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Gideon Laney Collection

Identifier: MSS 18-03

Content Description

This collection concerns the photography of Gideon Laney (December 22, 1889-February 16, 1976), of Brasstown, in Clay County, NC. He served in France during World War I, and returned to North Carolina after his discharge in 1919. In 1924, he married Martha Creech Ison, and their daughter, Grace Elizabeth, was born in 1925. Martha died in 1929, leaving Gideon to raise their young daughter.

Gideon began taking photographs with a borrowed camera after his wife’s death, in an attempt to earn an income while raising his daughter. He traveled to homes and events in the Clay County, NC, and Cherokee County, NC area, taking photographs of people at their homes; agricultural activities, such as hog killings; workers with the Works Progress Administration (WPA); social events, such as baptisms and picnics; and the arrival of the first train in the area, known as the “Peavine.”

The collection is chiefly photography, both prints and negatives, and is arranged by subject. Identities of subjects, if known, are listed by folder.

SOURCES: Anderson, David, “Brasstown History Relived Through Early Photographs,” Clay County Progress, May 21, 1990. [See Folder 2] The Heritage of Cherokee County, North Carolina, Volume II. Edited by Alice D. White. Murphy, NC: Cherokee County Historical Museum, 1990.


  • 1923 - 1990


Conditions Governing Use

No publication fee is made for use of Western Carolina University Library special collections material in scholarly publications. The Library retains sole right to judge what constitutes a non-scholarly or commercial publication. Permission to publish commercially, in circumstances where the Library is qualified to grant it, requires proper authorization. Please contact Special Collections at for more information.


.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Online Materials

Images from this collection are viewable online at Hunter Library Digital Collections.

Condition Description

Fragile - good.
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Hunter Library - Special Collections Repository

Cullowhee United States