History and Genealogy


The Luther Meade Blackman Papers, spanning the years 1857-1919 and containing approximately 3,800 items and 3 volumes consist of accounts, advertisements, cartoons, certificates, claims, clippings, contracts, correspondence, court records, election records, an epitaph, genealogical data, legislative records, military records, newspapers, notes, poems, promissory notes, a prospectus, publications, receipts, resolutions, sketches, and speeches. Concentrated in the period of the American Civil War and Reconstruction, this collection documents the career of Luther Meade Blackman (1834-1919) as soldier, public official and businessman of Eve Mills, Monroe (now Loudon) County, Tennessee.


Consists of records transferred from the archives of Uplands Retirement Village, including papers of the founder, Dr. May Cravath Wharton, covering her service as a physician to Pleasant Hill Academy and the surrounding community, as well as the two medical facilities she founded, Uplands (now Cumberland Medical Center) and Wharton Nursing Home. The collection is composed of materials collected by various staff and patrons of Uplands Retirement Village, including Dr. May Cravath Wharton, and individuals from the Pleasant Hill community. The materials date between 1847 and 2005. Totaling approximately 52 linear feet and housed in 112 boxes and one oversize folder, the Uplands (Cumberland County, Tenn.) Records contain audio/visual materials, awards and certificates, biographical/historical sketches, meeting minutes, by-laws, charters, correspondence, funeral programs, guest registers, floor plans, land records, maps, medical ledgers, newspaper clippings, journals, obituaries, circulars, poetry, press releases, reports, wills, a diploma, a thesis, genealogical materials, scrapbooks, bulletins, newsletters, brochures, pamphlets, photographs, slides, negatives, ephemera, and one piece of sheet music (“Beautiful Isle of Somewhere”). The collection documents the life of Dr. May Cravath Wharton as well as the rise of Uplands Retirement Village and Cumberland Medical Center, with a portion of the materials relating to Pleasant Hill Academy and Pleasant Hill Community Church. The highlight of the assemblage is the 75 boxes of photographs which include printed photographs, slides, negatives, contact sheets, and scrapbooks.

Library and Archives Workshop: Locked Up – Finding Ancestors in Prisons and Asylums

April 14, 2018 - Following the trail of an ancestor in trouble with the law or plagued with mental illness is often difficult. Using examples from actual records in Tennessee and elsewhere, State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherrill discusses how to locate the records, what to glean from the information and how to deal with confidentiality restrictions.


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.


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