Browse Collections

Bryant McMurray Motorsports Photographs
The Bryant McMurray motorsports photographs collection contains images of motorsports races, personalities, and events shot between 1969 and 2016. Capturing the speed and danger of NASCAR, IMSA, Grand Prix, and other races, boisterous victory lane celebrations, pit crews in the heat of action, and the rambunctious spirit of motorsports fans in the grandstands, the collection offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of motorsports culture in its unvarnished heyday that spotlights a range of diverse participants. Making their appearance in innumerable candid shots and portraits in the collection are stock car racing luminaries like Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough and Dale Earnhardt, track owners and mechanics, sportscasters and beauty queens, politicians and movie stars, and ordinary racing fans whose fierce devotion and loyalty to racing continue to fuel the sport. Whether taken from a distance or at close range, shot in color or in black and white, the digitized negatives, slides, and digital photographs that make up the collection offer an unparalleled view of a sport that began humbly in stock car races between rival bootleg moonshine runners but grew into a multibillion-dollar industry of which the Charlotte region remains the heart. They also chart the professional growth of a photographer uncannily adept at capturing telling moments both large and small on film--not only spin-outs and pile-ups and green-white-checker finishes, but also the seemingly insignificant gesture or facial expression that can reveal the personality of a legendary driver or the turning point of a major race. A native of Rock Hill, South Carolina, and a graduate of Appalachian State University, Bryant McMurray is a 50-year veteran of photojournalism, marketing, and public relations in motorsports. He served as director of photography for Charlotte Motor Speedway, North Carolina Speedway, and Bristol Motor Speedway and as the North American general manager of the Thunderdome Speedway in Melbourne, Australia. A recipient of numerous industry awards including "Craftsman Photographer of the Year," he was the first race promoter to take a race to a country outside North America. McMurray is currently an adjunct professor at UNC Charlotte, where he teaches NASCAR history. In 2014 J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections at UNC Charlotte acquired his motorsports photography collection.
Manuscript Collections
The manuscript collections in Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives document the politics, people, arts and culture, social conditions, businesses, and activities of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region. These archives date from the 19th to the 21st century, with the bulk representing the last half of the 20th century. Manuscripts are original records that have been created or received by individuals, families, organizations, institutions, or agencies in the conduct of their affairs that document their transactions, ideas, decisions, or discussions. They may be in the form of correspondence, diaries, ledgers, memoranda, minutes, accounts, reports, literary creations, title deeds, legal documents, and photographs.
Oral History Collections
These collections of oral history interviews are from the holdings of the Department of Special Collections at J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte. The interviews, conducted by UNC Charlotte faculty, students and staff as well as several community organizations, document the history, life, and culture of the Charlotte region from a range of perspectives. Featured here are the oral history recordings selected for digitization as part of the project Living Charlotte: The Postwar Development of a New South City, which documents many social aspects of postwar Charlotte, including the eras of segregation and desegregation in education, civil rights activism, and other topics.
Planning and Development of Charlotte, N.C.
This collection primarily comprises government documents relating to the development and planning of Charlotte, N.C. in the postwar era of the twentieth century. Publication dates of materials in this collection range from 1935-1993, but the bulk of materials were published between 1944-1987. Among the subjects covered are urban renewal projects, regional planning, and infrastructure development in Charlotte and the surrounding area. Authors include government agencies, including the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, and local urban planning firms. These publications are part of the Local Documents Collection at J.Murrey Atkins Library. Charlotte Chamber of Commerce publications, contributed by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, are also included in The Planning and Development of Charlotte collection. In general, the publications in this collection reflect a favorable stance toward urban renewal projects. Alternative perspectives on these projects may be found in oral history collections, (the Karen Flint Student Project on Second Ward collection in particular, and elsewhere in Atkins Library Special Collections. To see photographs documenting the urban renewal projects, consult the Charlotte Redevelopment Commission online collection ( This collection is part of Living Charlotte: The Postwar Development of a New South City, a collaborative partnership to digitize and make accessible materials with statewide and national impact relating to the rapid economic growth and social change in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region from 1944 through the 1980s. Living Charlotte has been made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.
University Archives Collection
University Archives serves as the institutional memory of UNC Charlotte. It is the official repository for university records of enduring administrative, fiscal, legal and historical value. To support the teaching, learning, research, community service, and administrative needs of UNC Charlotte, the University Archives collects, preserves, and makes accessible these unique and valuable resources. The goal of this program is to ensure the preservation of historically significant records and other materials that document the university's origins and activities as well as the achievements of its faculty, students, staff, and alumni. The University Archives includes administrative and organizational records, publications, photographs, and audiovisual materials in all formats. Materials date from 1946 to the present and include historical records from UNC Charlotte's predecessor institutions: the Charlotte Center of the University of North Carolina and Charlotte College.