Photographs

A partial index to the hundreds of thousands of photographs and images held by the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
The Library Photograph Collection is a migration project from our Online Photo Database to allow researchers more extensive description and the ability to download directly from our website. The Library Photo Collection contains images from the Archives Photograph Collection as well as portrait painting photographs, Colonial Dames of America Portraits in Tennessee, and a variety of black and white photographs and lithographs from the State Library and Archives manuscripts division.
The Earl S. Miers River Photographs date from the first decade of the 20th century (ca. 1900-1912) and show steamboats, buildings, people and scenes along the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers. There are 69 photographs in the collection, 34 of which are displayed here. Many of the photographs depict steamboats belonging to the St. Louis & Tennessee River Packet Company along with crewmen and laborers who worked on them. Images depict mule-drawn ferries, African-American ‘roustabouts,’ drovers loading hogs, oxen hauling cargo, and cross-ties being loaded at a tie yard.
The selection of materials in this collection portrays the lives of Tennessee’s average farmers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These images illustrate the development of agricultural practices and methods over a period of more than a century, from Tennessee immigration in the 1830s to the Depression era of the 1930s. These documents reflect the earliest authors and record keepers’ materials that encouraged immigration for the purpose of agricultural life and encouraged various crop production based on diverse natural resources and advances in the “technology” of nineteenth-century farming.
Among the greatest assets at the Tennessee State Library and Archives is the variety of its photographs. Myriad images populate our holdings, many of them rare. The collections highlighted here represent a fine assortment of imagery. For online collections, see the Tennessee Virtual Archives (TeVA), online exhibits and the online photograph and image database. The photo database contains thousands of images taken from major collections, while the online exhibits include dozens of pictures featured in displays staged at TSLA.
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