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Barnhill Photographs of Life in Western North Carolina, 1914-1917 (Library of Congress)

This guide provides an overview of William A. Barnhill photographs of people, landscapes, agriculture, technology and handicrafts of the mountain counties around Asheville, North Carolina, highlighting subject strengths and sample images.


William Barnhill, photographer. Children had few toys. Between 1914 and 1917. Barnhill Collection. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

In 1969, William A. Barnhill gave to the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division materials from his photographic study, Pioneer Life in Western North Carolina, depicting the people, landscapes, agriculture, technology, and handicrafts of the mountain counties around Asheville, North Carolina. The photographs [LOT 11248 (F)] were taken between 1914 and 1917.

The gift included seventy-seven mounted gold-toned photographs made from Barnhill's 5x7 inch glass negatives (the negatives were not included in the gift). Also included in the LOT is a biography of Mr. Barnhill by his friend, Harry Barsantee and a map highlighting the area in western North Carolina where Barnhill made his photographs. Later additions to LOT 11248 include thirteen Barnhill photographs received by the Library of Congress through copyright deposit and twelve photographs made by the Library's Duplication Services from film positives.

William Barnhill was born in Pennsylvania in 1889. He was an aerial photographer with the 91st Aero Squadron of the U.S. Army during World War I. After the war, he worked in commercial photography and settled in Ohio. He died in 1987.