Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Library and Archives Releases the Price-Gay Family Papers

By Patricia Mitchell

What remains of a life lived? A cigar, a ticket stub, a well-worn letter? What stories might these possessions tell of our families, our homes and our life’s work? Explore these questions and more with the Tennessee State Library and Archives’ recently processed Price-Gay Family Papers. Originating from Andrew Price (1854-1909) and his wife Anna Gay (1855-1939), these materials consist of documents, photographs, and artifacts that capture family life, real estate matters, and politics in the United States for the years 1822 to 1944.

Martha and Edward at Clover Bottom Mansion, Donelson, Tenn., 1899 August.
Price-Gay Family Papers, 1822-1944, Box 18, Folder 7
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Much of the collection concerns Acadia Plantation, the Prices’ sugar plantation in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. These materials include several photographs of the interior of the plantation house as well as numerous photographs of the exterior and interior of the sugar refinery on-site.

Other contents relate to Clover Bottom Farm in Donelson, Tennessee, where Andrew Price bred, raised and trained trotting horses. Here researchers will uncover a number of studbooks, sale records, clippings, and a scrapbook on the subject. Also included are photographs that provide a rare look at the sprawling estate and the staff who made it thrive.

Brochure for dispersal sale of trotting horses at Clover Bottom Farm, 1909 May 12.
Price-Gay Family Papers, 1822-1944, Box 11, Folder 17
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Season admission ticket books to the Tennessee Centennial Exposition for Anna Gay Price, 1897.
Price-Gay Family Papers, 1822-1944, Box 1, Folder 3
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Parlor at Clover Bottom Mansion, Donelson, Tenn., 1918 May 14.
Price-Gay Family Papers, 1822-1944, Box 18, Folder 5
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Edward Hill and "Dewey" at Clover Bottom Mansion, Donelson, Tenn., 1898 December 11.
Price-Gay Family Papers, 1822-1944, Box 18, Folder 7
Tennessee State Library and Archives

In addition to his horse breeding operation, Andrew Price served as a U.S. Representative from 1889-1898. Two "goldbug" pins from William McKinley's presidential inauguration in 1897 will transport researchers to this tumultuous period in American politics, when Price joined other conservative Democrats to defend the gold standard against the rising tide of Silver Populists.

Mrs. Andrew Price purchased these bugs on Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC 1897 at the time of the Inauguration of President William McKinley.
Price-Gay Family Papers, 1822-1944, Box 30, Item 5 and Box 14, Folder 1 respectively.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Perhaps most intriguing, however, is the human drama of personal relationships revealed in the collection’s correspondence. If Anna Gay were here in the present, she would tell you that before her engagement to Mr. Price in 1878, she had many admirers (and the receipts to prove it). All of the correspondence written between 1873 and 1878 either came from prospective suitors or her girlfriends discussing her suitors. Other documents in the collection relay the goings on of a typical 19th century family and the scandals of its black sheep.

Edwin Booth and Edwina Booth, ca. 1864. Edwin Booth (1833-1893) was an actor and the brother of John Wilkes Booth. Edwina Booth (1861-1938) was Edwin's only daughter.
Price-Gay Family Papers, 1822-1944, Box 30, Item 5 and Box 14, Folder 1 respectively.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

We welcome you to visit the Tennessee State Library and Archives to research this rich source of historical materials. We hope to digitize parts of the collection for inclusion in the Tennessee Virtual Archive and will announce their online availability at a later date. For more information on the contents of this collection, please see our finding aid here.

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

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Library and Archives Hosts Free Workshop on African-American Family Research

Connecting families with records that tie them together is often a barrier in African-American research. On Feb. 17, the Tennessee State Library and Archives will host a free workshop on African-American genealogy.

Family portrait of Henry W. Allen, Catherine B. Allen, and Minta B. Allen. Daybook entry under Mrs. H. W. Allen.
Calvert Brothers Studio Glass Plate Negatives
Tennessee State Library and Archives

Patrons will watch Discovering the Missing Threads and Patches in my Family’s History: A Pre-recorded Webinar and Discussion featuring Deborah Abbott, Ph.D. Abbott is a professional genealogist who specializes in advanced African-American research, manuscript collections and genealogy methodology. She has also been highlighted on various projects with Ancestry.com.

"Anyone interested in their family's history can find a wealth of information at the Library and Archives. I'm honored this workshop will highlight the collections and records available to the public that traces African-American history in Tennessee," said Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

Dr. Deborah Abbott, Ph.D.
Abbott will highlight how genealogists shouldn’t ignore the basics. Her webinar demonstrates how to understand all records and the history that surrounds them which can bridge the gap between slavery and freedom.

Certified genealogist and fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association, J. Mark Lowe, will moderate the discussion.

The workshop will be 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. CST Saturday, Feb. 17, in the Library and Archives auditorium.

The Library and Archives is located at 403 Seventh Ave. North, directly west of the Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville. Free parking is available around the Library and Archives building. Although the workshop is free and open to the public, registration is required due to seating limitations in the auditorium. To reserve seats, please visit https://abbottworkshop.eventbrite.com.

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

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Meet the Staff - Megan Spainhour

Meet Megan Spainhour. She is a Digital Imaging Specialist with the Digital Work Group.

How long have you worked here?

Since September 2013.

What are some of the things you do as a Digital Imaging Specialist?

I work fulfilling both patron and internal orders. This typically means scanning, printing and preparing maps, photos, letters, and many other items that are requested from our collections. I work with authors, publishers, researchers, genealogists, filmmakers, and several other types of patrons who are interested in obtaining copies of images in either digital or print form. Orders that I receive can vary from working with microfilm to printing out large maps, sometimes up to 5 feet. I also assist as a staff photographer and organize our group’s “Learn The Collections” program, in which each of us in the Digital Work Group is assigned a random collection every two weeks to learn and present to the rest of the group.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Learning history. I moved to Tennessee in 2010, and really didn’t know that much about the state’s history before I worked at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. I learn so much every day and to be able to hold and see original items in your hands is both fascinating and amazing. It is easy to put yourself in the shoes of that original creator writing that letter or taking that historical photo. I also love working and communicating with patrons who have struck gold in their research, and have found something they are excited about. I have a lot of fun fulfilling those orders.

Do you have a favorite collection?

With the wide variety of treasures we have here at Tennessee State Library and Archives, I cannot just narrow it down to one. A few of the top favorites are The Grassmere Collection, Genealogical Charts Collection and TSLA Map Collection. Some of my co-workers and I are currently working on a project with the Grassmere Collection, which has an amazing story to tell. I encourage our patrons to visit, pull anything that sounds interesting from our collections, and just learn. You can find some pretty intriguing stories when you have got the time to learn.

What makes libraries and archives relevant to modern society?

History. History will never go out of style. There is always something to gain from researching and learning about our ancestors and our past. They say history repeats itself, which cannot be denied.

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

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Utilizing digital scanners in your research

By Heather Adkins

At the Library and Archives, we strive to stay up to date on the best technology to better serve researchers. This includes three types of scanners that have proven very popular.

Microfilm readers look different today from the crank machines created decades ago. Though we have readers hooked to printers, more often researchers utilize our microfilm scanners. There are several benefits to using scanners rather than printers. Foremost, scanning allows researchers to have a master digital copy without risk of ruining or losing a paper copy. A digital copy also lets researchers send copies to friends and family and print innumerable copies without the cost. Speaking of cost, scanning microfilm to your flash drive is free. Using our printers costs $0.25 per page, which makes scanning more economical. Researchers can utilize digital scanners to scan anything from microfilmed newspaper articles, state records, manuscript collections, county records and vital records.

Tips for using microfilm scanners:

  • Zoom into newspaper articles as far as possible rather than scanning the entire page. If you scan the entire page, the scan may not be high enough resolution to zoom into the article later.
  • If the record has more than one page, you can scan a multipage PDF. Ask a staff member to show you how!

Book scanners get a lot of traffic in the library. Researchers who use our book collection often want to take copies of a few pages home with them. These scanners allow for that: just insert a flash drive and scan – it’s that simple! The book scanners are built with an adjustable bed, designed to relieve pressure on a book’s spine while still allowing for a flat page spread. Like the microfilm scanners, the book scanners are free to use. Using the photocopy machine is $0.15 per page, so again scanning is a better deal. Also, like the microfilm scanners, the book scanners give you a master digital copy.

Not sure what you can scan? We’ve seen all sorts of books scanned – city directories, county record transcripts, atlases and histories. That said, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine use under copyright. Find out more about that here. [https://sos.tn.gov/products/tsla/use-library-archives-materials]

Tips for using the book scanners:

  • You can adjust page settings before saving the scan to your flash drive. The page borders are adjustable, and you can limit the scan to one page or the entire spread.
  • If you want more than one page from a particular book, you can make a multipage PDF. Ask a staff member to show you how!

Researchers can access both microfilm machines and the book scanners when visiting the Library and Archives. However, there is one more scanner that researchers frequently use without realizing it. The map scanner is a large flatbed machine used by our Digital Work Group (DWG) for researcher requests and programs like Education Outreach, Exhibits and the Historical Maps Digital Collection. To date, DWG has scanned nearly 600 maps of a collection of over 4,000, and they scan about 10 more every month with the help Archival Technical Services and Archives Development Program staff who research and write metadata.

Although DWG does not scan researchers’ personal items, they do take requests for specific collection items. Are you interested in finding a map of where you live or Tennessee as a new state? You can look them up on the Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA). Though only a portion of the map collection is currently scanned, you can search through the entirety of the collection here. [https://sos.tn.gov/tsla/maps]

Tips for researching and ordering maps:

  • When searching for maps at the above link, type keywords in the “Search Maps” bar.
  • You can order high-resolution scans or prints of items, and you can also download lower resolution images directly from TeVA.
  • Ready to order a map? There are a couple details that you will need to fill out the order form. Please include either the ID# (if there is an image available online) or the Location (if there is NOT an image available online). The ID#, location and other descriptors are available in the metadata for each map.

Scanners accessible by the public save to flash drives. If a researcher forgets theirs, we provide flash drives at our cost to purchase them as a service to our visiting researchers. Have a question about how to use the scanners? Our Public Services staff is here to help. We’ll get you scanning records in no time!

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