Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Civilian Conservation Corps

The Civilian Conservation Corps was established 75 years ago this month. See the article about the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Tennessean (March 19), Boys of 'Roosevelt's Tree Army' helped build bridges, roads, parks

C.C.C. workers from Co. 1473 splitting logs at Camp Evan Shelby
(Tennessee State Library and Archives)

After reading history articles like this one, it's very easy to search the Volunteer Voices database to see if relevant primary source materials appear. In this case, Volunteer Voices includes the Civilian Conservation Corps in Tennessee, 1933-1942 collection from the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Camp Tenn., TVA 29 Christmas 1936 Menu and Roster
(Tennessee State Library and Archives)

In addition to a very nice collection of photographs, yearbooks, and documents, you will find a number of unexpected treasures. In the newspaper article, Robert L. Griffin recalls, "I ate better in the CCC than I was getting at home." The menus for Christmas and Thanksgiving seem to support Mr. Griffin's view.

Civil War Letters at UT-Chattanooga

The following article appeared in Tuesday's issue of the Chattanooga Free Press:
Digitized Collection of General's Letters Gives Public Access to Civil War History
Steven Cox, university archivist at UT-Chattanooga, notes the importance of Union Gen. John T. Wilder and how the digital collection contributes to the preservation of the letters. Don't miss the video of Cox (just below the article) talking about the collection. Access the digital collection at:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Volunteer Voices By the Numbers

Students of Vinson School, Stewart County, Tennessee, 1942 (Stewart County Public Library)
More than 40 contributing institutions, large and small, are represented in the database thus far. Stewart County Public Library's collection of photos of students at rural schools in the 1930s and 1940s provides an example of one of the most important goals of Volunteer Voices: highlighting the rich primary source materials from small institutions.

In addition, there are 2191 records representing 5470 images in the database so far. Later this year, these numbers will be:
  • Contributing institutions: 97
  • Records in database: 5,000
  • Images in database: 10,000

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Women's History Sources in Volunteer Voices

In honor of Women's History Month, here's just a sample of primary source material in the Volunteer Voices database.

African American Women

The photo at left, "Maxine A. Smith at downtown business boycott," is just one of many items from the Maxine A. Smith NAACP Collection at Memphis Public Library. Smith was executive secretary of the Memphis branch of the NAACP.

The database also includes collections of photographs of African-Americans from the Beck Cultural Exchange Center and the University of Tennessee Libraries.

Women's Suffrage

Febb E. Burn in Niota, Tennessee to Harry T. Burn in Nashville, Tennessee (Harry T. Burn Papers, C. M. McClung Historical Collection)
This is the famous letter written by Harry Burn's mother to her son in the Tennesse state legislature in which she urges him to vote for women's suffrage.

The collection also includes political cartoons, correspondence, and broadsides, both for and against women's suffrage.


"Memphis Conference Female Institute uniform" (Lambuth University).

Volunteer Voices offers photos of students at a number of schools and colleges, including the Athenaeum, Centenary College, Hiwassee College, Lambuth College, and Ward-Belmont College. Other highlights include pamphlets, such as Dormitory Rules and Regulations for Young Women at Middle Tennessee State Teacher's College (1932), Ward-Belmont College Dress Regulations (1928), and the 1909 yearbook of the Columbia Female Institute.

Women Workers

"Worker at machine" (Bemis Collection, Union University)

This is one of several images of women workers at the cotton mill in Bemis, Tennessee. Additional photos of women workers are available from the Englewood Textile Museum. Home demonstration work is documented in the Virginia Moore Collection. Moore, a native Tennessean, began a career as a home demonstration agent in 1909 and subsequently served in various positions related to home economics until 1946.