete series of Smoky Mountains Hiking Club handbooks, which outline the club’s schedule of hikes and social events from 1926 to 2015.

The Smoky Mountains Hiking Club was founded in 1924. Its founders include names synonymous with the early twentieth-century history of the Smokies—Jim Thompson, Albert “Dutch” Roth, Carlos Campbell and Paul Adams. As well as organizing hikes, club members promoted the area as a national park, encouraged responsible hiking etiquette, and built and measured many of the trails in the Smokies, including sections of the Appalachian Trail. The club has been leading hikes and improving trails in the Smokies ever since.

Cover of 1932 Smoky Mountains Hiking Club Handbook.

Cover of 1932 Smoky Mountains Hiking Club Handbook.

The handbooks chronicle hikes and other club activities and provide hiking tips and a list of members, illustrated with photographs of past events and hikes. In describing the club’s long involvement in building and maintaining the Appalachian Trail across the Smokies, the handbooks yield a rich record of changes within the Smoky Mountains themselves while illustrating the subtle changes in hiking conventions through the years.

The UT Libraries will continue to upload annual handbooks as they become available.

In addition to the handbooks, the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club Collection includes 88 photographs from the early years of the club, donated to the UT Libraries by Laura E. and Ella Luttrell.

The Smoky Mountains Hiking Club Collection is one of dozens of digitized collections hosted by the UT Libraries. The Hiking Club Collection and several other image collections relating to the Smoky Mountains have been updated with a pan-and-zoom function in addition to browsing and full-text searching.