Collection & Archives

The Cherokee County Historical Society cares for over 100,000 items in our collection pertaining to Cherokee County history. These items include documents, photographs, maps, Native American artifacts, family histories, and objects related to businesses and individuals throughout Cherokee County’s history. These items are carefully preserved and cataloged in a searchable database.  Researchers are encouraged to make an appointment to come by our office and explore the collection. You can find directions to our office and contact information here.  A Collection List with some thumbnail size images is currently available online, divided by categories below. Your PDF reader should allow you to search with the “Find” tool (or “Control F”).

Cherokee County Historical Society Online Collection Index



Archives 1           Archives 2           Archives 3

Archives 4          Archives 5          Archives 6

                                                             Archives 7


If you are interested in donating an item relating to Cherokee County to our collection, please contact our Archivist, Tracy Phelps, at

While our collection contains many individual items, there are a few large collections, including:

The William ‘Buddy’ Alexander Collection – Buddy Alexander was a local photographer who recorded Cherokee County from the late 1940s to mid 1970s. Donated to the Historical Society by his family, Mr. Alexander’s collection contains over 86,000 images including studio portraits, Cherokee County events, aerials, and even crime scene photos because he was contracted by the Sheriff’s Department and GBI.  This collection provides a rare, comprehensive view of Cherokee County when it was still mostly rural, and the downtowns were the center of everything. Since this is such a large collection, it has been cataloged in a separate database called the Alexander Inventory and is available below.

20063618-6The Alexander Inventory is divided into seven groups:

People – Portraits, Candid Shots
Groups – Jaycees, Canton High, Pink Ladies and other community organizations
Scenes – Denim Day, Parades, Street Scenes
Scenes – Restricted Funerals, Crime Scenes, Car Accidents
Grad – Graduations
Other – Machinery, Copies of Birth Certificates

The inventory contains the Alexander collection list divided alphabetically within these groups. To view the inventory click here. The Scenes Restricted photos are not available to the public, but are included on the Inventory. If you are interested in obtaining copies of the images, please see the Image Reproduction section in the Collections Policy below. The Historical Society has also published a pictorial history book about this collection, written by Michael Wagner, and it is available for purchase in our store.

Harold & Richard JohnstonHarold Johnston Archaeology Collection – Mr. Harold Johnston, a Woodstock native, donated over 4,000 Native American projectile points and artifacts to the Historical Society in 2007.  All of these artifacts were collected in Cherokee County and a large portion from the Noonday Creek area in Woodstock. A small portion of this collection including pottery and projectile points and other tools is on display in the Cherokee County History Museum and Visitors Center.

Map Collection – The Historical Society has over 1,000 maps in our collection from many different sources. About half of the maps are from the Latimer Ridgway collection. Mr. Ridgeway was a licensed civil engineer and surveyor and worked as a soil conservation agent, the county surveyor, and a private surveyor during his time in Cherokee County. Most of these maps date from 1940 to 1970 and are official survey maps, but he occasionally made tracings from earlier documents.  Another large collection of maps are from the family of Rev. Charles Walker. Rev. Walker was a noted Native American scholar and published a series of books about their history in North Georgia.  The Historical Society is also fortunate to have about 80 maps of Georgia and Cherokee County donated by Mr. Jack Richardson.

Historic Resource Survey – This collection contains over 600 survey forms for historic properties throughout Cherokee County. The survey was completed in 1988 and updated in 2005, and contains exterior photographs as well as information on the style and location of the properties.  The 1988 Cherokee County Historic Resource Survey is also available with other State of Georgia surveys online. The Historical Society hopes to have the 1976 Historic Resource Survey photographs also available soon.

scan0031Canton Cotton Mills Collection – The Canton Cotton Mill Company operated in Canton from 1899 to 1981 and was one of the largest employers in Cherokee County.  The Historical Society has a large number of items from the Mills including photographs, fabric samples, supervisor books, promotional material, and artifacts from the Jones family.

Photograph Collection – This collection is comprised of over 2,000 images (not including the Buddy Alexander Collection) donated from various sources. They include people and places around Cherokee County and the majority date from 1900 to 1960.

For information about our Collection Policy, including image reproduction fees, please see the attached document.

Other Suggested Links

Georgia Historical Society

National Archives Southeast Region

Atlanta History Center

Georgia Secretary of State Archives & History Division