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The most comprehensive bibliography of sources related to the Great Smoky Mountains is now available for purchase from the University of Tennessee Press.

Terra Incognita: An Annotated Bibliography of the Great Smoky Mountains, 1544-1934, is the culmination of fifteen years of research. It catalogs printed material on the Great Smoky Mountains from the earliest map documenting the De Soto expedition in the sixteenth century to writings that were instrumental in the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Each chapter, introduced by a substantive essay, details published works on a different aspect of the history, peoples, culture, and natural history of the Smokies region. There are chapters on topics including the Cherokee, early explorers, music, mountain life, and the national park movement.

Terra Incognita was compiled and edited by three librarians. Anne Bridges and Ken Wise are associate professors at the UT Libraries and co-directors of the Great Smoky Mountains Regional Project. Russell Clement, emeritus faculty at Northwestern University, worked for many years in academic libraries, and most recently as head of the art collection at Northwestern.

The authoritative and meticulously researched work is an indispensable reference for scholars and students studying any aspect of the region’s past, according to author and historian Jim Casada.

‘Terra Incognita‘ belongs in every academic library in the country, and locals who simply cherish the Smokies will want to have it on their shelves,” he said.

The title for the bibliography comes from a remark by Horace Kephart, an early twentieth-century chronicler of mountain culture and an important force behind the founding of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Researching the region prior to his first visit in 1904, Kephart found the Great Smoky Mountains to be a “terra incognita,” or an unknown or unexplored territory. Little to nothing, it seemed, could be found in libraries to illuminate the land or its people. This new bibliography rectifies that omission by bringing together the scattered and obscure early accounts of the Smokies. (Kephart is the only individual to merit a separate chapter in Terra Incognita.)

An online resource, Database of the Smokies, updates Terra Incognita with citations to material published since 1934, the date the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established.

For information on ordering the book, visit the UT Press.


Anne Bridges, UT Knoxville Libraries (865-974-0017,

Ken Wise, UT Knoxville Libraries (865-974-2359,

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,