Monday, February 20, 2017

TLBPH recognizes Tennessee presidents for President's Day

By Ruth Hemphill

The great state of Tennessee has provided our country with three presidents - Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson. In honor of the upcoming President’s Day holiday, we highlight books about these three important historical figures.

The most well-known president from Tennessee is Andrew Jackson, the first Tennessean to become president. Although he was not a native Tennessean, Jackson claimed Tennessee as his home state, having moved here at the age of 20 to practice law. Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times, by H.W. Brands, is available from Tennessee Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped (TLBPH) in audio format as a commercial recording that has been adapted for libraries for the blind and physically handicapped across the country. Hearts of Hickory: A Story of Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812, a novel by former Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist John Trotwood Moore, is also available as an audio book.

The next Tennessean to follow Jackson into the White House was James K. Polk. A native of North Carolina, Polk served one term as United States president, from 1845 to 1849. Prior to his presidency, Polk served one term as governor of Tennessee, from 1839 to 1841 and represented Maury County in the Tennessee General Assembly from 1823 to 1825. Polk also served in Congress, having won election seven times and presided over the U.S. House as its speaker. He was the first former speaker of the House of Representatives to serve as president. TLBPH has James K. Polk: 11th President of the United States, by Miriam Greenblatt, and The Slender Reed: a Biographical Novel of James Knox Polk, Eleventh President of the United States by Noel B. Gerson, both available in braille. For audio book readers, we have The Presidency of James K. Polk, by Paul H. Bergeron.

Andrew Johnson, another North Carolina native who later moved to Tennessee, took office following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Johnson was the first vice-president to gain the office following an assassination. Johnson served as president of the United States from 1865 to 1869. Prior to his presidency, he served in the Tennessee General Assembly, the U.S. House of Representatives and as governor of Tennessee, both as an elected executive and as an appointed military governor during the Civil War. Johnson also has the dubious distinction of being the first president to be impeached, following the U.S. House of Representatives' vote on 11 articles of impeachment against him. Books about Johnson in TLBPH’s collections include: The Avenger Takes His Place: Andrew Johnson and the 45 Days that Changed the Nation, by Howard Means, which is available in braille, and The Presidency of Andrew Johnson, by Albert Castel, available in audio format.

We also have biographies of presidents available for children, including such titles as: Who Let Muddy Boots Into the White House: A Story of Andrew Jackson, by Robert M. Quackenbush, and James K. Polk, 11th President of the United States, by Miriam Greenblatt. Both are available in audio format.

All of these books are also available in print format and some on compact discs from public libraries across the state of Tennessee.

TLBPH is a division of the Tennessee State Library & Archives, which is part of Secretary of State Tre Hargett's office. For more information on eligibility to borrow books from TLBPH, and what is available, see:

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

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