Tennessee Historical Society

Tennessee Historical Society The Tennessee Historical Society is a non-profit, membership organization. Established in 1849, the Society's purpose is to "promote interest in and preservation of all matters relating to the history of Tennessee."[email protected]
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The Military Branch of the Tennessee State Museum in the War Memorial Building will temporarily close on November 9, 201...
11/05/2019

The Military Branch of the Tennessee State Museum in the War Memorial Building will temporarily close on November 9, 2019. This week is your last opportunity to see the current exhibits on Tennesseans in foreign wars, spanning the Spanish American War of the 1890s to World War II. The 1980s-era exhibits are a time capsule of how we viewed our place in the world forty years ago. The museum will reopen in late December with a smaller graphic exhibit on wars from the 1890s to the 21st century.

Join us at Belmont Mansion this September for the Tennessee Historical Society's programs in partnership with Belmont, s...
08/26/2019
www.tennesseehistory.org

Join us at Belmont Mansion this September for the Tennessee Historical Society's programs in partnership with Belmont, starting with "Women in the Occupied City," a program by Carole Bucy,

You are invited to attend the Tennessee Historical Society's Annual THS Membership AddressWednesday, May 15, 2019, at 5:...
05/13/2019

You are invited to attend the Tennessee Historical Society's Annual THS Membership Address

Wednesday, May 15, 2019, at 5:30 PM
Fort Negley Visitor Center
1100 Fort Negley Boulevard, Nashville
Athens of the New South:
College Life and the Making of Modern Nashville
Mary Ellen Pethel, PhD

Long before the national media dubbed Nashville as the “It City,” the city gained renown as the “Athens of the South.” Mary Ellen Pethel will look at the blossoming of higher education after the Civil War -- schools such as Vanderbilt, Peabody, Fisk, Roger Williams, Belmont, Lipscomb, Trevecca, and many more. Some flourished and some failed, but Nashville ultimately has been distinguished as much by the quality of its schools as much as the quantity.

Reserve your place for the program by calling the THS at 615-741-8934 or messaging us.

Today is the Big Payback! Support our Tennessee History Day program -- serving more than 8,500 students across the state...
05/02/2019

Today is the Big Payback! Support our Tennessee History Day program -- serving more than 8,500 students across the state. A donation of $10 of more will support our THD kids -- go to https://www.thebigpayback.org/tnhistory.

Blackberry winter is just around the corner. In the days before the National Weather Service’s precise predictions, in t...
04/25/2019
Blackberry Winter & Other Tennessee Little Winters - Tennessee Historical Society

Blackberry winter is just around the corner. In the days before the National Weather Service’s precise predictions, in the days when most Tennesseans still worked on the farm, reading weather behavior from the signs was a survival skill. Farmers depended on folk wisdom for when to plant their crops and gardens. Learn about the other little winters at our blog, "1796."

Blackberry winter waits just around the corner, at the end of April. How do we know? Swelling flower buds on the wild canes in the fields and along the rural roadsides threaten to burst into bloom. And with the flowers comes the last good threat of frost in Tennessee.

Blackberry winter is just around the corner. In the days before the National Weather Service’s precise predications, in ...
04/23/2019
Blackberry Winter & Other Tennessee Little Winters - Tennessee Historical Society

Blackberry winter is just around the corner. In the days before the National Weather Service’s precise predications, in the days when most Tennesseans still worked on the farm, reading weather behavior from the signs was a survival skill. Farmers depended on folk wisdom for when to plant their crops and gardens. Learn about the other little winters at our blog, "1796."

Blackberry winter waits just around the corner, at the end of April. How do we know? Swelling flower buds on the wild canes in the fields and along the rural roadsides threaten to burst into bloom. And with the flowers comes the last good threat of frost in Tennessee.

Beale Street in Memphis thrived in the shadow of Jim Crow from the 1890s to 1960s, one of many such districts in cities ...
04/09/2019
Beale Street, Hotel Clark, and The Green-Book - Tennessee Historical Society

Beale Street in Memphis thrived in the shadow of Jim Crow from the 1890s to 1960s, one of many such districts in cities across the U.S. that imposed segregation in business and housing. African American travelers to Memphis could depend on good lodging at the Hotel Clark at 144 Beale. The hotel regularly advertised in The Negro Motorist Green-Book, the must-have guide for safe stays in the 50 states. Learn more at our THS website...

Beale Street in Memphis thrived in the shadow of Jim Crow from the 1890s to 1960s, one of many such districts in cities across the U.S. that imposed segregation in business and housing. African American travelers to Memphis could depend on good lodging at the Hotel Clark at 144 Beale. The hotel regu...

Did you know Camp Boxwell was on the Harpeth River in the 1930s? Or that TN Sen. Estes Kefauver was a star of 1950s Cong...
04/02/2019

Did you know Camp Boxwell was on the Harpeth River in the 1930s? Or that TN Sen. Estes Kefauver was a star of 1950s Congressional hearings? Or that WDIA in Memphis coupled great music with community activism? These are the featured Tennessee stories in the most recent issue of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly -- if you want the issue go to https://www.tennesseehistory.org/publications/tennessee-historical-quarterly/.

The members of the Ladies Hermitage Association were on the cutting edge of historic preservation when they formed 130 y...
03/26/2019
Sharing Our Legacy: 130 Years of the Ladies' Hermitage Association | The Hermitage

The members of the Ladies Hermitage Association were on the cutting edge of historic preservation when they formed 130 years ago. If you're interested in women's history, Nashville history, or the interpretation of Andrew Jackson's legacy, attend this free event on April 5, 2019.

Join us in celebrating the 130th Anniversary of The Andrew Jackson Foundation. Originally named the Ladies’ Hermitage Association, the Foundation is one of the oldest women’s organizations and historic preservation organizations in the country. We invite the community to help us celebrate our fo...

If you're in the Memphis area this weekend, join us at the great program on "The Road to Suffrage" this Saturday, March ...
03/26/2019
The Road to Suffrage: Memphis

If you're in the Memphis area this weekend, join us at the great program on "The Road to Suffrage" this Saturday, March 30 at the Pink Place Museum. The Tennessee Historical Society is pleased to be a founding member of the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial Collaborative.

Most histories of woman suffrage represent the Civil War-era as a missed opportunity when women could have received the vote alongside black men but were abandoned by abolitionist men—black and white—who believed that it was “The Negro’s Hour” and withheld crucial support. But the Civil Wa...

Join us for our program on Old Hickory on March 20! On January 29, 1918, Dupont and the U.S. government embarked on buil...
03/14/2019

Join us for our program on Old Hickory on March 20! On January 29, 1918, Dupont and the U.S. government embarked on building a massive factory and town along the Cumberland River. In the space of a year, Dupont created the world’s largest munition plant. The plant produced massive quantities of gunpowder – as much as 900,000 pounds a day -- for the battlefields of World War I. Lou Cretia Owen joined the 10,000+ women finding work at the plant. The 22-year-old was a welfare worker in the Woman’s Work Department. Her job oversaw anything to do with female employees, from greeting job recruits to inspecting dormitories to dealing with problems generated by what she called “the wild heart of Old Hickory. More of her story is at https://www.tennesseehistory.org/old-hickory-gunpowder-lou-cretia-owen/.

Remember the "tumbling race downstairs" to see what Santa brought? Katy Angel describes her family's Christmases in the ...
12/14/2018

Remember the "tumbling race downstairs" to see what Santa brought? Katy Angel describes her family's Christmases in the Tennessee hills in the 1910s, the fragrance of Christmas cooking, the giant Christmas tree at Glade Creek School, and more at https://www.tennesseehistory.org/christmas-time-angel-farm/.

11/19/2018
Belmont Mansion

Turn in to hear Ann and Mark talk about travel on the Cumberland River!

Time for #MansionMondays! We're talking with Ann Toplovich, Executive Director of the Tennessee Historical Society about Cumberland River boat travel. Hard to wrap our 21st century heads around the idea that efficient movement of goods in the early 19th century was dependent upon how much water the river had. The Cumberland is high today; it's the right time of the year. But not always... #belmontmansion #riverboats #tennesseehistory #nashville #visitmusiccity #cumberland

09/24/2018
Tennessee Historical Society

Thank you to each and every one of you who has liked the Tennessee Historical Society page -- we just reached 6,000! Please share our posts to your own page if you think it will interest your friends. The more people who are interested in Tennessee history, the better!

The Tennessee Historical Society is a non-profit, membership organization. Established in 1849, the Society's purpose is to "promote interest in and preservation of all matters relating to the history of Tennessee."[email protected]

09/13/2018
Tennessee State Museum

This guitar belonged to Eliza Allen, the forlorn bride of Sam Houston. A prized item in the Tennessee Historical Society’s collections, the guitar is a featured object at the new Tennessee State Museum, opening on October 4, 2018. The story of Eliza and Sam’s fateful marriage is on our journal page, 1796,” at https://www.tennesseehistory.org/sam-houston-eliza-allen-ten-thousand-imputed-slanders/. The parlor guitar was made by famous luthier Aubry-Marie of Mirecourt in France, a great guitar center. Made of birds-eye maple and inlaid with mother of pearl, it was recently repaired for the new exhibit, “Forging a Nation,” you can see the guitar being played here:

We recently had repair work done to a parlor guitar made by Aubry-Maire in France about 1820. The guitar belonged to Eliza Allen, who came from a wealthy Middle Tennessee family and married Tennessee governor Sam Houston. The marriage only lasted a few months, and the scandal drove Houston from Tennessee to Texas. The guitar is part of the Tennessee Historical Society collection at the Museum and is slated for the “Forging a Nation” exhibition at the New Museum when it opens in October. Here is a short clip of Manuel Delgado from Delgado Guitars , who did the work on the guitar, playing it.

On April 11, 1829, Sam Houston and his bride of eleven weeks, Eliza Allen, abruptly ended their marriage. Neither would ...
09/12/2018
Sam Houston and Eliza Allen: “Ten Thousand Imputed Slanders” - Tennessee Historical Society

On April 11, 1829, Sam Houston and his bride of eleven weeks, Eliza Allen, abruptly ended their marriage. Neither would speak publicly of the cause for the rest of their lives. Eliza returned to her parents’ home in Sumner County. Sam fled to Arkansas territory to live among the Cherokee, after resigning as governor of Tennessee.

“And now that domestic misfortune, of which I say nothing, and about which there are ten thousand imputed slanders, has come upon, as a black cloud at noonday, I am to be hunted down!” Sam wrote Andrew Jackson on May 11, 1829, “What am I? an Exile from my home; and my country, a houseless unshelter'd wanderer, among the Indians! Who has met, or who has sustained, such sad and unexpected reverses?”

Want the rest of the story? See our "1796" journal entry at https://www.tennesseehistory.org/sam-houston-eliza-allen-ten-thousand-imputed-slanders/.

Support Tennessee History Day with a gift through The Big Payback -- https://www.thebigpayback.org/tnhistory -- from mid...
05/02/2018

Support Tennessee History Day with a gift through The Big Payback -- https://www.thebigpayback.org/tnhistory -- from midnight to midnight on Wednesday, May 2. All donations will go toward History Day, serving 7,500+ students across the state through a year-long curriculum program and tiered competition. A $10 gift = services to 1 student. Thanks for your help!

Now live! -- The newest on-line version of The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture – Version 3.0!Your free sou...
05/01/2018

Now live! -- The newest on-line version of The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture – Version 3.0!

Your free source for Tennessee History, The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture is a reference resource from the Tennessee Historical Society. Unlike crowd-sourced sites, with anonymous contributors and often suspect content, The Tennessee Encyclopedia’s entries are reviewed by Editor-in-Chief and State Historian Carroll Van West, PhD, and authors of the entries are identified. The website is presented in partnership with the University of Tennessee Press.

The Tennessee Encyclopedia first appeared in print in 1998 and has been on-line since 2002. Containing approximately 2,000 entries on all aspects of Tennessee history, art, culture, and music, by almost 600 authors, even more updated entries and new content will be added in the months to come.

Visit www.tennesseeencyclopedia.net on your computer, tablet, or smartphone whenever you have a question about Tennessee history.

7500 students took part in the Tennessee History Day program this year, with 282 at the State Contest on April 7. 62 stu...
04/13/2018
Tennessee History Day - Tennessee Historical Society THD Contest Results

7500 students took part in the Tennessee History Day program this year, with 282 at the State Contest on April 7. 62 students now advance to National History Day in June 2018. Good luck to you all! More at https://www.tennesseehistory.org/tennessee-history-day/thd-2018-contest-results/.

Tennessee History Day! The Tennessee Historical Society would like to congratulate the winners of the 2017 Tennessee History Day. National History Day Tennessee

04/11/2018

The THS program by Ridley Wills on this evening, April 11, at 5:30 at Fort Negley Visitor Center may be impacted by NES power line work at the corner of Edgehill and Fort Negley Boulevard. The alternate entrance to the Visitor Center is to come in from the north on Fort Negley Boulevard, past the Adventure Science Center. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Hernando de Soto and his private army emerged from the dense forest of the Blue Ridge at the end of May in 1540, and beg...
02/20/2018

Hernando de Soto and his private army emerged from the dense forest of the Blue Ridge at the end of May in 1540, and began descending the Nolichucky River valley. The conquistadores – conquerors – finding their way into the future Tennessee, searched for gold, copper, silver, and pearls. Crossing the peaks in the hot days of late spring, Garcilosa de la Vega tells us about foot soldier Juan Terrón, wearied from the weight of his load. Taking a linen bag out of his knapsack, he asked a friend to carry it – more than six pounds of unbored pearls. His friend refused, suggesting Terrón buy horses in Havana. Terrón, angered by the refusal, growled, “Well, since you do not want the pearls, I swear to God that I will not take them either, so they will remain here.” He then opened the bag and scattered the pearls as if sowing seed, and returned the empty bag to his knapsack. Terrón’s friends scrambled for the pearls, as big as hazelnuts and fat chickpeas. Afterward they taunted him with the sing-song “perlas no son/para Juan Terrón” – “pearls are not for Juan Terrón.” Heckled this way for several days, Terrón finally cried out, “For the love of God, do not mention this matter to me again; I assure you that each time you remind me of my stupidity, I feel a desire to hang myself from a tree.” Find out more about the expedition at http://www.tennesseehistory.org/de-soto-east-tennessee-may-june-1540/.

Construction is under way to upgrade the software, design, and content of the Tennessee Historical Society's Tennessee E...
01/29/2018
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Construction is under way to upgrade the software, design, and content of the Tennessee Historical Society's Tennessee Encyclopedia at http://www.tennesseeencyclopedia.net/. As you can see, content will be unavailable from time to time until late February 2018. But we look forward offering you a fresh look and fresh content soon. Thank you for your patience.

"We fired our guns and the British kept a comin', There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago. We fired once more...
01/08/2018

"We fired our guns and the British kept a comin', There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago. We fired once more and they commenced to runnin', on down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico." January 8 marks the anniversary of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans -- the day General Andrew Jackson of Tennessee became "The Hero" of the nation. Until the Civil War, January 8th was a patriotic celebration only second to the 4th of July. Our Featured Item this week is the earliest portrait of Jackson -- from 1818 -- http://www.tennesseehistory.org/general-andrew-jackson-1818/.

Do you have plans for the weekend? “No social event in recent years has excited public interest to so intense a pitch as...
12/29/2017

Do you have plans for the weekend? “No social event in recent years has excited public interest to so intense a pitch as the wedding of Miss Kate Thompson to Mr. Van Leer Kirkman,” declared the Memphis Daily Appeal society editor on December 31, 1886. What can be more exciting than a New Year’s party? The New Year’s wedding of “the catch of the State” and “the acknowledged belle of Memphis”! Experience the wonders of the wedding -- with 1,000 guests -- at http://www.tennesseehistory.org/kate-thompson-van-leer-kirkmana-brilliant-noted-wedding-december-30-1886/. Happy 2018!

Have you been naughty or nice this year? The very first letter from a TN child to Santa Claus that we could find dates f...
12/20/2017

Have you been naughty or nice this year? The very first letter from a TN child to Santa Claus that we could find dates from 1895. By 1920, newspapers across the state were devoting special sections to Letters to Santa Claus. Read the hopes and dreams of children from the late 19th and early 20th centuries at the latest installment of "1796." http://www.tennesseehistory.org/letters-santa-claus-1895-1920/

Happy Hanukkah! It’s the 3rd day of the Festival of Lights. Did you know that the oldest existing synagogue (1882) in Te...
12/14/2017

Happy Hanukkah! It’s the 3rd day of the Festival of Lights. Did you know that the oldest existing synagogue (1882) in Tennessee is Temple Addas Israel in Brownsville? The congregation was formed in 1867 under the leadership of the German-born Confederate veteran Jacob Felsenthal and his brothers. Tennessee sure has a fascinating and complex history. Learn more about Jewish settlement in the Volunteer State at our on-line Tennessee Encyclopedia at http://www.tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entry.php?rec=705.

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