Thursday, August 22, 2019

LABM Summer Reading Program celebrates a phenomenal year!

By Ruth Hemphill

The Tennessee Library for Accessible Books & Media’s (TLABM) summer programs has come to an end, but it was a phenomenal year!

This year the programs consisted of weekly podcasts following the theme, “A Universe of Stories.” There were three new podcasts posted each week of interviews conducted with various people discussing their passions and careers, since we all have our own story that makes up the universe in which we all live.

There were podcasts geared for children, podcasts for young adults and podcasts for adults, but anyone could listen to any of the podcasts, if they chose. People who do not have access to the internet can get a recording of the podcasts each week that would play on the audio book player that is available to patrons of TLABM.

Popular podcasts included “Zombies and You: A Life and Death Conversation” with Jacob Lankford, a Wildlife Sciences specialist; “Healthy Mouth, Healthy Life,” with Mirna Caldwell, D.M.D. and “Healthy Aging Made Accessible” with Dr. James Powers, Clinical Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Quality Aging.

These podcasts are still available on the TLABM website:

The podcasts were so popular that TLABM plans to continue the program in the summer of 2020 when the statewide library theme will be “Imagine Your Story!” Be sure to check our website in 2020 for more information.

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Meet the Staff - Mary DePeder

Meet Mary DePeder. She is a Micrographics Imaging Operator with the Preservation and Digitization department.

How long have you worked here?

I was very recently hired! I started in January of 2019.

What are some of the things you do as a Micrographics Imaging Operator?

The bulk of my time is spent readying materials to be microfilmed. This includes capturing images of archival and library materials on our digital cameras that I then edit and process in the archive writer. This entails a significant amount of quality checking to ensure that digitized materials are as accessible as possible for public use. When not working on my productivity, I also take on special projects like my current role as a content contributor for the upcoming women’s suffrage centennial.

What is your favorite part of your job?

One of the things I really enjoy is handling original documents every day. Currently I am working on 1918 birth records which so often read like small dramas in the lives of everyday Tennesseans. There’s so much data and research to be mined from these records to help fill in our understanding of ordinary citizens and Tennessee life, so to play a small part in that process is very exciting.

What collection or resource are you excited about right now?

Besides the women’s suffrage collection which we will be highlighting extensively over the next year, I am excited about the John Sales and Christopher D. Ammons Vietnam War collections. These collections cover a period I’m very interested in which is mid to late twentieth century American history. The contents include humorous and sobering letters home and extensive photos that are formidable in widening my understanding of the long term effects of the Vietnam War both locally and abroad.

What do you wish more people knew about the State Library and Archives?

Since I am still fairly new here I have yet to stumble upon any trapdoors or secret passageways. But coming from a public library background one of the primary goals was to widen the public’s perception of what a library is and what it can do for the community and the individual. And so I will take up that same charge again with the state library and archives. One visit or click is simply not enough. Libraries and archives are not static institutions but rather they add and evolve and redirect the public’s eyes to new discoveries. So revisit because who knows what new workshop, book, or collection will be waiting for you next.

Do you have a favorite historical figure, event, or place in Tennessee history?

This is a very difficult question to answer! So I’m going to cheat a little and mention a place/historical figure(s) I have been researching lately for fun on the side. The 1970 Memphis chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is a fascinating organization because it’s complicated and messy and provides lots of room for exploring race, gender, and class conflicts within feminism’s second wave. While certainly not a perfect organization, Memphis NOW was a hotbed of intersectionality working with and against Civil Rights members, anti-feminist groups, and other NOW organizations to help transform themselves and their local communities. To me, this makes it an exciting and important piece of Tennessee history.

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

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Honoring the Historic Women's Schools of Tennessee

By Megan Spainhour

It’s August, and that means back to school! As students meet new teachers, explore new subjects and rush back to see old and new friends, we pay homage to historic colleges of Tennessee, and specifically, historical women’s colleges that were once a staple in Tennessee education, but have since closed and can now only be found in the pages of history.

Anthenaeum College, Columbia, 1866. Book Stacks, 14th Annual Catalogue.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Colleges for women typically began as female seminaries in the 18th and 19th centuries, when educational opportunities for women were limited. Beginning in 1820, women’s education grew into a growing trend to support women’s equality. According to the Women’s College Coalition, "Seminaries educated women for the only socially acceptable occupation: teaching. Only unmarried women could be teachers. Many early women's colleges began as female seminaries and were responsible for producing an important corps of educators."

Ward Seminary, Nashville, 1902, Book Stacks.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

In Nashville alone, several ladies institutions sprang up, from Boscobel College to Buford College to the Nashville College for Young Ladies. Boscobel College was in operation from 1889 to 1916. Its primary objective was to be able to provide the lowest cost for higher education to young ladies. The 10 acre campus was located in East Nashville overlooking the Cumberland River. The East Nashville fire of 1916 effected its closing.

Boscobel College, Nashville. 1910. Books Stacks, Salmagindi Yearbook.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Boscobel College, 1910. Books Stacks, Salmagindi Yearbook.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Boscobel College, 1910. Women’s basketball team. Books Stacks, Salmagindi Yearbook.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Dr. Price’s Nashville College for Young Ladies sat not far from East Nashville, where the current federal building sits on Broadway in downtown Nashville. Nashville College for Young Ladies provided a well-rounded education and covered kindergarten to college age. They touted themselves as the "Leading Southern School for the Advanced Education of Women."

Dr Price’s Nashville College for Young Ladies, Nashville- 1896, Book Stacks, The Talisman.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

One of NCYL’s associates, Mary Elizabeth Burgess Buford, became a top educator in Nashville, and went on to found Buford College in Clarksville. Buford College moved to Nashville in 1901 in the neighborhood of Green Hills and Oak Hill area. According to its publications, Buford College was adorned with gardens, springs, an electric car line and even featured a hennery and dairy for healthy dietary needs. After a few more moves around the city, Buford College closed in 1920.

Buford College, Nashville, 1912- Domestic Science Class. Book Stacks, The Mirror Yearbook.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

On the south side of Nashville, right off of Nolensville Road, sits a hill that once held another educational institution for females, Radnor College. Radnor College was started by A.N. Eshman. and served from 1906 until 1914. In 1921, a fire claimed the college’s main building. The school also had its own printing plant nearby, operating for the Cumberland Presbyterian Publishing House until 1924.

Radnor College, Nashville, undated. Tennessee Postcard Collection.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Of course, there were several other women’s colleges outside of Nashville as well. In Murfreesboro, a female academy named Soule College ran from 1851 until 1917. During the Civil War in 1862, the school closed temporarily so that it could function as a hospital by both Confederate and Union Soldiers.

Soule College, Murfreesboro- Newspaper Clipping, 1943, Vertical Files.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Elsewhere in Tennessee, East Tennessee Female Institute operated out of Knoxville, Howard Female College educated out of Gallatin, Tennessee Female College served in Franklin, Centenary Female College in Cleveland, Mary Sharp College in Winchester, Brinkley Female College in Memphis, and Moses Fisk’s Female Academy in Hilham, among others here and there.

Howard Female College, Gallatin, 1915, Book Stacks, School Directory.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Tennessee Female College, Franklin, 1904-School Directory.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Tennessee Female College, Franklin, 1904-Book Stacks, School Directory.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

The education provided to these ladies by the fine educators of Tennessee helped to further women’s equality and rights and it can be arguably concluded that their resourcefulness led to the equality we experience today, especially now as we celebrate the 100th year of the passage of the 19th amendment and Tennessee’s important role in this historic milestone.

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

Monday, August 12, 2019

Traveling Tennesseans exhibit now on display!

By Caroline Voisine

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is proud to announce the installation of its latest exhibit, 'Traveling Tennesseans.' Open to the public now this will be the last exhibit featured at the Library and Archives current building. This exhibit features materials from the Library and Archives’ extensive collections and focuses on the travels of Tennesseans all over the world.

In this exhibit, we explore the postcards, notebooks, photographs, souvenirs and more from Tennesseans who journeyed beyond their hometowns. In this exhibit we explore a scrapbook of snippets from the adventures of everyday citizens as well as artists, missionaries and military personnel outside of Tennessee.

The Library and Archives is proud to exhibit not only its visual walled displays but also a curated selection of original archival material. Five exhibition cases will be filled with material from different manuscript and government records collections.

'Traveling Tennesseans' will be open to public Tuesday-Saturday, during regular business hours. 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. CT. Visitors can view the exhibit in the front lobby of the Library and Archives building, located at 403 7th Avenue North in Nashville.

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

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Remember the Ladies: Origins of the Woman Suffrage Movement

By Patsy Mitchell

Women march for the right to vote in a Nashville parade for women's suffrage, approximately 1915. Sadie Warner Frazer Papers, 1894-1974

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in the United States with the ratification of the 19th amendment by the Tennessee General Assembly. By the summer of 1920, 35 states had ratified the Amendment, bringing it just one state shy of the constitutional majority needed to make it law. When the Tennessee House of Representatives voted to ratify on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became that crucial final state, earning itself the nickname The Perfect 36. Over the next year, we will be sharing stories of the women’s suffrage movement from across the state to celebrate Tennessee’s unique role in this major turning point in American history. The first story in our series explores the origins of the women’s suffrage movement in the Volunteer State.

In a letter to her husband on March 31, 1776, founding mother Abigail Adams wrote, “Remember the ladies,” when establishing the burgeoning nation’s Code of Laws, and “[i]f particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies, we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.” Adams was issuing a warning in the midst of the American Revolution that women, if denied representation, would revolt against the tyranny of men. So began a 144-year fight for women’s right to vote. Following her warning were suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, who, in 1848 organized the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Tennessee women, meanwhile, were challenging laws and asserting their rights at home.

As early as 1837, women in Cannon County, Tennessee petitioned the state legislature to pass anti-liquor laws intended to protect women from abusive men under the influence of alcohol. Similar social reform efforts related to prohibition came from the women of Marshall and Campbell counties in Tennessee. In 1849, the women of Fayette County petitioned the legislature for property rights. Various reform movements, such as abolition, education, women’s rights, and temperance, gave women the opportunity to organize politically, speak publicly, and develop the networks that would be integral to the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Legislative Petition No. 61, 1841, in which the women of Campbell County request the passage of anti-liquor laws in order to fight pauperism, crime, untimely deaths, and other “social evils.” Records of the Tennessee General Assembly, 1796-, RG 60

With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, women turned their attention to the war effort, some advocating for the end of slavery and civil rights for the newly emancipated. Reconstruction saw the realization of some of these goals, but also produced disappointments and obstacles to the women’s suffrage movement. The 14th Amendment, passed in 1868, defined eligible voters as male citizens over twenty-one years old, introducing the first mention of gender to the Constitution. The 15th Amendment, passed in 1870, further affirmed that voting rights would not be denied on account of one’s race, but made no similar protections based on sex. These setbacks led a number of suffragists to pursue a strategy called “the New Departure,” by which they would vote illegally, undergo arrest, and challenge the law in court, as in the infamous case of Susan B. Anthony in 1872.

Susan B. Anthony as pictured in the book History of Woman Suffrage by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (New York, Fowler & Wells, 1881-[1922]).

That same year, Elizabeth Avery Meriwether, of Memphis, registered to vote in Tennessee. An outspoken advocate for women’s rights, Meriwether published her own newspaper, The Tablet, to express her controversial views on women’s suffrage. Despite her stance on women’s rights, Elizabeth had a complicated relationship with other progressive causes as a vocal supporter of the Confederacy and later the Ku Klux Klan. Her sister-in-law, Lide Meriwether, was active in the reform movement and established the state’s first women’s suffrage organization in Memphis in 1889. Many white Southerners, however, saw women’s suffrage as a threat to existing gender roles and worried it would increase the number of black voters. White suffragists, particularly in Southern states, attempted to address the latter concern by arguing that white women voters would outnumber black women voters. Problematic intersections between race and gender would continue to plague the women’s movement up to and beyond ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Portrait of Elizabeth Avery Meriwether from her book Recollections of 92 Years, 1824-1916 (Tennessee Historical Commission, 1958).

Despite Southern resistance, the women’s suffrage movement continued to grow in Tennessee with organizations emerging in Maryville in 1893 and Nashville in 1894. A total of ten suffrage organizations formed across the state by the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897, where members met to hear addresses from leading suffragists and formed a statewide organization. The Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association (TESA) held state-level conventions in the three grand divisions, but had the special privilege of hosting the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) convention in May 1914. Disagreement among TESA members over the location led to a rift in the organization, with Lizzie Crozier French, of Knoxville, ultimately becoming president of the newly formed TESA, Inc. and Nashville serving as the convention’s host city. Around the same time, African American men and women across the state were taking up women’s suffrage through debates and lectures at venues like the Majestic Theatre in Nashville. Black and white suffragists, however, continued to work separately, in part because white women feared that the enfranchisement of black women would dissuade white men from supporting the cause.

A booklet containing the by-laws of the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association, general surveys of work with reports from each league, and notes from the proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention, 1916. Frances Holder Overall Papers, 1867-1918

The entrance of the United States into World War I, however, led many suffrage organizations, particularly those affiliated with NAWSA, to redirect their activities to the war effort. One exception to this disruption was the National Woman’s Party (NWP). Beginning as the Congressional Union in 1914, the NWP was founded by Alice Paul who believed that suffragists should pursue a constitutional amendment instead of focusing on suffrage legislation at the state level. In January 1917, NWP members began protesting the White House with banners that referred to President Woodrow Wilson as “Kaiser Wilson” and asked, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?” Joining them in 1919 was Sue Shelton White, of Jackson, Tennessee, who was arrested and forced to serve five days in jail. She was one of many women arrested during these demonstrations.

This headline proclaiming, “Suffragists Burn Wilson in Effigy; Sue White Leader,” appeared in the February 10, 1919 issue of the Nashville Tennessean. Tennessee Electronic Library, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Nashville Tennessean

Thanks to the groundwork laid by multiple generations of suffragists over many decades, the women of Tennessee stood ready to push the 19th Amendment across the finish line and bring votes for women to every state in the nation. Stay tuned for more Suffrage Stories as we continue this centennial commemoration. In the meantime, explore the history of this movement through our online collection Women’s Suffrage in Tennessee in the Tennessee Virtual Archive.

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

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Apollo 11 at 50: A 50 State Tour

By Lauren Hamric

On July 24, 1969, Apollo 11 safely splashed down into the Pacific Ocean. Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins had flown all the way to the moon and back. Armstrong and Aldrin had set foot upon the moon, the first human beings to do so.

Apollo 11 Astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin. This photograph was sent to Governor Buford Ellington as part of a press kit for the Apollo 11 Fifty-State Tour from 1970-1971. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Governor Buford Ellington (Second Term) Papers, 1867-1971.
Available via the Tennessee Virtual Archive.

Apollo 11 Launch. This photograph was sent to Governor Buford Ellington as part of a press kit for the Apollo 11 Fifty-State Tour from 1970-1971. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Governor Buford Ellington (Second Term) Papers, 1867-1971.
Available via the Tennessee Virtual Archive.

Apollo Log, Governor Buford Ellington (Second Term) Papers, 1967-1971.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Looking back on it, knowing what we all know now, it is easy to forget how impressive the feat truly was. Reading through issues of The Nashville Tennessean from July 1969, available to Tennesseans through the Tennessee Electronic Library, you see the uncertainty, wonder, and excitement felt by so many. Tennesseans can access that resource HERE. Like all Americans, Tennesseans were glued to their televisions and newspapers.

Nashville Tennessean, July 25, 1969, front page, accessed via Tennessee Electronic Library.

Over the course of 1970 and 1971, NASA sent the Apollo 11 module, a moon rock, and other artifacts on a tour of all 50 state capitals. The exhibit visited Nashville on September 18-21, 1970. In Governor Buford Ellington’s papers is a press kit for the exhibit. The press kit includes photographs, a press release, technical drawings, and a log of events from the voyage. Two of the photographs can be viewed HERE on the Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA).

Press release, Governor Buford Ellington (Second Term) Papers, 1967-1971.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Drawing from Press Kit, Governor Buford Ellington (Second Term) Papers, 1967-1971.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Map of state capitals tour, Governor Buford Ellington (Second Term) Papers, 1967-1971.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Meet the Staff - Kim Henderson

Meet Kim Henderson. She is the Technical Services Assistant with the Buffalo River Regional Library.

How long have you worked here?

I’ve worked for the Regional Library since 1978. In December 2018, during the Service Awards Ceremony, I was recognized as the longest serving active employee of the Regional Library System. I began my career as a bookmobile/library clerk working on the bookmobile and as a book processor (on manual typewriters). I then moved into a full-time book processor position working with the first computer, gradually adding part-time cataloger to the mix, then full-time cataloger and processor. I finally moved into my present role as Technical Services Assistant.

What are some of the things you do as a Technical Services Assistant?

As Technical Services Assistant I do many jobs. I notify libraries of their yearly State and Federal allocated funds; track spending and number of items purchased; provide lists of approved vendors and specific instructions for each vendor; electronically place orders and reconcile packing slips/invoices for payment; and provide MARC records/cataloging for items not found in the state database.

I also provide one-on-one training to the librarians and library staff for Acquisitions or cataloging, both in person and by telephone. I am also a liaison between libraries and vendor reps.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job is the satisfaction of being an integral part of providing materials to public libraries. I’ve loved to read all my life. My mom told me that I would “read” my books to anyone who would listen since I was three – no I couldn’t actually read, but I had been read the books many times and was able to recite them, word-for-word. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes today.

Do you have a favorite collection?

Large print materials and e-books are my go-to now as I am getting older. The larger font, both in a hand-held book and on an electronic device, makes reading more comfortable and enjoyable. I read a wide variety of materials so I really don’t have a favorite genre, but if I had to pick just one it would be Christian Fiction.

What makes libraries and archives relevant to modern society?

Tennessee is rich in history and much of that history is available through libraries and archives. Libraries and archives are a vital link to information for ALL people, regardless of age, race, religion, politics, or economic status. Archivists diligently preserve and catalog our past, and in a hundred years or so from now, they will still be preserving and cataloging our present day-to-day lives for future generations, too.

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

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Highlights from Family History Summer Camp!

By Casey Gymrek

It has been a busy summer for our Education Outreach team!

Roughly a month ago, you may have seen some details regarding our very first Family History Summer Camp. As we are reminiscing on all our fun, we wanted to share a few photos chronicling that week.

We began our week as investigators, looking into the genealogy of two famous Tennesseans – Justin Timberlake and Dolly Parton! Through their families, we discovered the importance of vital records and the fun challenges that arise from large family trees.

We were even treated to a visit from our State Librarian, Chuck Sherrill.

Each day, the campers loved playing with our historic games on our front lawn – the Game of Graces is harder than it appears!

To place our own family histories in the greater context, we also explored various parts of Tennessee history through primary sources (like our fantastic map collection!) and games.

Each day, we put on our genealogists’ hats and got to work, digging through our family histories with the help of Ancestry. Some of our campers were able to trace back four or five generations!

Of course, we couldn’t get through summer camp without getting a little messy, and so the campers were introduced to historic food by creating their own hardtack. Most of our campers would not recommend eating the hard, particularly bland cracker.

One of campers’ favorite days included a visit from Kim Wires, who shared with us some awesome and (maybe a bit morbid) items and stories from our Tennessee State Supreme Court Collection.

Other days included exciting field trips around downtown Nashville. Our trip to the Capitol enlightened the campers into our governmental history, and another trip allowed us to “march” to the Hermitage Hotel in our women’s suffrage memorabilia to highlight our excitement for the 2020 centennial celebration of the passing of the 19th Amendment!

Our last day included an amazing scavenger hunt on African Americans in Tennessee history at Bicentennial Mall State Park. All in all, we learned a lot about ourselves, our families, and our state. What a great week!

Education Team at the State Library and Archives would like to thank all the staff of the Library and Archives, the Tennessee State Capitol, the Hermitage Hotel, and Bicentennial Mall State Park staff that were tremendously helpful and supportive of our first summer camp. We could not have had this much fun in this new adventure without you!

Stay tuned for more exciting youth and family programming as we get closer to the opening of our new building!

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

Monday, July 8, 2019

Thousands of images from the Tennessee Department of Conservation now available on TeVA...

By Jennifer Randles

We’re celebrating summer by releasing over 6,000 images from the Department of Conservation Photograph Collection on the Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA)! This collection is a treasure trove of images documenting Tennessee people, places, and things from 1937-1976. The photos cover topics such as art, agriculture, fishing, folklife, cities & towns, wildlife, historic sites, nature, people, and industry.

Children feeding ducks in Watauga Lake, in Centennial Park, Nashville, Tennessee. 1955.

James L. Bailey, Supervisor of the Educational Service, Department of Conservation, with Conservation students Donald Pitts of Hixon,Tennessee, and James King of Erwin, Tennessee at Fall Creek Falls State Park. 1957.

A roadside table, one mile west of Linden, Tennessee, with a family seated at it. 1953.

Opryland U.S.A., Nashville, Tennessee. This water slide was known as the "flume zoom or "flume ride." 1972.

The photographs were created for the Department of Conservation's magazine and also used to promote tourism from 1937-1976. Now that these images are part of TeVA, they are even easier to search, browse, and download. The digital collection is an ongoing project, with a goal to publish the entire Department of Conservation Photograph Collection for public access online by the end of 2019. Visit the collection at and keep coming back to see what we have added.

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