Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the Ancil Gatliff Collection

Accession Number: 80
Ancil Gatliff Collection, 1887-1988
Bulk Dates, 1889-1901
3.2 Linear Feet
Online Catalog Record (BANC)

Series I - Personal and Autobiographical
Series II - Williamsburg Institute, Cumberland College
Series III - Boyd Correspondence
Series IV - Magazine Articles- Gatliff Correspondence

Access and Use:

Provenance: The papers of Dr. Ancil Gatliff were placed in the Berea College Southern Appalachian Archives as a gift by Chester Young on June 25, 1996, and were open for research in June of 2000.

Preferred Citation: The Ancil Gatliff Papers, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, Ky.


These papers include extensive correspondence from the early 20th century (especially with J.L. Boyd of Procter Coal Company), stories and biographical information about Dr. Gatliff, a picture of his wife, and other family information. There are also miscellaneous records of Williamsburg Institute/Cumberland College.


Dr. Ancil Gatliff, a highly successful Kentucky physician, businessman, and civic leader; and substantial underwriter of Williamsburg Institute/Cumberland College, was born January 2, 1850 on a farm in Whitley County near Watts Creek. His parents were John Speed Gatliff and Luvisa Jones Gatliff.

He was educated in the county schools and secured his medical training at the Louisville Medical College. He became an outstanding physician, and was especially successful in treating pneumonia. On October 26, 1876 he journeyed by horseback to Bell County, where he married Miss Florida Ellen Moss. They had five children; Ruby Gatliff Archer, Pearl Gatliff Perkins, Una Gatliff Mahan, Mr. J.B. Gatliff, and Mr. E.M. Gatliff.

Dr. Gatliff was founder and first president of the Kentucky Baptist Educational Society, giving 4,000 acres of land to the organization at the General Association of Kentucky Baptists in Richmond, Kentucky in 1906.

Gatliff had a deep love and devotion to Cumberland College. It has been estimated that his financial aid to the college approximated $100,000. He built the Gatliff Gymnasium in 1911, which now has become the library. He not only loved the material plant of the college, but he loved the students and helped many financially through school.

In 1915, Kentucky Baptists in session at Jellico, representing 240,000 members, called him to serve as moderator, the chief place of honor and leadership of the denomination.

Politicians also sought him; on several occasions the Democrats of the state would have given him the gubernatorial nomination, but he declined.

At the time of his death on October 14, 1918, Gatliff was the president of the Southern Coal and Coke Company, Southern Mining Company, Gatliff Coal Company, and High Splint Coal Company. He was also president of the Bank of Williamsburg, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Cumberland College.

8 Manuscript Boxes

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