Cultural, Social & Economic

Online exhibit showcasing highlights from the Kenneth Rose Music Collection. Kenneth D. Rose was a faculty member at Ward-Belmont College in Nashville from 1918 to 1952. He began collecting in 1935, and assembled a vast and diverse selection of sheet music. This exhibit will focus on a few areas of his collection, such as Confederate sheet music, comic songs, minstrel songs, war songs, patriotic songs, and sports songs. Although these themes will be the primary focus of the exhibit, Rose also collected many other types of song sheets.
The images in this collection, depicting individuals and cultural traditions throughout the Appalachian region of the state, are a selection of photographs taken from the Arts, Crafts, and Folklife series of Record Group 82: Tennessee Department of Conservation Photograph Collection, 1937-1976. Record Group 82 consists of over 11,000 photographic images and about 21,000 negatives. The record group was transferred to the Tennessee State Library and Archives in the early 1970s.
The “Civil War Visual Culture” unit of the Tennessee Virtual Archive showcases a wide variety of Civil War-related materials: sheet music covers, professionally designed lithographs, flags, hand-drawn letters, military drawings, and other images. These items represent some of the ways in which a tragic era in America’s history was experienced by contemporaries and interpreted by subsequent generations.
This unit of the Tennessee Virtual Archive features images of the work and history of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Tennessee. Created in 1933 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to preserve and nurture America’s natural resources, the CCC brought forests back from the brink of destruction, established recreational destinations, and provided work for tens of thousands of young men from the Volunteer state.
The items in this collection offer new perspectives into the lives of numerous non-combatants during the Civil War in Tennessee and throughout the southeast. The correspondence and primary writings touch on several themes relating to the home front, including the diverse roles of women, the relationship between occupying/invading forces and civilians, personal beliefs regarding secession and the war, and the effect of the war on African American Tennesseans. These sources can offer the public a lens into the lives of many Civil War non-combatant men and women, a subject of increasing importance in Civil War scholarship.
This photograph album presents detailed visual documentation of the Commonwealth Fund Child Health Demonstration’s (CHD) study of children from Rutherford County, Tennessee, between 1924 and 1928. The CHD’s philanthropic venture was to promote the welfare of humanity by providing publicly funded child health education and care, building hospitals, and promoting the idea of county appointed health officers. Dr. Harry Stoll Mustard (1889-1966), a physician educated at the College of South Carolina and the College of Charleston, was the on-site director based in Murfreesboro, Rutherford County’s seat of government.
Like its sister Southern states, Tennessee’s commitment to public education hovered on the periphery in the early twentieth century. By that time Progressivism and race had become central but conflicting factors in influencing the development of education mores. Progressive thought drove reform forward but the complications of race inhibited change. This TeVA unit examines those influences by exploring government involvement, school architecture, and curricula in a “separate but equal” education system.
Online exhibit providing information on how to get started on genealogy and how to preserve items from your family's past for future generations.
Online exhibit highlighting the important role of mules in the farming, military, and cultural life of Tennessee and the South.
January 28, 2017 - People don't usually associate libraries with murder and mayhem. However, when Brian Allison was researching his book, "Murder and Mayhem in Nashville," he frequently relied on material from the Tennessee State Library and Archives to help him flesh out the sometimes gory details about the city's history.
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.
The Oliver Caswell King and Katherine Rebecca Rutledge King Papers, 1856 - 1893 is a roughly 200-item collection documenting the courtship, marriage and social lives of a Sullivan County, Tennessee, couple before, during and after the Civil War.
This unit of the Tennessee Virtual Archive celebrates the tradition of quilting in Tennessee. The images displayed here, drawn from a variety of collections at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, portray both quilts themselves and Tennessee quilters engaging in their craft. Audio files of oral histories provided by quiltmakers are also featured here, offering a richer understanding of the utility and symbolism of quilts throughout the state’s past.
The Kenneth D. Rose Sheet Music Collection contains first editions and imprints of sheet music pertaining to a variety of subjects, including the American Civil War (particularly the Confederacy), politics and presidents, wars, ships and shipping, sports, minstrels, and comic songs. The collection has more than 20,000 pieces of music, most of which was acquired by the Tennessee State Library and Archives prior to 1956. The remainder of the collection was bequeathed in 1956.
Perhaps no other single structure among Nashville’s buildings so epitomizes Music City’s spirit as the Ryman Auditorium. Recognized around the world as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the Ryman is best known for having hosted the Grand Ole Opry, a weekly radio show, for decades. However, the history of the Ryman transcends genres and is closely intertwined with the history of Nashville itself.
Online exhibit covering the history of cooking, including how the latest technology has transformed the face of modern day cooking. The exhibit delves into Native American cooking, Pioneer/Civil War cooking, Victorian cooking and cooking in the Modern Age. Whether you eat fitness bars or indulge in Ben and Jerry’s, our exhibit will satisfy your hunger to know how food preparation originated.
The Tennessee Arts Commission established its Folk Arts Program in 1984. From the beginning, program director Dr. Robert Cogswell photographed artists, sites, and events related to program activities. These items are a small sampling of approximately 22,000 images that document folkways and unique Tennessee styles, characters, and art.
n 1897, Tennessee held a six-month celebration to mark the one-hundredth anniversary of statehood. The Tennessee Centennial Exposition was held in Nashville from May 1 until October 30, 1897, although the state’s actual centennial occurred in 1896. The images in this collection primarily depict the array of buildings and individuals involved with this celebration, and are drawn from various record groups in the holdings of the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Other interesting ephemera relating to the Centennial Exposition is also displayed, including a rare cyanotype of a building at the exhibition’s Vanity Fair.
Online exhibit highlighting some of the most unusual and fantastic stories of Tennessee's history and culture. From amazing supernatural events to the exploits of renowned figures, the heritage of Tennessee is found as much in its legends as in its history.
Online exhibit featuring images and postcards from the James L. Bailey Papers and the Department of Conservation Photograph Collection. The exhibit highlights the beauty and wildlife of some of Tennessee's parks, including Reelfoot Lake, Montgomery Bell, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Fall Creek Falls, the Natchez Trace Parkway, and Percy Warner Park.
Tennessee’s School for the Deaf, created by law in 1844, boasts a remarkably long and stable history of educating the state’s students with hearing disabilities. The school has operated since 1845 in Knoxville, closing only for the Civil War and relocating only once (from downtown to an inner suburb). This unit of the Tennessee Virtual Archive features images of this unique institution’s buildings, many of which were designed by noted architect and alumnus Thomas Scott Marr.
The Tennessee State Parks Folklife Project produced more than 500 hours of audio tape, 9600 slides, and 2200 black and white negatives, including duplicates of scores of historic photographs which had been cached for years by their owners. Several years ago, the Tennessee State Library and Archives initiated a project to digitize selections of the audio recordings and photographs from the collection in order to improve public access.
This page has a listing of Tennessee state symbols and honors, as listed in the TENNESSEE BLUE BOOK. Among the items listed are state flags, state slogans, state nicknames, state plants, state animals, state fish, and state songs.
The Beautiful Jim Key Collection (1885 – [1897-1907] – 1933) was donated to the Tennessee State Library and Archives by a relative of Dr. William Key, the self-trained, African-American veterinarian (and former slave) who partnered with promoter A. R. Rogers to showcase the extraordinary talents of the Arabian Hambletonian horse, Beautiful Jim Key. Key performed for nine years around the country during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to large crowds at expositions, world’s fairs, schools, and other venues.
Without a doubt, the question, “where do humans come from?” was asked long before Charles Darwin published Origin of Species in 1859. Yet throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century, the debate amongst members of the scientific and religious communities has continued to be a divisive and widely debated topic. The Scopes “Monkey” Trial is perhaps one of the critical events of this controversy and one of the landmark legal decisions of the twentieth century.