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Sherrill’s Photography Studio Collection

Identifier: MSS 18-01

Content Description

The main body of the collection consists almost entirely of photographic prints, negatives, and glass plates of various sizes (2.5" x 3.5" to 8” x 10”) for the period of 1890s, and 1920 – 1970s, although most items are concentrated in the years 1940-1960.

There are three areas of photographic material in the collection. Studio portraits (negatives, prints, and glass plates), unclaimed photographs - film that was brought to Sherrill’s Studio for developing, but the prints were never picked up (negatives and prints), and non-studio portraits (negatives, prints, and glass plates). Also included in the collection are Christmas cards from 1940 and 1941 and some correspondence ranging from 1937-1959.


  • 1890s, 1920s-1970s


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.

Biographical / Historical

George Dexter Sherrill (1879–1931) opened the first photography studio in Haywood County on Depot Street in downtown Waynesville in 1902. In 1906 his studio became the first Eastman Kodak franchise west of Asheville and the third in North Carolina. Sherrill’s photography roots began in Jackson County where he learned the art from his brother-in-law, A. L. Ensley. Beulah Eloise Ashe Ensley (1899-1991) apprenticed with Sherrill in 1917 and worked in the studio with her husband, Sherrill’s nephew, Ralph Ensley (1894-1975) until Ralph’s death. The Ensley’s demolished the original studio in 1943, dug the site to street level, and built an International style building.


115 Linear Feet (167 boxes)

Language of Materials


Related Materials

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

Part of the Hunter Library - Special Collections Repository

Cullowhee United States