History and Genealogy


Governor Phil Bredesen Papers (2003-2011) represent an official record of the time Bredesen spent in office. Totaling approximately 517 linear feet or 955 boxes, the Bredesen Papers consist of office files, correspondence, photographs, and a large amount of audio/visual materials. Materials in the collection span the years 1975-2012 as a large number of these documents crossed over chronologically from one gubernatorial administration to another. If items or files pertaining to a certain issue carried over from one administration to another, the documents for that topic were filed with the latest administration. This explains why some of the items predate the Bredesen administration. While some themes are contained within a single series, materials relating to several topics of interest run throughout the collection, including but not limited to Title VI (Boxes 41, 479, 484, 592, 769, 821, and 935), Hurricane Katrina (Boxes 478, 545, 760, 935, and 938), and Workers’ Compensation (Boxes 45, 480, 573, 592-594, 772, 940).

James K. Polk Collection

James Knox Polk (1795-1849) served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives (1835-1839), Governor of Tennessee (1839-1841), and the 11th President of the United States (1845-1849). This digital collection highlights the people and events which shaped this Tennessean, known as the most effective president prior to the Civil War. Containing correspondence, political cartoons, photographs, and other items, the collection is ongoing and will be expanded as more items are digitized.

Grassmere Collection, 1786-1985

The Grassmere Collection, 1786-1985, is centered around five generations of the same family that lived at Grassmere Farm, Nashville, Tennessee. The property served as a family farm for 175 years. Sisters Margaret and Elise Croft willed the Grassmere property to be used as a nature preserve upon their deaths, and the Nashville Zoo began management of the site in 1997 to honor that request. The digital collection is a sampling of the physical collection and consists of over 250 items including photographs, letters, audio oral history excerpts, maps, memorabilia, and land records.


Official lists of officers and soldiers enlisted or otherwise accounted for in Tennessee military units or companies. The records are a sizeable compilation of U.S., Confederate, and U.S. Colored Troops muster rolls from across the state. There are records of soldiers mustering into and out of service, as well as miscellaneous documents such as oaths of allegiance, conscriptions, and Field and Staff Rolls. Some are full musters containing complete company rosters of around 60-70 soldiers, whereas some only list a dozen. All are descriptive. Other documents may list one man or a handful of men. In general, records provide names of the enlisted, mustering officers, dates, locations, regiments, and companies. Sometimes the comments provide information on the soldier’s whereabouts. Others provide place of birth, physical description, and occupation.


Collection includes seven ledgers of various sizes. The first ledger belongs to King Carr and Son Undertakers and Embalmers, 1915-1918. The second volume is an account book from a general store owned by James Madison Chamberlain, 1922-1923. The third ledger is from the Secretary District Advisory Board and its study on the Enumeration of Scholastic Population for the Year 1913, District 12. The fourth ledger is from a general store owned by Edgar Grant King, 1904-1905. The fifth ledger is from a general store owned by George Lewis Walton and Captain William M. Haley, 1897-1899. The sixth ledger is from a general store owned by Lewis F. Pipkin and his wife, Mary Ann Duke Pipkin, 1918-1958. The seventh ledger is an account book from a general store owned by John Sylvester Wooten.


Collection consists of photocopied genealogical research relating to the Puryear family and its related branches. The research includes articles, correspondence, birth and death certificates, cemetery records, muster rolls, wills, newspaper clippings, and pedigree charts. Puryear was a history enthusiast who specialized in Tennessee and Virginia state history. Therefore, numerous photocopied articles on topics such as the Cumberland Compact, John Donelson, Morgan’s Riflemen, John Cotten, Lord Dunmore’s War, and the Battle of the Bluffs are included.


Consists of correspondence, bank checks, photographs, military records, military accoutrements, scrapbooks, and various printed materials. The correspondence is primarily between B. M. Grizzell, Jr. and his parents. B. M. described his Air Force experiences, while his parents apprised him of life back home. The remainder is condolences to B. M.’s parents after his death. Grizzell left an abundance of photographs that captured his leisure time in the Air Force. They depict friends and family at the various places Grizzell called home: Waco, Texas; Newport Beach, California; Panama City, Florida; and Cowan, Tennessee. Military records detail Grizzell’s various assignments, qualifications, and certifications while serving in the Army Air Corps and United States Air Force. The military accoutrements include Grizzell’s identification patches and tags, pins, aviator sunglasses, and a pipe. The scrapbooks contain photographs and keepsakes of friends and family. Printed materials include newspapers and news clippings detailing Grizzell’s death, an advertisement for the Air Force showing an F-92, and an issue of the Sewanee Alumni News. Grizzell’s personal Bible is also present.


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