Wilson-Norris Collection


Wilson-Norris Collection


This collection consists of several scrapbooks depicting members of the Wilson family and Norris family. Also featured are members of the Eller and Maxwell families. All are local to Watauga or Ashe county.

Donated by Robin Withrow, daughter of Robert and Erma Norris Withrow, the collection focuses on descendants of Franklin Monroe (1867-1901) and Junelia Wilson Norris (1871-1952). More specifically the collection shows their son, Jonathan Wilson Norris (1896-1988), and his family. Jonathan Wilson Norris was married to Edith Julia Eller Maxwell (1897-1983). They had eight children; Erma Faye (1929-1985), Nell (b. 1930), Betty Sue (1935-1974), Neva (b. 1933), Essie (1927-1983), Vera (1925-2007), James (1922-2008), and Virginia (1926-2003). Seven of the eight children, and their mother, graduated from Appalachian Training School, later Appalachian State University. Edith's parents, James (1862-1945) and Emily Margaret Eller Maxwell (1862-1957) are also seen throughout the collection with their extended families.

This collection was digitized very early on in our project and we've been working to address some quality control issues dating back to the original scanning. As such, the images may be at a slightly lower resolution than our current standards require.

Series 1 consists of 268 images from a family scrapbook. It focuses mainly on the early lives of members of the Jonathan Wilson Norris and Edith Julia Eller Maxwell Norris family. Worth noting are portraits of the family on the grounds of Appalachian Training School, now Appalachian State University. A number of photographs taken by a walking club reportedly lead by Professor Steadman, Steadman's Pleasure Club, show the Parkway and Blowing Rock areas. Edith Norris was a member of the club. Robert “Bob” Withrow, husband of Erma Faye Norris, played on the baseball team at Appalachian Training School in the late 1940s. In 1950 he was the shortstop for the Blanketeers, a minor league team out of Elkin, before he married Erma.

Series 2 consists of 236 images from a family scrapbook. Notable are the many images of buildings and the campus of Appalachian Training School, now Appalachian State University. Additionally, there are several from around Boone and Blowing Rock such as the old County Courthouse, churches, Laurel Branch Falls, hiking trails, and aerial landscape photographs.

Series 3 consists of eight photographs. One to note is a photograph of a woman standing in front of The Appalachian Theatre marquee board. Showing at the time was Sweet Rosie O’Grady, featuring Betty Grable and Robert Young it dates to February 23-24, 1944.


Robin Withrow

Access Rights

Robin Withrow has generously agreed to share these images with Digital Watauga through an outright deed of gift. Any reprinting, redistribution, or other use of these images outside of Digital Watauga requires written permission from the Digital Watauga Project. Contact Digital Watauga directly for additional details.

Collection Items

Erma Faye Norris At Chapell Wilson Hall
This item is a black and white photograph of two young women sitting on the steps of a large stone building. They are both wearing dresses and one woman has glasses. The building appears to be Chapell Wilson Hall at Appalachian State University in…

Sheep Show At County Fair
This item is a black and white photograph of a line of sheep being held by men inside a barn. They are standing in what appears to be a covered area with hay or mulch on the ground. A crowd of people is standing behind them watching. This appears to…

Unknown Man Roping A Calf
This item is a black and white photograph of a man with a rope around a calf. The man appears to be standing inside a fenced area. Another man is leading over the top of the fence behind him. Mountains can be seen in the distance. He is wearing a…

Portrait Of Women At Lunch
This item is a black and white photograph of five women at a restaurant. Four of the women are standing behind a woman seated at a table. They are all wearing netting hats and skirts or dresses. One woman has on cat-eye style glasses. The sign behind…

Norris Family Portrait
This item is a black and white photograph of a family. There are two older adults at the center. They are surrounded by seven girls and a boy. The boy is standing at the back and appears to be wearing a uniform. This photograph appears to be a copy…

Picnic In The Woods
This item is a color photograph of a woman standing at a long table. She appears to be preparing a picnic outside, with trees and bushes in the background. The table holds several plates, bowls, and glass drink bottles. There is a wicker purse at one…

Sweet Rosie O'Grady At The Appalachian
This item is a black and white photograph on cardboard mount of a young woman standing in front of the marquee at the Appalachian Theatre in downtown Boone, North Carolina. The board announces Betty Grable, Robert Young, and Sweet Rosie O'Grady. It…

Portrait On The Steps Of Edith and Jonathan Wilson Norris Home
This item is a color photograph of a man, woman, and two children. They are sitting on the stone front steps of a home. The woman is wearing a dress, and the man a suit. Stamped in blue on the back is "This is a Kodachrome Print Made by Eastman Kodak…

Edith Maxwell's Appalachian Training School Class Portrait
This item is a black and white photograph of a large group of young men and women. The men are all wearing a suit with either a tie or bowtie. The women appear to all be wearing dresses, some with large bows in their hair. A building can be seen at…

Logging In Ashe County
This item is a black and white photograph of what appears to be a logging operation. There are a group of men and three women in the photograph. They are surrounded by cattle, logs, and machinery. All are wearing hats. It is reported that this…
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