Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Women’s History Month—A Photo Essay of Tennessee Women

By Beth Cavanaugh

Every year, the month of March is recognized as “Women’s History Month.” At the Tennessee State Library and Archives, women’s papers including diaries, journals, and letters comprise a significant part of our collections. There are numerous documents relevant to Women’s Studies at the local, state, and national levels which cover subjects such as military, suffrage, journalism, politics, and social life. In 1987, Congress expanded National Women’s History Week to a month, and it has issued a resolution every year since then proclaiming March to be Women’s History Month. While recognition of Women’s History Month is a fairly recent phenomenon, the important historical contributions made by women have been chronicled for many years. Many photos at the Library and Archives tell the story of these contributions and their impact on Tennessee and the world.

Carrie Chapman Catt was a field organizer with Susan B. Anthony, and founded the League of Women Voters. Catt’s leadership was a key factor in Tennessee becoming “The Perfect 36,” the last state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. This undated photograph is by Bachrach Studios and is part of the League of Women Voters of Tennessee Papers, 1920-1989.



Anne Dallas Dudley, a native Nashvillian, was a national and state leader in the fight for women's suffrage who worked tirelessly to secure the ratification of the 19th Amendment in Tennessee. This picture of Dudley reading with her children, Trevania and Guilford, Jr., was used in women's suffrage publicity materials to counter the stereotypes of suffragists as mannish radicals intent on destroying the American family. This undated photo is from the Library Photograph Collection.



Corinne Dodds Sanders was a suffragist, a national leader in the League of Women Voters, and the first woman in the South to vote. She cast her historic ballot in a 1917 municipal election in Lookout Mountain, which had just passed local women's suffrage that year. This photo is from the April 29, 1916 issue of The Lookout, the official publication of the Tennessee Federation of Women's Clubs from the Tennessee Federation of Women's Clubs Records, 1893-1992.



Jeanette Tillotson Acklen marched for suffrage in the Tennessee campaign and was married to U.S. Representative Joseph H. Acklen. In this photo, Acklen holds the banner she marched behind during the Tennessee campaign for women's suffrage. This photo is from the January 18, 1948 issue of the Nashville Tennessean Magazine.



After the United States entered World War II, Jean Anderson joined the Red Cross and served overseas in the Civilian War Relief department. In this photograph, Anderson is wearing her Red Cross uniform and a portion of Oxford University, where she was stationed, can be seen in the background. This photo from February 7, 1944 is from the Sadie Warner Frazer (1885-1974) Papers, 1894-1974.



These four women were the first women stationed at Quantico Marine Base. Lieutenant Abbott, on the left, is pictured handing her orders to Lieutenant Colonel W. P. Kelly as the other three women observe. Mary Washington Frazer is the second woman from the left. During her commission as a Marine officer, Frazer was stationed at Quantico Marine Base as the Assistant Adjutant General. This photo from November 10, 1943 is from the Sadie Warner Frazer (1885-1974) Papers, 1894-1974.



We hope you’ll take this opportunity to visit The Library and Archives’ Public Services Resource Guide #07, “Women’s Studies at the Tennessee State Library and Archives,” on our website for a list of excellent collections relevant to women’s history. We also encourage you to visit us in person or online to learn more.

You can view all of these photos online on the Tennessee Virtual Archive: https://teva.contentdm.oclc.org/customizations/global/pages/index.html.


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

Friday, March 15, 2019

Meet the Staff - Caitlyn Haley

Meet Caitlyn Haley. She is the Assistant Director with the Red River Regional Library.

How long have you worked here?

I have worked for Red River Regional Library since November of 2016. Before that, I was an intern for Public Services at the Library and Archives during the summer of 2015!

What are some of the things you do as an Assistant Director?

As an Assistant Director of a regional library, I work on a lot of interesting projects. I organize and put on training sessions for 14 public libraries and their staff. I work one-on-one with public library directors on topics like affordable internet access, grants, disaster preparedness, and of course, READS and TEL training sessions. I attend board meetings with the regional director. I also get to work with library boards, which is a fun part of the job! I help develop statewide training sessions that the Tennessee State Library and Archives puts on, with my fellow Assistant Directors throughout the state and with the Planning and Development Staff in Nashville.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is learning more and more each day how special public libraries are to Tennesseans. I have the privilege of traveling around my region to visit rural and urban public libraries and seeing the amazing work they do for their local communities. I also get to work with them to make their libraries better in a variety of ways, which is a very gratifying part of my job.



Do you have a favorite collection?

My favorite collection at TSLA is the Women’s Suffrage in Tennessee collection. Tennessee had an incredibly significant role in the national suffrage movement and I love the documents we have at the Library and Archives that document that time period.

What makes libraries and archives relevant to modern society?

Libraries and archives are relevant to modern society because they are the places we turn to when seeking clarity about our present day society. They give us clues, insights, explanations, and context for how we have arrived in today’s world. Libraries and archives are places of trust, knowledge, and growth for all citizens of our modern society.


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

Monday, March 11, 2019

Tennessee Railroads and Casey Jones: A brief history...

By Andrew McMahan

Tennessee has a rich railroading history. The state chartered several railroads before the Civil War, creating a system of track that was strategically vital for both Union and Confederate forces. These lines were also important for trade, turning a few Tennessee towns into shipping hubs. Until the construction of modern highways during the twentieth century, railroads were the dominant form of long-distance travel for both passengers and freight. One of the most famous railroad dramas in the United States had a strong connection to Tennessee.

The train engineer John Luther “Casey” Jones, now a folk hero, was born in a rural section of Missouri. As a boy, he moved with his family to Cayce, Kentucky. He later acquired the nickname “Casey” as a reference to his hometown. He subsequently moved to Jackson, Tennessee, where he married Janie Brady on November 25, 1886. He continued living in Jackson with his wife and eventually had three children.


Marriage record for John Luther "Casey" Jones and Janie Brady. Madison County Marriages Vol. I


Casey Jones had shown interest in the railroad as a young boy, and endeavored to become an engineer upon adulthood. He achieved this dream working for the Illinois Central Railroad. Jones was held in high esteem by his employers and fellow railroad workers and was known to run his locomotive quickly in order ensure that his train arrived on time. A few of his coworkers admitted that Jones did take risks, however he had only nine reprimands for safety violations and had not committed any such violation in the year prior to his death.


Casey Jones' locomotive, Engine No. 382. Dept. of Conservation Photograph Collection


After arriving in Memphis on the evening of April 29, 1900, having just completed a run, Jones and his fireman Sim Webb received word that the conductor of the south-bound passenger train the New Orleans Special, was sick and unable to perform his duties. Because no other engineer was available to make the run to Canton, Mississippi, Jones volunteered to take the sick man’s place and requested that his No. 382 be hooked up to the passenger cars. Jones climbed into the cab of No. 382 at 12:50 a.m., more than an hour and a half behind schedule, and ventured out into the foggy night. Determined to arrive on schedule, Jones ran the No. 382 at high speeds, sometimes traveling over 70 miles per hour, considerably faster than the normal 35 miles per hour average. Surprisingly, Jones was able to make up much of the lost time during his high-speed run. It looked as though Jones would be able to arrive in Canton on schedule.

A traffic jam had developed further down the line in Vaughan, just north of Canton. Jones received orders that the trains at Vaughan were to move from the main line to the siding so that he could pass by unimpeded. Unknown to Jones, one of the trains that he was to pass had suffered a malfunction which locked the brakes and stranded several freight cars and the caboose on the main track. He carried on barreling toward Canton. Jones rounded a blind curve just outside of Vaughan at high speed and was suddenly met by a caboose sitting on the track. Jones told Webb to jump, and in a desperate effort to stop the train the engineer applied the brakes, shut the throttle, and pulled back the reverse lever. Webb jumped from the locomotive, sustaining minor injuries. Although witnesses claimed Jones was able to slow the locomotive from 75 to about 35 miles per hour, No. 382 plowed through the caboose and several freight cars before derailing. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Casey Jones was “. . . found lying under the cab, with his skull crushed and the right arm torn from its socket.” However, thanks to his efforts, none of the other employees or passengers was killed or suffered serious injuries. His body was returned to Jackson and buried.


Sheet music for "Casey Jones." Kenneth D. Rose Sheet Music Collection


The circumstances surrounding the accident remained the subject of debate for years afterward. The Illinois Central’s official report stated that Jones had not heeded signals of the flagman or the warning torpedo placed on the track to warn the oncoming New Orleans Special about the stalled freight train. (A warning torpedo is a device placed on top of the track that emits a loud bang when run over by a train, signaling the crew to stop.) The IC maintained that Jones was solely responsible for the collision because he failed to acknowledge these warnings. However, Webb claimed that there was no torpedo on the track or flagman to alert the train.

Railroad accidents were not uncommon during this time, yet Jones became a folk hero after his death. Wallace Saunders, an African American engine wiper working for the IC, devised several verses about his friend’s tragic demise. The song proved popular among railroad men and Saunders frequently sang the tune for others. Soon after, two vaudeville performers incorporated the song into their act. The Southern California Music Company copyrighted the song “Casey Jones,” and T. Lawrence Seibert and Eddie Newton took credit for the words and music respectively. “Casey Jones” became a hit in the United States and around the world. Millions of copies of the sheet music were sold. Although he originally created the tune, Saunders never received any form of payment or royalties.


Sim Webb, the fireman on No. 382, talks about the famous wreck during the opening ceremony of the Casey Jones Museum in Jackson, TN. Dept. of Conservation Photograph Collection


Jones’ legacy lives on in Jackson, Tennessee. In 1956, the town opened the Casey Jones Railroad Museum in the house where he and his family lived at the time of his death. Janie Jones and Sim Webb were both present at the grand opening, along with Governor Frank Clement and several other Tennessee politicians. The museum celebrates Casey’s life as well as the age of steam engines. Some rooms in the house are furnished as they were when the Jones’ lived there, while others show artifacts and exhibits related to railroad history in the United States.


Casey Jones Museum in Jackson, TN, September 9, 1966. Dept. of Conservation Photograph Collection


Janie Jones at the Casey Jones Museum opening, April 30, 1956. Casey’s portrait is in the background. Dept. of Conservation Photograph Collection



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

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Tennessee State Library and Archives to Host Free Workshop on Tennessee Virtual Archive

Redesigned site provides free access to valuable Tennessee historical collections


The Tennessee State Library and Archives later this month will host a workshop on the newly-redesigned Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA). The free online repository of Tennessee’s history, containing thousands of digitized historic items from the collections of the Library and Archives, was overhauled in 2018 to make it mobile-friendly and more accessible to the public. TeVa contains valuable collections, such as photographs, documents, maps, postcards, audio and video.



Digital Materials Librarian Jennifer Randles will take attendees on a tour of the new website and demonstrate how to make the most of TeVA, including navigating, browsing, searching, viewing and downloading. Participants will learn how to quickly find what they need in TeVA’s collections and view some of the many items available via the website.

Prior to joining the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Randles worked at Scripps Networks Interactive and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Libraries. She holds a master’s degree in information science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The workshop will be held from 9:30 – 11 a.m., Saturday, March 23, in the auditorium of the Library and Archives, located at 403 7th Ave. N. in Nashville.

While the workshop is free, reservations are required due to limited seating. To make a reservation, visit https://tevatalk.eventbrite.com.


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

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Learn how to say “hello” in Polish, Urdu, Swahili, and more with TEL!

By Andrea Zielke

Did you know that everyone in the state of Tennessee has access to a language learning program that includes more than 100 different languages? Through the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL), you can sign up for a free Transparent Language Online account and start learning a new language! Not only can you take lessons in French, Spanish and Chinese, but you can also learn languages that are less commonly taught like Balinese and Denesuline. There is even an Introduction to Latin Vocabulary and Introduction to Latin Grammar that are similar in content as a first-year Latin course.




Did you know you could take an American Citizenship Test Prep course through TEL? Created with the input of ESL professionals and public librarians, Transparent Language Online’s American Citizenship Test Prep course is designed with the goal of preparing test takers to comfortably answer all 100 civics questions. More than that, the course is intended to truly teach learners about the American government, history, and culture, including key vocabulary words.




Transparent Language Online is always adding new lessons including Advanced Conversations in English. These courses are the most advanced materials among our English offerings. They were created for high-intermediate to advanced English learners—both students and professionals—who are interested in business and medical topics and want to work with more complex texts, speech patterns, and cultural nuances. Advanced Conversations in English contains 16 hours of study (16 topical units) covering three main topics: medical, finance, and sales and marketing.

Transparent Language Online also has lessons for kids! There are 6 courses for children to start learning new languages! Kids can start learning Spanish, French, German, English, Chinese and Italian. Designed for ages 6 and up, the program teaches words and phrases suitable for learners’ age, needs, and interests. More than 40 activities, puzzles, and songs guide learners through the basics, along with a cartoon “friend” who speaks the language. Here is how to access the KidSpeak languages.




How do I start using Transparent Language Online? Go to Transparent Language Online on TEL to start learning a new language! Sign up for a free account. Start practicing from your phone, computer or tablet today!






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

Monday, February 11, 2019

Meet the Staff - Kevin Cason

Meet Kevin Cason. He is an Archivist in Public Services.

How long have you worked here?

I started working at the Tennessee State Library and Archives in September of 2014.

What are some of the things you do as an Archivist in Public Services?

As a member of the Public Services department, my main duties are to help researchers and genealogists who come to do research at the Library and Archives. I primarily work in the manuscripts area and help provide access for patrons to view original primary source materials such as maps, photographs, family papers, Supreme Court cases, and state agency records. In addition to guiding researchers, I respond to reference requests that come to the Library and Archives by e-mail and mail. I also work on a variety of projects such as preparing research guides and tools for patrons, doing metadata assignments, and serving on the Collections Development Committee.

What is your favorite part of your job?

One of my favorite parts of my job is having the opportunity to work with the public and help them with their research. It is often a rewarding experience to be able to find resources such as land records, family papers or Supreme Court cases that relate to someone’s genealogy. Seeing the excitement and appreciation of a patron when they find something in the records that is useful is very meaningful for me. Similarly, when I help locate manuscript materials or state agency records that pertain to a historical researcher’s interests, I have a sense of satisfaction in knowing that I aided in guiding the researcher in the right direction.



Do you have a favorite collection?

While there are many exciting items that can be seen in the manuscripts collections, I have always been fascinated with visual resources such as photographs, advertisements, and postcards. It is interesting to be able to see photographs from manuscript collections such as the Department of Conservation Photograph Collection that visually document a significant historic site and landscape. It is also fascinating to see the architectural designs of buildings in places such as Nashville during the 1900s that are part of the Library Photograph Collection. Similarly, advertisements like the Broadside Collection are exciting to see because they often show how something was promoted during a certain era or they reveal the clever marketing designs of the creator. Postcards such as the Tennessee Postcard Collection are also appealing to me because the creators use colorful designs, beautiful scenery and different fonts to capture the attention of the viewer and encourage the person to visit the tourist destination.

What makes libraries and archives relevant to modern society?

I think it is important to have cultural institutions where people can go to learn, do research, and obtain help from professional librarians and archivists. In a world that is increasingly becoming digital, I think there is still a valuable need in society to have scholarly books that enlighten, inspire and inform readers and researchers. In addition, I think it is important to have repositories that preserve the historical memory of our past. It is essential to recognize that the records we create provide evidence of our activities and they have enduring value. For example, vital records such as birth, death or marriage records were created originally to document a certain event in a person’s life. However, genealogists can use them now to learn about their family roots from long ago. Similarly, manuscript related items like photographs, diaries, letters and court cases may have been simply created to document an event, but historians can now use them to understand the past better.


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

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Library and Archives Hosts Free How-to Workshop on Using Historical Newspapers for Research

Newspapers are some of the most valuable resources for piecing together history. On Jan. 26 the Tennessee State Library and Archives is hosting a free workshop with tips and tricks to make your newspaper research more fruitful.

Attendees will watch Old News is Good News: Using Historical Newspapers for Your Research presented by Genealogist Taneya Koonce, MLS, MPH. Koonce is an avid genealogist with more than 18 years of professional experience in information organization and management. Koonce is also the State Coordinator of the TNGenWeb Project, is a Board Member of the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society, and is President-elect of the Nashville Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society.

“The Tennessee State Library and Archives has one of the largest collection of Tennessee newspapers in the country,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “I’m glad this workshop will highlight the newspaper collections and records available to the public and teach how to use them most effectively. There is a vast amount of information waiting to be re-discovered.”

Koonce will navigate attendees through the benefits of using historical newspapers and highlight strategies to make the newspaper research process even more successful. Improve your skills, speed, and accuracy when searching newspaper collections and learn more about the print, microfilm, and digitized formats available through the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

The workshop will be held 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, in the Library and Archives auditorium. The Library and Archives is located at 403 Seventh Ave. N. Free parking is available around the Library and Archives building.

Although the presentation is free and open to the public, registration is required due to seating limitations in the auditorium. To reserve seats, please visit newspaperresearch.eventbrite.com.


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

Meet the Staff - Jessica Opalinski

Meet Jessica Opalinski. She is a Micrographics Technician with Preservation and Digitization.

How long have you worked here?

I started in June 2016 as a micrographics imaging processor. (It took me several months to memorize that job title!) In August of 2018 I moved into the micrographics technician position. What are some of the things you do as a Micrographics Technician?

Our section of the preservation department is focused primarily on managing the microfilm collection. We process raw film that the microfilmers shoot, make duplicate copies for orders, and store the original reels in the vault. We work with public services to ensure their microfilm collection is up-to-date and available to patrons.

Recently our department acquired two digital cameras for filming documents. We can keep the images as digital files or convert them to microfilm. My time has been split between the physical process of processing and quality checking microfilm, and transitioning projects onto the new cameras. It’s quite a change from the old microfilm cameras, but it gives us much more control over the quality of the final product.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I enjoy seeing the final results of the images I’ve taken. It’s so fascinating to watch the images suddenly appear as the film runs through the processor. I particularly like when we have to film unusual items. One time we had to film a car key as part of the governor’s papers!

Do you have a favorite collection?

I love the Grassmere Collection. As a huge fan of the Nashville Zoo, I was excited when this collection was first put together to explore the history of the five generations that lived at the Grassmere Farm and how the land eventually became the zoo as we know it today. The family’s connections and travels in Cuba were something I’d never heard of before and added an interesting layer to their history. It’s a great collection to look through if you love animal photos!



What makes libraries and archives relevant to modern society?

Before I started working here, I didn’t realize how much valuable information we record and store! From vital records such as birth certificates and marriage records to political documents and key information about Tennessee history, this building is a treasure trove of knowledge. It allows people to research their genealogy and discover parts of their family history they may have been unaware of. Often we don’t realize just how important a record is until someone needs it. And with so much data available, our staff is crucial for sorting through it and helping to make sense of it all.


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

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

How to use TEL to improve Health and Wellness in 2019!

By Andrea Zielke

Making a resolution for the New Year? Want to start off 2019 with improved health and wellness? There are many resources on Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) that can help you find vetted, reliable health information. Even better, these resources are free for Tennesseans! Of course, no online database should take the place of expert advice from a qualified physician. These resources can help to prepare you to have informed conversations with your health care provider. There is no such thing as too much information when it comes to health and wellness!




Health and Wellness Resource Center

One of TEL’s most popular resources is the Health and Wellness Resource Center. The Health and Wellness Resource Center provides authoritative information on a full range of health-related issues, from current disease and disorder information to in-depth coverage of alternative and complementary medical practices. Inside you’ll have access to full-text medical journals, magazines, reference works, multimedia, and much more! One of the best features of this database is that Gale publishes their information in plain, easy-to-understand language!





MedLine Plus

Another great, free resource that provides information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues is MedLine Plus. MedLine Plus is a free, public online source provided by the National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus offers health information in non-technical, understandable language. You can easily look up prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, herbs and supplements. Find out why your doctor orders various laboratory tests and what the results may mean. You can even watch surgical videos so you are fully prepared for any surgical procedures. You do not need to be a health professional to use MedlinePlus, although it is used by many health providers.





Health Reference Center Academic

If you are looking for the latest information published in peer reviewed journals, you may want to check out Health Reference Center Academic. This database provides up-to-date information on the complete range of health care topics for students, consumer health researchers, and health care professionals. Health Reference Center Academic includes full-text periodicals, reference books, pamphlets, and hundreds of videos demonstrating medical procedures and live surgeries to ensure that researchers get current, scholarly, comprehensive answers to health-related questions.





These are just a few of the databases on TEL, don’t forget to check out the other Health resources available at https://tntel.info/general-public/health.


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