Professor Elisha Mitchell taught chemistry, mineralogy, and geology at UNC until he fell to his death trying to prove that Mt. Mitchell was the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River. At the time, the mountain was called Black Dome, but was later renamed in Mitchell’s honor. At a height of 6,684 ft., Mt. Mitchell is in fact the tallest peak in the Eastern US. The image above is a copy of an engraving in the NCC’s photo archives, 87-188.
Mitchell was wearing this pocket watch, which is believed to have stopped at the exact time of Mitchell’s death – June 27, 1857, 8:19:56. The pocket watch is part of the North Carolina Gallery’s collection, as is Mitchell’s mortar and pestle.
The real photo postcard below was recently uploaded to the North Carolina Postcards website, which has several more views of Mt. Mitchell that can be browsed here. In addition to biographical information, The NCC holds some material on Mitchell’s scientific research, and even a script for the theatrical performance of Mitchell’s last climb up the Black Dome.