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Courtyard of a palace-hotel. Egypt Photograph Collection, circa 1910s, MS.3696, Special Collections, University of Tennessee Libraries.

Through journals, drawings, photographs, postcards, and mementos, travelers have always sought to document their journeys, remember their experiences, and share their stories. Travel and Voyages: From Africa to Appalachia, an exhibition in the Elaine Altman Evans Exhibit Area in the John C. Hodges Library, features some of these treasured keepsakes from UT Libraries’ manuscript and rare book collections.

UT’s Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives acquires and preserves manuscripts, rare books, and other unique research materials. Collection strengths include the history and culture of East Tennessee and the southeastern United States. However, over the years, Special Collections has acquired many collections that focus on world travels.

Travels and Voyages includes several photo albums filled with stunning images of North Africa taken by late 19th- and early 20th-century travelers. Also on display are several 19th-century accounts of travels in Egypt, such as John Page’s handwritten diary, “Nile Journal 1857-1858.” A generous donation from the late Elaine Evans, long-time Egyptian curator at UT’s Frank H. McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, funded the purchase of these items as well as construction, in 2016, of the exhibit area in which they are displayed.

Among numerous travel journals in the exhibit are handwritten chronicles by two native Knoxvillians: a journal kept by author and journalist James Agee on assignment in Havana and a diary kept by Robert Tatum on the first ascent of Alaska’s Mount McKinley in 1913.

Many of the objects representing Appalachia are 1920s souvenirs of the Smoky Mountains. There are numerous travel brochures dating from before creation of the national park as well as guest registers from the Mountain View Hotel in Gatlinburg that include entries for notable mountaineers, politicians, writers, painters, and several conservationists who played key roles in establishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Elaine Altman Evans Exhibit Area is located in the first floor galleria of the John C. Hodges Library and is accessible during all hours the library is open. Travel and Voyages will be on display throughout the fall semester.

For more information, contact Allison McKittrick, Assistant Librarian for Special Collections Outreach, at 865-974-0017 or


Karen Dunlap (865-974-8674,