The Tennessee State Library and Archives is pleased to present this latest edition of the Guide To Manuscript Materials in the Tennessee State Library and Archives. The Guide contains entries for the many new items added to the collections since 1983. This new electronic version will be updated regularly to reflect new acquisitions.  Since the Tennessee Historical Society (THS) houses its book and manuscript collections here, the Guide reflects items owned by the Society as well.

The Library and Archives receives donations of family, church and institutional records on a regular basis. Sometimes individuals and organizations bring records here to be microfilmed, retaining the original materials. The Library and Archives also purchases microfilmed collections from other repositories, notable among them the National Archives, the Library of Congress and universities all over the country.

The Guide contains descriptions of an extraordinary variety of church, school, business, organizational, military, diplomatic, personal and photographic collections, ranging in size from one or two volumes to several thousand items. By no means is this a complete listing of manuscript and/or microfilmed material at the Library and Archives. Many Manuscript Collections have yet to be microfilmed, and other collections, such as Tennessee Newspapers, Archives (Record Group) Collections, Governor's Papers, vital records, military service records, Tennessee county records (Inventory to County Records on Microfilm), and census records are not included in this Guide.

Unrestricted microfilm collections designated "TSLA" or "THS" are available for interlibrary loan and for purchase. Paper copies can be made of individual items in collections unless restrictions apply.

The staff of the Library and Archives offer the new Guide in the hope that it will increase access to the collected records of two hundred years of state and local history.


Staff members who have helped produce the Guide: Darla Brock,  Kitty Durham,  Susan Gordon,  Marylin Hughes,  Tom Kanon,  Ronald Lee,  Wayne Moore,  Julia Rather,  Fran Schell,  and Laine Sutherland. As of July 2012, processing staff of the Archival Technical Services section and the Archives Development Program are responsible for these entries.




A number of the microfilmed manuscripts and original materials described in the Guide have links to finding aids for the collection.  The finding aids are in PDF format, and you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer in order to view the files.  This program is free, and can be downloaded from the Adobe web site.  Some of the listed materials have links to the entry in the Tennessee State Library and Archives online catalog.

Unrestricted microfilm collections designated "TSLA" or "THS" are available for interlibrary loan and for purchase. Requests for Interlibrary Loan must come from libraries or archives agencies. Up to five reels can be sent on interlibrary loan at a time. Requesting libraries should use the Mf. number to request the item and should specify its title. Materials not designated "TSLA" or "THS" are items for which the Library and Archives holds no negatives. Items not designated "TSLA" or "THS" will not be sent on interlibrary loan and cannot be reproduced in microform.

The Library and Archives and THS microfilm can be reproduced for $20.00 per reel (16 mm) or $25.00 per reel (35 mm). Users should contact the Preservation Services section of the Library and Archives (615-741-2997) for accurate price quotes and instructions for ordering microfilms.

Paper copies can be made of individual items in collections unless restrictions apply. Prices vary according to length/size of document.  Visit the Ask Us a Question! web page for more information. If an entry concludes with the phrase "register available," this means that the register of the collection (a more detailed description than the Guide entry) is included in the microfilmed version, always on the first reel. Reading the register can help users determine box and folder numbers of interest to them, pinpointing relevant materials so that the whole collection need not be perused. The Library and Archives will respond to e-mail requests promptly; response time may vary, depending on the amount of research required to answer your question and the unique nature of your request. If you need immediate assistance you may call the reference desk at (615) 741-2764 or visit us in person.

Please note: Archival materials are available for retrieval between the hours of 8:00 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. If you know you will need materials between 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, please call ahead to the Public Services section at 615-741-2764 or visit the Ask Us a Question! web page. We will do our best to accommodate your request.

Small collections do not have registers. Usually the materials in small collections have been grouped so that like items are together, or there is a straight chronological arrangement of the material.

Entries include the following information:

  • Microfilm number (if microfilmed)
  • Title
  • Dates covered by the collection (not necessarily the dates of the documents themselves; for example, extremely early information on a family in a genealogical collection may have been compiled at a later time)
  • Number of items and/or volumes, or sometimes cubic or linear feet of space a collection occupies;  or reels if on microfilm
  • Organization responsible (usually the organization from which the items / microfilm were acquired, or if it is not "TSLA" or "THS" material)
  • Any restrictions on the collection
  • Description of the collection; cross references when appropriate; availability of register

The Tennessee State Library and Archives does not own literary rights or copyright on any item or collection in its holdings. It is the responsibility of the individual user to ascertain copyright restrictions, obtain permissions, and prepare credit statements. Some collections have specific restrictions which are noted in the Guide entry.

Abbreviations used in the entries follow this Foreword.

Users are encouraged to contact the Library and Archives through the Ask Us a Question! web page with comments and suggestions about the Guide.


AJA American Jewish Archives Cincinnati, OH
AP Austin Peay State University Clarksville, TN
ARC Amistad Research Center, Dillard University New Orleans, LA
BSHC Beersheba Springs Historical Society Beersheba Springs, TN
CHBL Chattanooga/Hamilton County Bicentennial Library Chattanooga, TN
CHBL Genealogical Society. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) Salt Lake City, UT
CMCHM Clarksville/Montgomery County Historical Museum Clarksville, TN
CSA Confederate States Army  
DU Duke University Durham, NC
GDAH Georgia Department of Archives and History Atlanta, GA
GSU Genealogical Society of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
HL Huntington Library San Mareno, CA
KHS Kentucky Historical Society Frankfort, Kentucky
LC Library of Congress Washington, D.C.
LPL Lavergne Public Library Lavergne, TN
MDA Mississippi Department of Archives Jackson, MI
ML Memphis Public Library Memphis, TN
NA National Archives Washington, D.C.
NCAH North Carolina Department of Archives and History Raleigh, NC
NYHS New York Historical Society New York, NY
PHF Presbyterian Historical Foundation Montreat, NC
PHMC Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Harrisburg, PA
PHS Historical Society of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
RU Rutgers University New Brunswick, NJ
SBC Southern Baptist Convention Nashville, TN
SCDAH South Carolina Department of Archives and History Columbia, SC
SCHS Summit County Historical Society Akron, OH
SML Sanford Memorial Library Sanford, FL
SR Scholarly Resources Wilmington, DE
THS Tennessee Historical Society Nashville, TN
TSLA Tennessee State Library and Archives Nashville, TN
TCU Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX
UCLA University of California at Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
UDC United Daughters of the Confederacy  
UM University Microfilms, Inc. Ann Arbor, MI
UNC University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC
UPA University Publications of America Ann Arbor, MI
US University of the South Sewanee, TN
UTX University of Texas Austin, TX
UV University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
VUL Vanderbilt University Library Nashville, TN
WHS Wisconsin Historical Society Madison, WI