Southern Historical Collection

In the early twentieth century, led by faculty and students in history and social sciences, UNC began to emerge as a center for research on the American South. To support and encourage this work, history professor Joseph Grégoire de Roulhac Hamilton created the Southern Historical Collection in 1930. Hamilton's legendary collecting trips took him around the Southeast as he gathered family papers, plantation records, and more, bringing it all back to Chapel Hill. His work earned him the nickname "Ransack" Hamilton from people who were both amused and angered by his relentless collecting. The work of Hamilton and his successors helped build the collection into the largest repository of manuscript materials about the American South. As part of the Wilson Special Collections Library, the Southern Historical Collection has provided research materials for generations of historians, helping inform many popular and influential works on southern history.


Date Established: 1844

Date Range: 1844 – Present