Dutch and Margaret Ann Roth Papers
Series I: A. G. Dutch Roth Photographs and Other Materials, 1916 May 24-1960 March 1 is composed primarily of photographs that Roth took during his hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains both before and after the Park was formed. These images were originally housed in brown manila envelopes and organized with a numerical system of Roth's own design beginning at 1 (January 29, 1928) and ending at 729 (November 4, 1956). In some instances, unnumbered images have been interfiled with the numbered images in chronological order. In the earlier sections of the numerical series, Roth has assigned a number to each unique print; thus, unnumbered prints are simply extra copies of previously cataloged items. In order to facilitate access to these original images, they have been placed near the beginning of each numbered series. Between files 1 and 153, Roth recorded the number of total images in his collection. He also divided his photographs into yearlong sections using empty envelopes with the date written on the overhanging clasp.
Most of the original envelopes bear notations indicating whether the hike they were taken during was a Regular hike or a Special hike and which images should be filed. Unfortunately, it is not clear where this file was located and what precisely it consisted of. In some cases, Margaret Ann Roth made additional notes in pencil on her father's envelopes. Roth generally signed or stamped his name on the bottom right-hand corner of the back of the image itself. The vast majority of these images depict either scenes in the Great Smoky Mountains (including the creation of several new sections of the Appalachian Trail) or Dutch Roth and his friends hiking and relaxing. Among the individuals pictures are such prominent Knoxvillians as Harvey Broome and E. Guy Frizzell.
Series I also houses a variety of materials documenting the Great Smoky Mountains Hiking Club from the 1920s to the 1950s. Among these items are correspondence, SMHC announcements and invitations to such events as fish frys and dances (often featuring humorous poetry), newspaper clippings, publications, and maps. Many of the invitations indicate that interested parties should respond to Mrs. Albert G. Roth. Researchers should note that because it is nearly impossible to distinguish between items kept by Dutch Roth and those kept by Margaret Ann Roth, all paper materials have been assumed to be Dutch Roth's unless they date from after his death or relate directly to an activity that Margaret Ann was deeply involved with.
Series II: Margaret Ann Roth Photographs and Other Materials, 1947 March 11-1955 March 20 houses primarily photographs that Margaret Ann (and occasionally her brother Sonny) took in the Great Smoky Mountains. Like her father, she stored her negatives in brown manila envelopes but organized her collection chronologically. She also tended to take fewer pictures of vistas and mountain scenes and focus instead on her friends and family. Like her father, Margaret Ann's prints are stamped with her name in the reverse bottom right-hand corner. An additional small portion of this series houses other materials documenting Margaret Ann Roth's life.
- circa 1880s-2002 December 14 (bulk 1916 May 24-1960 March 1)
Conditions Governing Access
Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Use
The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.
27 Linear Feet
This collection consists primarily of approximately 8,000 photographs of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club taken by Albert Gordon Dutch Roth between 1916 and 1960. It also houses a number of photographs taken by Dutch Roth's daughter, Margaret Ann Roth, and a variety of print materials (including correspondence, announcements and invitations, programs, and maps) documenting the SMHC.
Albert Gordon Dutch Roth was born to Charles Albert and Annie (Evans) Roth on September 20, 1890 in Knoxville, Tennessee. He had one sister, Mabel Irene, who married Louis Edmund Meyer on November 21, 1923. Dutch Roth spent most of his professional career as a pipefitter at the Southern Railway's Coster Shop and John Sevier Yard, but his true love was the Great Smoky Mountains. He hiked nearly every weekend (including many overnight trips) for several decades. Roth was also an avid photographer and brought his Kodak 122 (complete with heavy tripod and flash powder pan) on most of these journeys. He was well known for his willingness to venture up trees and off trails to obtain the perfect shot; indeed, he once fell out of a tree and took a picture on the way down. Because Roth remained an amateur, his work was never widely distributed.
Dutch Roth married Mary Frances Watrous (known fondly as Dutchess) in February of 1918, and the couple had three children: Charles Albert, Margaret Ann, and Mary Frances (who died in infancy). Mary had three siblings: Benjamin Arthur, Margaret (who married Howard Rogers), and Retta Lucille (who married George Rice Fisher). Mary Roth was a talented singer, and she and her brother often sang at meetings of the Welsh society as well as at multiple churches. She also shared her husband's passion for hiking and had hiked all of the major peaks between Davenport Gap and Deals Gap at the time of her death.
After Dutch Roth retired from the railroad in 1957, he and his family moved to Gatlinburg where he could be near his beloved mountains. He continued to hike avidly and to work for the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and its successor, the New Covenant Presbyterian Church, as had four previous generations of his family. Mary Roth died on December 10, 1969 and Dutch Roth followed on May 10, 1974. Both were buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
Margaret Ann Roth (born on July 26, 1921) followed closely in her parents' footsteps. She spent most of her life in the Great Smoky Mountains and, like her father, took innumerable photographs with her Kodak Brownie. She was also an amateur historian and wrote many articles praising her father and the mountains. Later in life, she was a member of the Sevier County Senior Citizens Group, the Senior Citizens Hiking Club, and the Sevier County Historical Society. Although she never married, she did serve as godmother to William J. and Benjamin A. Frazer. Margaret Roth died on May 5, 2004 and was interred with her parents in Greenwood Cemetery.
Much less is known about Charles Albert Sonny Roth. He was born in about 1929 in Tennessee and served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War. He later married and had a son, Charles Allen Roth, and the family settled in Talbott, Tennessee.
This collection consists of thirty-six boxes divided into three series:
- Series I: A. G.
DutchRoth Photographs and Other Materials, 1916 May 24-1960 March 1
- Series II: Margaret Ann Roth Photographs and Other Materials, 1947 March 11-1955 March 20
- Series III: Oversized Materials, 1927-circa 1990s
- Series IV: Digitized Materials, 1913-1992
These papers were donated to the University of Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains Regional Project.
Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA