Biographies of Pivotal Tennesseans at the 2014 Southern Festival of Books

I have the distinct privilege of participating in this year's Southern Festival of Books, which will be held this weekend in Nashville. I will be part of a session, entitled "From the State of Franklin to TVA: Biographies of Pivotal Tennesseans," with Gordon Belt, Traci Nichols-Belt, and Aaron D. Purcell. Our session will be held Saturday, October 11, …

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Does Tennessee’s New History Bill Employ Historical Thinking ?

The Tennessee General Assembly is currently considering a bill that appears to emphasize a specific political agenda in the teaching of history in the state's public schools. The version of the bill passed by the state senate says: Generally, present law requires the textbook commission to recommend textbooks to the state board of education for use …

TSLA Adds Online Newspaper Archives

I am super happy about the news that the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) and ProQuest have partnered to provide runs of several early Nashville newspapers online. This database is accessible only within the main TSLA building in Nashville; free access is also being provided to the public libraries in Springfield, Ashland City, Franklin, …

Should Public Funding for History Be Cut?

Governor Bill Haslam has issued his amendment to the 2011-12 budget. Sadly, the proposed budget cuts to TSLA that I've discussed on several occasions remain intact. The mantra from Secretary Tre Hargett's office has remained consistent. As Speaker Beth Harwell wrote in an e-mail response to my concerns, "I have spoken with Secretary Hargett's office, and have been reassured the …

Don’t Forget TSLA!

At the risk of repeating myself, I want to remind you to contact Tennessee politicians regarding the proposed TSLA budget cuts. You can find their contact info here. I'm hearing through back-channel contacts that these cuts are not necessarily a done deal. I'm not quite sure what that means, since personnel who are being forcibly …

Editorial on TSLA Budget Cuts in Today’s Tennessean

The Nashville Tennessean published the editorial that I submitted early in the week. I find it fascinating that comments on the newspaper website are already critical of my stance. I never thought that maintaining public access to state historical resources was that controversial, but, apparently, I was wrong. Again, the taxpayer is being asked to fund …

2011 Tennessee Conference of Historians

Tennessee Conference of Historians Annual Meeting Call for Papers and Panels -------------------------- The Tennessee Conference of Historians gathers for its 2011 meeting Thursday, September 1 through Saturday, September 3, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The meeting offers the historians of Tennessee an opportunity to meet and to share current research and to discuss issues of interest. The …

Update on TSLA Budget Cuts

At the recommendation of Secretary of State Tre Hargett, State Librarian Chuck Sherrill has replied to an e-mail that I sent him summarizing my arguments in this blog post. His e-mail hewed closely to what Gordon Belt posted on Monday, but with some additional information. First, Sherrill noted that TSLA will have a Tu.-Sat. 8:00-4:30 schedule that will …

Budget Cuts Affecting Tennessee History

Update: Gordon Belt has added some additional perspective and provided State Librarian Chuck Sherrill's official response to questions about the cuts. Upcoming budget cuts will affect those interested in studying Tennessee history. The budget proposed by Governor Bill Haslam recommends the cutting of seven full-time positions at the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) [1]. …

The Hermitage’s Podcast Series: The Tennessee Constitutional Convention of 1796

The Hermitage has posted its newest podcast, "The Tennessee Constitutional Convention of 1796": In February 1796, deliberations wrapped up on Tennessee's first Constitutional Convention (which would be signed by President Washington on June 1). Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist Charles Sherrill talks about the nuances of the first Tennessee Constitution.