Legal and Legislative Materials Available at the Tennessee State Library & Archives

Public Services Resource Guide #02

  The Tennessee State Library and Archives houses a rich and varied collection of original, commercially published, and microfilmed legal and legislative documents. This material can be of use to legal historians and scholars, as well as to those individuals seeking information about current Tennessee legislation and laws. Listed in this brochure are some of the most frequently requested items. The library owns much more than the few titles listed here, and anyone looking for such material should always consult the State Library and Archives website for additional information.

  The listings of material in this pamphlet are arranged by the area of the library where you can request them. If you are a first time visitor, maps are available for each public area in the library.

  The Tennessee State Library and Archives is not a law library in the conventional use of the term. It is more than that—it is a repository of unique materials that includes such varied items as the original bills of the Tennessee General Assembly, rare copies of the earliest compilations of Tennessee state laws, the original Acts of Tennessee, and other such resources. A fundamental part of any state’s history is the development of its laws, and the Tennessee State Library and Archives holds the history of Tennessee law.

 

A Sampling of Materials Available in the Tennessee Room

  • Tennessee Reports (KFT45.A2) / Tennessee Decisions, KFT45.A34 (1791 to the most recent quarter)
      These are published copies of the opinions of the Tennessee Supreme Court. Opinions from the 4th Quarter to the present are also available online.
  • Tennessee Administrative Register (July 1975 to the present), KFT440.A3
      A monthly publication devoted mainly to the development of rules governing state agencies, but also contains announcements related to financial institutions and other matters. Back issues from January 2000 to the present are available online.
  • Attorney General's Opinions (1971 to the present). KFT440.5.A56
      The bound opinions of the Tennessee Attorney General begin with 1971. Opinions from 2000 to the present are available online.

      The following Record Groups in our Manuscripts Area also contain some Attorney General's opinions: RG 18 (opinions dating from 1899-1912), RG 109 (opinions dating from 1872-1902), and RG 241 (opinions dating from 1906-1969).

  • Tennessee Blue Book (1921 to the present). JK5230.A3
      The current Blue Book is available online.
  • Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly, Vols. I-VI, JK5231 1975.M33
      A six-volume collection of biographical sketches of Tennessee's legislators covering the years from 1796 to 1991.
  • Journals of the Proceedings of the Tennessee Constitutional
    Conventions

      Our holdings include the published proceedings of the Tennessee Constitutional Conventions of 1796 (J87.T23a-10a), 1834 (JK5225 1834.A22), 1870 (JK5225 1870.A6), 1953 (JK5225 1953.A22), 1959 (JK5225 1959.A22), 1965 (JK5225 1965.A22), 1971 (JK5225 1971.A22), and 1977 (JK5225 1977.A22).

 

A Sampling of Materials in the Legislative History Area

  • Original bills of the Tennessee General Assembly (1796 through the most recently concluded legislative session).
      The text of House & Senate bills and their amendments for the years 1995 through the present can be found in the Legislature’s online archive.
  • Published copies of the Public and Private Acts of Tennessee (1796 through most recent available on paper).
      The text of Chapters for the years 1997 to the present can be found online at the website of the Tennessee Secretary of State.
  • Audiotape recordings of the Tennessee General Assembly (1955 through the present). Availability of tapes in early years varies.     Check with staff for exact dates. The charge for research and copying of these materials varies. Check with staff for specific information.
  • Published copies of the Journals of the House and Senate of the Tennessee General Assembly (1796 through the most recent available on paper). J87 .T2
      The text of recent House and Senate Journals can be found online.
  • Copies of superseded Rules and Regulations of the State of Tennessee (1976 to the present).
      The format varies for this publication; depending on the year, material may be on paper, microfilm or disc. Check with staff for exact location of any previous years. KFT35 1975 .A2.
      The text of current Rules and Regulations can be found online at the website of the Tennessee Secretary of State.
  • Published copies of the current Tennessee Code Annotated.
      The text of the current Code, without the annotations, can be found online. Although this is a commercial website, there is no charge for access to the Code. For copies of previous editions, ask at the desk in the South Reading Room.
  • Tennessee Jurisprudence (1982 to the present). KFT65 .T46
    1982.
      Superseded copies can be obtained by requesting them at the desk in the Tennessee Room.
  • Unofficial index to legislation introduced in the General Assembly (1959-2000). KFT15 .A2
  • Tennessee Journal (1975 to the present) JK5201 .T25 1975
      Weekly newsletter covering actions in the Tennessee General Assembly & other matters in Tennessee politics.
  • Report of The Tennessee Sentencing Commission to the General Assembly 1988. ( 4 vols.). KFT561.A84 1989
      Frequently requested report concerning the Criminal Sentencing Reform act of 1989.

 

A Sampling of Materials Available in the Microfilm Area

  • Chancery, circuit & county court records for all Tennessee counties. Availability and dates vary greatly from county to county.
      A county-by-county listing, including dates available and State Library and Archives microfilm roll number, is posted on our website .
  • Tennessee Prison Records, 1831-1992. (RG 25). These are microfilmed copies of the original records.
  • Minute Books of the U.S. District Court for West Tennessee, 1797-1893, and of the U.S. District Court for Middle District of Tennessee, 1839-1865 (MF#869).
  • Final Record Books of the U.S. Circuit Court in Nashville: vol.1, 1808-1812 & vol. 2, 1812-1820 (MF#868).

 

A Sampling of Materials Available through the Manuscripts Area

  • Governor’s Papers (legislation and laws).

 

Compiled by Charles Nelson, Chaddra Moore, and Allison DeFriese
 

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