This guide includes both primary and secondary source resources about business, primarily in the Appalachian region. Records and papers relating to various businesses are listed below.  Manuscripts must be used in the Dougherty Reading Room. To schedule an appointment or for more information, email

Manuscript Collections

The Shuford Hardware Company Document is a one page letter dated 1 Dec. 1893 to J.W. Cates of Burlington regarding payment to the Shuford Hardware Company. It is on business stationary.

0.01 linear feet (1 folder)

The Shulls Mills Feed and Grain Company was operated by J.E. Harbin from 1916 to 1960 in the town of Shulls Mills, NC. The collection includes financial materials from 1916 - 1970, including 4 ledgers which contain records of individual customers, as well as 3 other accounting books and loose material which contains purchase order information and sales records.

1.0 linear feet (2 boxes)

This collection includes bills, order lists, and receipts for a store run by the Skaggs Family in Greenbrier County, West Virginia in the 1800s, circa 1874. Also contains the personal effects papers of P.H. Skaggs.

1.5 linear feet (1 manuscript box)

Smyth County, Virginia Lifetime Collection is a compilation of materials related to Smyth County, Virginia. Subject areas include religion, mills and industry, folklife, agriculture, architecture, education, and community events.

6.0 linear feet (2 manuscript boxes, 1 half-sized manuscript box, 1 oversized box, 1 oversized folder, and 1 folder housed in cold storage)

This collection is one receipt of two hundred shares of Southern Insurance and Savings Society sold to Rev. A. Hamilton of Petersburg, Virginia, November 2, 1863.

0.01 linear feet (1 folder)

This collection contains correspondence with poets contracted with Sow's Ear Press to publish their works, entrants of the poetry contest sponsored annually by Sow's Ear, galleys of chapbooks actually published by Sow's Ear, photographs and business correspondence of the company and its people.

8.5 linear feet (8 manuscript, 2 half-sized manuscript, 2 large flat boxes)

Speculation Land Company Records are the records from the owners and agents of the North Carolina branch of the New York-based Speculation Land Company primarily between 1796 and 1920. The collection consists of approximately 10,000 original documents, including land deeds, surveys, land plats, record books, business checks, business and personal correspondence. There are also maps, unidentified information packets, and one photograph. Other portions of Speculation Land Records are located at University of North Carolina at Asheville and Chapel Hill.

33.5 linear feet (27 boxes, 4 half sized boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 4 oversize folders)