Skip to main content


Special Collections Online at UT

Jim Casada Collection of Horace Kephart and George Masa

Identifier: MS-3452

  • Staff Only

Series I: Horace Kephart Papers (1926 March 6-1973 January 23) houses correspondence, photographs, publications, newspaper clippings, and other materials illustrating Kephart's work in the Great Smoky Mountains. In the interests of clarity, both original manuscripts and photocopies of Kephart's published articles are included in this series. Of particular interest are the items documenting the naming of Mt. Kephart and the memorial associations organized to honor Kephart's memory.

Series II: George Masa Papers (1930 August 24-1979) houses correspondence, notes, publications, and photographs documenting Masa's career in the Smokies. Among these materials are several of Masa's rare original photographs and letters.

Series III: Research Papers and Publications Regarding Horace Kephart and George Masa (1882-2009 October 30) houses a wealth of material showing Margaret Radcliffe Gooch's and Jim Casada's research into both Kephart and Masa's lives and careers. Gooch was friendly with both men, and her papers include a few of her personal recollections of them in addition to a body of notes on secondary sources. Casada created the majority of his material while researching such publications as articles, his introduction to Kephart's Camping and Woodcraft, and an unfinished Kephart biography. Among these items are biographies of Kephart's father and grandfather, articles published by various of Kephart's relatives, correspondence with academic institutions and individuals who knew Kephart, and bibliographical records of published materials relating to Kephart's work in the St. Louis Mercantile Library and in the Great Smoky Mountains.


  • 1882-2009 October 30
  • Majority of material found within 1926 March 6-2009 October 30

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


8 Linear Feet


This collection houses correspondence, photographs, publications, newspaper clippings, and other materials that Jim Casada collected during his research into the lives and work of Horace Kephart and George Masa.

Biographical/Historical Note

Horace Sowers Kephart was born to Isaiah Lafayette and Mary (Sowers) Kephart in East Salem, Pennsylvania on September 8, 1862. He earned his AB (1897) and AM (1882) at Lebanon Valley College and later undertook postgraduate work at Cornell, Boston University, and Yale. Kephart married Laura White Mack (1862-) on April 12, 1887 and the couple had six children: Cornelia Ferris (Kephart) Moore (1888-), Margaret (1890-), Leonard Mack (1892-1988), Lucy (Kephart) Fernow (1893-1977), George Stebbins (1894-1986), and Barbara (Kephart) Bird (1897-1985). Horace Kephart began his professional career as an Assistant in the Cornell Library (1880-1884) and traveled in Europe before accepting a position at Yale in 1886. In 1890, he began working at the prestigious St. Louis Mercantile Library.

By 1903, Kephart had entered a deep depression, which he exacerbated with heavy drinking (a habit that would reemerge in times of great stress for the rest of his life). He eventually concluded that urban life was a primary cause of his disease and abandoned both St. Louis and his family in order to start over in the North Carolina mountains. Kephart was immediately fascinated by the region's cultural and natural history. He read extensively on both subjects in addition to making personal observations and eventually became a prominent expert in both fields. He also campaigned for the creation of a Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Horace Kephart was killed in a car accident on April 2, 1931.

George Masa was born Masahara Izuka in Japan around 1881. He came to the United States in 1901 to study mining and settled in Buncombe County, North Carolina. Masa worked as a bellhop in the Grove Park Inn but soon learned the art of photography and opened his own studio. He also became close friends with fellow outdoorsman Horace Kephart and the two devoted considerable time and energy to mapping the proposed national park and the Appalachian Trail. Kephart's texts and Masa's photographs were used in numerous promotional materials in support of the park. Masa was devastated by Kephart's death and became ill shortly after organizing a hike to commemorate the second anniversary of the event. George Masa died in the Buncombe County Hospital of influenza on June 21, 1933 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery.


This collection consists of eight boxes divided into four series:

  1. Series I: Horace Kephart Papers, 1926 March 6-1973 January 23
    • Sub-Series A: Correspondence, 1926 March 6-1973 February 3
    • Sub-Series B: Photographs, 1931 April 7, undated
    • Sub-Series C: Publications, 1901 December 12-1936
    • Sub-Series D: Newspaper Clippings, 1925 October 16-1965 January 28
    • Sub-Series E: Memorials, 1930 January 23-1963 March 13
  2. Series II: George Masa Papers, 1930 August 24-1979
  3. Series III: Research Papers and Publications Regarding Horace Kephart and George Masa, 1882-2009 October 30
    • Sub-Series A: Margaret R. Gooch Research Papers, 1930 May 7, 1951 February 8-1977 March 29
    • Sub-Series B: Jim Casada Research Papers and Publications, 1882-2009 October 30
  4. Series IV: Other Materials, 1920-2003 April 25

Acquisition Note

Special Collections purchased these materials in April of 2010.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA