An amazing online site titled; ‘Tennessee Virtual Archive’ has a superb series of collections which span the 19th and 20th century history, people, events and culture of Tennessee. This region dates back to the 18th century when it was part of North Carolina and even the short-lived State of Franklin which would ultimately become part of the State of Tennessee. This is illustrated in the site’s collection of historical maps of the area, some dating to 1795.
With over thirty major categories the vast selection within each is enormous. Photos are a huge portion of the many collections, with images from the Civil War (soldiers, and civilians); Reconstruction (the life and effects on the people); the Tennessee Centennial Exposition; Agriculture; Tennessee Arts & Crafts; Prints of Native Indians; Life In the early 20th century; the Tennessee State Guard; Tennessee military during World War I and Schoolhouses. A nice collection of Tennessee 64 postcards are also available on this virtual archive.
Unique images, not found in other locations, include some 40 photos of the finest quilts made by residents over the years in Tennessee. Another uncommon collection is the vast assortment of documents, records, images and newspaper articles all relating to Tennessee’s native son, Sgt. Alvin C. York, a hero from World War I.
An interesting collection are the ‘broadsides’, those advertisements for businesses, auctions, political debates, lectures, etc., which were posted on the side of buildings or on street posts were meant to be displayed for a short time. The variety include a notice about it being a misdemeanor offense to be drunk on the public square, a speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King and a lecture on the science of Love in Courtship.
With the Scopes Trial of 1925 held in Tennessee there is also a collection of the people and events surrounding that historical time period. The State of Tennessee vs. John Thomas Scopes and the teaching of evolution focused world attention on this controversy.
The site also has images of documents. Some cover the establishment of colleges, the construction of roads, creation of counties, treaties, Confederate pension applications, 1914 death certificated from Davidson County, journals of POWs in Germany to 179 documents relating to Tennessee regiments and soldiers during the Civil War.
For each of the collections there is an easy search box or just browse each collection. A thumbnail image appears along with a full description for each. A click on the thumbnail enlarges the image. With the site covering so many decades in Tennessee and its people, there is surely related information for anyone with ancestors from the state.
The photo above is of Confederate Sergeant Major Charles Beecher in 1861.