Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Maryville Students Win Big at National History Day

Five Tennessee students received medals last week during the 2017 National History Day Contest.

(L to R) A.J. Camacho of Clayton-Bradley Academy; Tate Greene and teacher Liz Shugart of Clayton-Bradley Academy


In all, 58 middle and high school students represented Tennessee in the competition, where students prepare documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances and websites with historical themes. The overall theme of this year's contest was “Taking a Stand in History.”

Tennessee's students, some working in groups and some working individually, submitted a total of 35 entries. The students earned the right to compete at National History Day by winning medals on the state level. Tennessee History Day is organized by the Tennessee Historical Society and co-sponsored by the Tennessee Secretary of State's office and Humanities Tennessee.

The honorees from Tennessee are:

Best Entry in Civil War History, Junior Individual Documentary

  • Tate Greene
  • Maryville, Clayton-Bradley Academy
  • Entry: “Dissidents of the Rebellion: The Hidden Stand and Sacrifice of the East Tennessee Bridge Burners”
  • Teachers: Liz Shugart, Nicole Whitecotton


Outstanding State Entry, Junior Group Performance

  • Eden Hutchinson, Isabella Miya, Hannah Robbins
  • Maryville, Clayton-Bradley Academy
  • Entry: “Lowell Mill Girls: The First Union of Working Women”
  • Teachers: Liz Shugart, Nicole Whitecotton


Outstanding State Entry, Senior Individual Performance

  • A.J. Camacho
  • Maryville, Clayton-Bradley Academy
  • Entry: “Clarence Darrow: Taking a Stand for Truth”
  • Teacher: Liz Shugart


“Our students tackled difficult subjects, like the Civil War, workers’ rights and academic freedom, in their research this year. They also overcame personal obstacles to compete, but rose to the occasion with their impressive entries. We were all impressed with their grace under pressure,” said Tennessee History Day coordinator Jennifer C. Core.

“These are amazing achievements considering a half-million students entered the contest on the local level before advancing to the state and national levels. I’m thrilled all of the students represented Tennessee so well on the national stage,” Secretary Hargett said.

National History Day is a yearlong academic organization for middle and high school students focused on teaching and learning history. A recent study by Rockman et al found students who participate in National History Day develop a range of college and career-ready skills. They also outperform their peers on state standardized tests in multiple subjects, including reading, science, math and social studies. The program engages 7,000 students across the state of Tennessee.


The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State

Monday, June 12, 2017

Jay Guy Cisco Collection

By Megan Spainhour

Today we highlight the small yet mighty collection of the Jay Guy Cisco Papers (1894-1921). The Jay Guy Cisco Papers consists of biographical sketches of nine prominent Tennesseans, newspapers clippings, correspondence, publications and 12 scrapbooks.

Jay Guy Cisco (1844-1922) moved his family to Jackson, Tennessee, in 1875, where he became a sort of Jack-of-all-trades. He owned Cisco’s Bookstore in Jackson. He was also known as a historian, journalist, businessman, diplomat and archaeologist.

Through his research of West Tennessee, he obtained a great passion for Native American history and culture. He helped bring light to many Native American ruins in the Tennessee area, and drew interest because of his efforts. Many of the relics he found would be displayed in his small office museum.

Throughout his life, Cisco published numerous works pertaining to American history, politics and archaeology. For some time, he also ran a steam printing press when he was a member of the publishing firm Cisco and Hawkins. In 1883, Cisco established and edited the weekly newspaper The Forked Deer Blade out of Jackson, Tennessee. The Forked Deer Blade was known for its excellent writing and taking a stand on controversial topics, such as supporting prohibition. Cisco also became the Assistant Special Industrial and Immigration Agent for the L & N Railroad. He also accepted an appointment as U.S. Consul to Mexico during the Grover Cleveland administration.

The Jay Guy Cisco Papers collection covers a wide range of topics, from a biographical publication about the life of General James Winchester (one of Tennessee’s first senators) to several random newspaper clippings and images inside the 12 scrapbooks that Cisco kept. There are also several names featured in the correspondence kept in this collection. This collection would be very useful for genealogy purposes, history of Tennessee research between 1894-1920. And biographical research on prominent Tennesseans such as Albigence Waldo Putnam, Joseph Saudek, St. George Leakin and Susan E. W. Smith, just to name a few.

View the finding aid to this collection online and stop by the Tennessee State Library to check out this great collection!


Harriman Newspaper- Article from a Chattanooga newspaper, July 2, 1890, detailing the first four months after Harriman, Tennessee, incorporated in 1890. Box 1, Folder 11.


Tennessee Centennial Exposition Ticket, 1897. Box 1, Folder 1.


Lists of Revolutionary Soldiers buried in Tennessee. Each soldier is categorized by which county he is buried in. There are several pages of these lists. Box 3, Folder 4.


History of Madison County publication written by Jay Guy Cisco for “The Blade” (Forked Deer Blade newspaper?) in 1902. Box 3, Folder 5.


Map of “Old Haysborough and Surroundings,” showing where Haysborough Boulevard (known as Haysboro Avenue) in northeast Nashville was to be located. Box 3, Folder 8, Scrapbooks.


The Old Zollicoffer Residence- Newspaper clipping showing Home belonging to Civil War General Felix Zollicoffer. The house stood where the Andrew Jackson Hotel was erected in 1925. The Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) stands there now. Box 3, Folder 8, Scrapbooks.


Two images shown on this scrapbook page- First Presbyterian Church which today is known as the Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville. The other image is of “The oldest house in Memphis,” the Old Bell Tavern. Box 3, Folder 8, Scrapbooks.

Newspaper clipping of ‘Hundred Oaks’ mansion near Winchester, Tennessee, Box 3, Folder 10, Scrapbooks.


Map of Plan of Battle of Tohopeka, as prepared by Andrew Jackson (Also known as the Battle of Horseshoe Bend). Box 3, Folder 11, Scrapbooks.



The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State

Monday, June 5, 2017

Eight Collections to Celebrate 80 Years of Tennessee State Parks

By Patsy Mitchell

Did you know that 2017 marks the 80th anniversary of the Tennessee state park system? Established in 1937, it now includes 56 parks and 85 natural areas covering about 200,000 acres across the state. In honor of this momentous occasion, here are just a few collections related to our beautiful state parks. Please visit the Tennessee State Library and Archives to learn more about these collections and other resources – then get outside and enjoy those great outdoors!

Department of Conservation Photograph Collection, Record Group 82, 1937-1976:


This record group consists of more than 11,000 photographs and 21,000 negatives produced for publication in the magazine Tennessee Wildlife (later The Tennessee Conservationist) as well as tourism brochures, annual reports, presentations and displays at county fairs. Series 27, State Parks, provides a documentary history of the state parks, including their development by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s.

Some digital versions are available as part of the Library Photograph Collection in the Tennessee Virtual Archive.

Aerial view of the Negro State Park (now T.O. Fuller State Park) area looking south, taken over the Mississippi River at 1,000 feet, June 8, 1938 (RG 82). The state park system was segregated from its inception in 1937 with two parks established for African-Americans – T.O. Fuller and Booker T. Washington State Parks – before integration in the early 1960s.


Department of Conservation Records, Record Group 266, 1919-1987:


This record group consists of correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, and subject files relating to the activities of the Department of Conservation for the years 1919 through 1987. In particular, the subject files contain extensive information on the creation and growth of the Tennessee state park system.

See the record group’s finding aid online HERE.

Visitor’s Centre diagram from the Report on the Master Plan for Panther Creek State Park, July 1966. (RG 266)


Tennessee State Parks Folklife Project Records, Record Group 59, 1979-1984:


Started in 1979, the Tennessee State Parks Folklife Project aimed to document and preserve Tennessee culture by engaging local musicians, craftsmen, and storytellers in communities surrounding six state parks. While much of the collection focuses on music, art and other folk traditions, there are some materials on the history and development of the state parks.

The digital collection is available in the Tennessee Virtual Archive.

Soapmakers from Whiteville are pictured demonstrating the making of lye soap in front of Chickasaw State Park program spectators. (RG 59)


Game and Fish Conservation Commission Records, Record Group 16, 1933-1937:


This collection consists of records from the short-lived, independent Game and Fish Department (1933-1935) in addition to those of the Game and Fish Conservation Commission (1935-1937). It includes the correspondence of two State Wardens, reports, meeting minutes and other materials.

The collection’s finding aid is available online HERE.

January 1934 issue of The Open Trails, a periodical produced by the Game and Fish Conservation Commission. It is one of nine in the collection, covering May 1933 to January 1934. (RG 16)


Department of Conservation Records, Record Group 19, 1937-1959:


For more information on the development of wildlife management programs in Tennessee, check out Record Group 19, which consists primarily of correspondence, speeches, financial records and minutes. The bulk of the correspondence belongs to Jim Nance McCord, who served as Commissioner of Conservation from 1953-1959.

The collection’s finding aid is available online HERE.

Pictorial map of Norris Lake Forest and Vicinity, June 1937, by H.R. Franco. (RG 19)



Civilian Conservation Corps in Tennessee Collection, 1933-1942:


As mentioned previously, the Civilian Conservation Corps was greatly involved in the development of the state parks in Tennessee. This collection contains two field reports: Fall Creek Falls Recreational Demonstration Area and Montgomery Bell Project Reclamation Area. There are also maps and photographs of these two parks.

This collection’s finding aid is available online HERE.

Cover for the report on Fall Creek Falls Recreational Demonstration Area. (Civilian Conservation Corps in Tennessee Collection, 1933-1942)



CCC 50th Anniversary Collection, Record Group 93:


The Civilian Conservation Corps 50th Anniversary Collection consists of yearbooks, camp newspapers, photographs, and other records documenting the experience and work of the CCC in Tennessee.

Photograph of unnamed men and women by the lake at Big Ridge State Park, taken by Otto F. Haslbauer Norris, date unknown. (RG 93)


Tennessee State Parks Brochures


Our final collection is part of our library holdings and consists of brochures from our many state parks ranging from 1956 to the present. Some of the brochures provide basic information about the park, while others serve as trail guides and wildlife aids.


Both sides of a brochure for Reelfoot Lake in West Tennessee



The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tennessee's Constitutions on Display!

By Heather Adkins

From June 1 to June 3, Tennessee’s constitutions will be on display at the Library & Archives. We are proud to present all three constitutions for the first time in the current building. However, it is not the first time a Tennessee constitution has been on display. The state constitutions have a long history of exhibition during times of change and celebration.

Chattanooga Times, Aug. 14, 1949, Newspapers on Microfilm



The constitutions once resided at the Tennessee Capitol Building. John Trotwood Moore and Mary Daniel Moore, who each served as State Librarian and Archivist, kept them in a safe, which Mrs. Moore believed was captured from the Germans during World War I and put into use by Mr. Moore, according to an article printed in the Chattanooga Times Aug. 14, 1949. Mrs. Moore, during her tenure, periodically aired the constitutions. At the time of the 1949 article, it had been several years since Mrs. Moore had brought out the 1870 Constitution. Up until the 1950s, the 1870 Constitution was noted as the oldest, unamended state constitution in the country. On the 1949 occasion, amendments were on the horizon. Upon studying the signatures, Mrs. Moore stated, “I feel like they’re all old friends. I’ve read and studied about them so much.” She was the great-great-great granddaughter of James Rody, one of the signatories.

Nashville Tennessean, Nov. 29, 1953, Newspapers on Microfilm



As the 1953 amendments took effect, the 1870 Constitution was once again brought out. Assistant State Archivist Robert T. Quarles, Jr. stood guard at that time. It was a historic moment, adding eight new amendments to a constitution that hadn’t been amended in 83 years. Governor Frank Clement announced that the amendments would be recorded on parchment similar to that of the original constitution and they would be preserved with it.

Nashville Tennessean, May 30, 1971, Vertical Files



Statehood Day 1971 marked another occasion for display of the constitutions. It was the state’s 175th birthday. Festivities included a fireworks display, a rock group, square dancers, a watermelon feast (40,000 pounds of watermelon), an anvil firing and special exhibits. An array of celebrities like Dolly Parton and Minnie Pearl were in attendance. Among the records exhibited were the 1796 constitution and several letters of Governor John Sevier and Senators William Blount and William Cocke – three of Tennessee’s founding fathers. The celebration was jointly sponsored by the Tennessee Historical Commission and the Tennessee Arts Commission. A birthday cake, 10 feet long and weighing 300 pounds, shaped like the state, was served.

“Tennessee Treasures: Old Hickory to Elvis, A Bicentennial Traveling Museum brochure, 1993-1994



In the early 1990s, the Tennessee constitutions and the archivists that protect them became road-wise travelers. The state was gearing up for its bicentennial in 1996. To celebrate, a statewide tour called Tennessee Treasures was constructed by the Tennessee 200 State Bicentennial Commission and Tennessee State Museum under the auspices of Governor Ned McWherter. From 1993 to December 1994, over 130 artifacts would be on display, including the 1796 constitution. All 95 counties had the opportunity to host the exhibit.

Nashville Tennessean, Dec. 5, 2012



Most recently, all three constitutions were on display at the Tennessee Supreme Court Building in Nashville for the opening of the Tennessee Judiciary Museum. The dedication of the museum in December 2012 marked two special occasions: the culmination of the work and partnership it took to open the museum, and the first time for the three constitutions to be on display together. The display of the constitutions in the most prestigious court of Tennessee visually reinforced their import as the pillars of Tennessee’s government and law. Although the constitutions’ stay at the Supreme Court was brief, their appearance together had great impact.

We hope you’ll join us this June in celebrating Tennessee’s statehood. The constitutions are available for public viewing June 1 and 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and June 3 from 9 a.m. to noon and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.




The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tennessee Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped launches “Build a Better World” series

By Ruth Hemphill

The Tennessee Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (TLBPH) is launching a “Build a Better World” series of summer reading programs. Running from May 31 to Aug. 2, 2017, all participants have opportunities to win prizes! Each time someone reports a title they have read between May 31 and Aug. 2, they will be entered in a prize drawing. Prizes include toys for children and gift cards for those who are older.

(L to R) Chuck Sherrill, Heather Fach, and Lori Lockhart, will share information on their subject of expertise.


Programs include presentations on topics that will help Tennessee become a better world. Each Wednesday at 1 p.m. CDT, an “expert” will talk about a topic, such as...

  • Genealogy with Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist, Chuck Sherrill;
  • Quilting with Lori Lockhart, Archivist at the Tennessee State Library and Archives;
  • and Horses in Tennessee, with Heather Fach, Content Access Specialist at the TLBPH.

Other topics include: Disability Law, Job Hunting, BARD Express, Tennessee Council of the Blind, National Federation of the Blind of Tennessee, U.S. Civil War and Retired Racing Greyhound Adoption.

In addition, there are weekly “Choose Your Own Adventure” programs for children, and a YA CafĂ© for young adults, led by Roy Lee, TLBPH reader advisor.

All of these programs are “virtual” call-in programs to allow TLBPH patrons all over Tennessee the opportunity to participate. Registration is required. To virtually attend a program, call the library at (800) 342-3308 to register and receive instructions on how to participate. For each program a person attends, they will receive five entries into the drawing. The more someone participates, the more opportunities they will have to win, but someone could win with just one entry!

For more information on the Summer Reading Club and programs or who is eligible to borrow books from the TLBPH, go to: www.sos.tn.gov/tsla/lbph.



The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State

Friday, May 26, 2017

Honoring Tennessee's World War I veterans on Memorial Day

By Allison Griffey

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, has been celebrated for over 150 years. Initially, only Civil War dead were honored on this day; however, this tradition changed almost a century ago at the close of World War I. Over 53,000 Americans died in World War I and around 4,000 of those servicemen were Tennesseans. After sustaining such a great loss, Americans began to honor those who gave their lives in military service on Memorial Day.

Crowds line the streets as returning World War I soldiers parade up Capitol Boulevard. Between March 31 & April 6, 1919, a temporary victory arch was installed at the intersection of Capitol Boulevard and Union Street, and returning soldiers marched through the arch toward the Capitol.
Library Collection. Tennessee State Library and Archives


Likewise, World War I added to the Memorial Day tradition as the American Legion Auxiliary encouraged citizens to purchase and wear red poppies made by veterans in remembrance of the war dead. The poppy was popularized by the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrea, written in 1915 after presiding over the funeral of his comrade, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres.


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.



According to the American Battle Monuments Commission, there are four Tennesseans buried in Flanders Field American Cemetery. One of these soldiers, Private Fred C. Guth, has a file in the Tennessee Gold Star Records, available on the Tennessee Virtual Archive. Pvt. Guth served in Headquarters Company, 119th Infantry Regiment as a part of the famed 30th Infantry Division, also known as the “Old Hickory” Division because it was composed of National Guard units from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Fred C. Guth, United States Army Infantry, 30th Division, 119th Regiment
Tennessee World War I Gold Star Records, Tennessee Virtual Archive


In the last letter his mother received, written “Somewhere in France” Aug. 4, 1918, Pvt. Guth wrote “I know you are worrying but Mamma you must think about you are one in millions, and be glad that you do not have to worry for all of us, and have faith and hopes of me getting through safe and I will do my part.” Though Pvt. Guth never returned from Flanders Field, Americans have continued to “hold the torch high” on Memorial Day by honoring those of us who have made the supreme sacrifice.

American Legion Auxiliary's Poppy Poster Contest shows children with posters, circa 1950.
Library Collection. Tennessee State Library and Archives


To learn more about Tennessee's role in World War I, we encourage you to visit our "World War I" page on the Military Records section of our website. From there you can view our Resource Guide to World War I records. You can also view digital images from the First World War on the Tennessee Virtual Archive, including Tennessee's Gold Star Records.



The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State

Monday, May 8, 2017

Agriculture and Commerce: Training Future Tennessee Farmers

By Heather Adkins

Springtime is finally upon Tennessee and the flowers are in bloom. While some Tennesseans may hide away from the newly-released allergens, others are preparing their gardens. Before you head to the local store for a fresh supply of seedlings, check out your local high schools. Many Tennessee high schools have Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs. The FFA offers students instruction in vocational agriculture and training in farmer citizenship. Some FFA chapters host spring fundraisers selling student-grown flowers, vegetables and herbs to the community.

Commissioner J. Warf, Department of Education (left), during presentation of a poster for National Future Farmers Week



The FFA organized nationally in November 1928, during a time when boys were losing interest in farming as a profession. This movement away from farming professions deeply impacted states like Tennessee, with its economy largely dependent on agriculture. Walter S. Newman, the Virginia state supervisor of agricultural education, had proposed in 1925 forming an organization for farm boys that offered “a greater opportunity for self-expression and for the development of leadership. In this way they will develop confidence in their own ability and pride in the fact that they are farm boys.”

A constitution and bylaws were drafted, and the Future Farmers of Virginia was formed in 1926. By 1928, the idea of future farmers programs gained national traction. At the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City, Missouri, 33 young students from 18 states gathered that year to form the national FFA. In 1950, Congress granted the FFA a federal charter, making it an integral part of public agricultural instruction under the National Vocation Education Acts.

Governor Browning proclaims Future Farmers of America Week in Tennessee, 1952



The Future Farmers of Tennessee was organized in September 1927, almost a year before the national FFA. The first state convention was held in Nashville on April 20, 1928. At the time, there were only 1,000 members in 41 local chapters across the state. Today, the Tennessee FFA Association consists of more than 14,000 members and 220 chapters. The local chapters uphold the mission of both state and national levels, including leadership and character development, sportsmanship, cooperation, service, thrift, scholarship, improved agriculture, organized recreation, citizenship and patriotism.

In 1935, a national agriculture organization for African-American boys called the New Farmers of America (NFA) formed in Tuskegee, Alabama, although the group had its beginnings in Virginia. The NFA and FFA had many common beliefs and similar missions. These similarities, along with the state and local desegregation of schools, prompted the consolidation the two groups under FFA name in 1965.

“More Charity When Needed,” The Tennessee Future Farmer, Feb. 1947, RG 92



In 1930, the FFA national convention delegates voted to deny membership to girls. In Tennessee, girls were encouraged to join the Future Homemakers of America (FHA), which aimed to help with forging family bonds, career preparation and participation in the community. This co-curricular organization continues today as the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. Both the FFA and the FHA were featured in the monthly magazine The Tennessee Future Farmers. It wasn’t until 1969 that girls gained full FFA membership privileges, recognized for the integral role women have played on farms and in agriculture. Today, females represent more than 45 percent of membership and about half of all state leadership positions.

[P. Warner Frazier to Sadie Warner Frazier discussing a Florida FFA Forestry Camp, Sadie Warner Frazier Papers



From the local level up to the FFA national convention, students are encouraged to participate in agricultural activities that not only expand and test their knowledge, but help spread that knowledge in their communities. FFA events host various competitions in different fields to evaluate students’ skills and knowledge of agriscience. Summer camps and special skills camps are arranged for students to attend (Tennessee’s FFA camp is now open for registration). Outstanding members are awarded for their work. Applied learning is emphasized through classroom education and supervised hands-on agricultural experiences. FFA programs help members develop public speaking skills, conduct and participate in meetings, manage finances, strengthen problem-solving abilities and assume civic responsibility.

Future farmers judge a class of corn at the West Tennessee Crop Judging contest in Humboldt. Cover of The Tennessee Future Farmer, Feb. 1947, RG 92



You can support local FFA chapters by attending FFA competitions and activities, supporting fundraisers and making donations. If you don't know if your community has an active chapter, you can find out here: https://www.tnffa.org/page.aspx?ID=55. You can also support FFA by talking to the Tennessee FFA Foundation, a nonprofit organization established to help support students seeking personal development and careers in agricultural fields. The foundation publishes a newsletter, which reports on financial updates, fundraising opportunities and FFA scholarships: https://www.tnffa.org/foundation.aspx.

Tennessee state motto: Agriculture and Commerce

FFA motto: Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve

Learn more about Future Farmers of America:



The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State