"See The Harvest" through John Sevier's eyes...

   Can you imagine the President of the United States delivering his State of the Union address through a series of four 15-minute videos narrated by an actor portraying George Washington? Likewise, can you imagine a sitting governor delivering his State of the State message through a similar dramatic method? Believe it or not, this actually happened in 1956, as Tennessee Governor Frank G. Clement used "a novel narration technique" to deliver his administration's progress report, conjuring up the ghost of John Sevier in the process to explain his accomplishments.

   Allow me to take you back in time to the following press release issued by Gov. Clement's office on December 1, 1956 announcing the premier of a film series entitled, See The Harvest...


   With the release this month of a film series titled See The Harvest, Tennessee embarks on a unique venture in state government, Governor Frank Clement said today.

   See The Harvest is a series of four fifteen minute films which will be shown on television stations across the state during December. The films depict the progress made in the major fields of state government during the past three and a half years.

   "This is what you might call a mid-term report to the people of Tennessee," Governor Clement told newsmen at his news conference today.

   The first of the series will be seen December 2, and shows progress in highway construction and traffic safety. The second film depicts developments in Education and Mental Health; the third, scheduled the third week of December, takes up the departments of Public Health, Public Welfare, Corrections, Agriculture and Conservation. The final film will reveal developments in the Tennessee National Guard, industrial expansion, the Employment Security Department, and state finances.

   Ten of the state's thirteen television stations have agreed to carry the series during December. The films are in color and will be available to schools, PTA groups, civic and luncheon clubs across the state upon request. The Governor said he hopes a showing can be scheduled for the 1957 General Assembly.


In See the Harvest, "Tom Carter," played by Richard Beauchamp, introduces "John Sevier," portrayed by veteran WSM announcer Grant Turner, to the progress made under the administration of Tennessee Gov. Frank G. Clement.
Image credit: Frank Goad Clement Papers, Tennessee State Library and Archives.


   See The Harvest is a Division of Information project written and produced by Howard Anderson, and photographed by three veteran state cameramen, Paul Moore and Wallace Danley of the Conservation Department, and D.S. McCormac of the Agriculture Department.

   The idea of reporting the progress of this administration in such an unusual fashion was first discussed by Governor Clement in September. The series was then produced in a record two months at a cost of only $158 a film minute. Had the state contracted for the entire project with a film company the cost would have run between $500 and $1000 a film minute, Clement said.

   Maytag Productions, Kansas City, edited the series. The Calvin Company, also of Kansas City, did the necessary laboratory work, and Bradley Studios of Nashville contracted to record the narration.

   See The Harvest uses a novel narration technique. The viewer sees the progress the State government has made through the eyes of John Sevier, the first governor of Tennessee, played by Grant Turner, veteran WSM announcer. He is conducted on his movie tour by a typical Tennessee youngster, Tom Carter, who is acted by Richard Beauchamp, a senior at West High School, Nashville.

   Lost to time and distant memory, See the Harvest resides at the Tennessee State Library and Archives in its original 16mm format. Due to its age and somewhat brittle condition, archivists have taken measures to preserve See the Harvest for posterity, carefully storing the original film in a secure, temperature-controlled vault. Archivists have also preserved the documents created by government officials involved in the film's production, giving researchers a glimpse into the inner workings of state government at this important time in Tennessee's history.

   Gov. Clement knew that television could convey his administration's mid-term message to a broad audience far more effectively than any speech he might deliver. As indicated in the governor's press release, nearly every television station within the state of Tennessee aired See the Harvest during the month of December in 1956. In addition, documents within the Frank Goad Clement Papers at TSLA reveal that Gov. Clement's administration issued a memorandum to the heads of all departments and agencies within state government urging all state employees to view See the Harvest at Tennessee's War Memorial Building during a scheduled viewing on December 12, 1956. These aggressive publicity efforts ensured that citizens and state employees alike knew about Gov. Clement's accomplishments.

   Gov. Clement's surrogates throughout each state agency also wrote letters of praise for the film production. In a letter dated December 7, 1956, Commissioner Donald M. McSween of Tennessee's Department of Employment Security wrote, "Having seen all four films in the natural color in which they were photographed, I can attest to their high quality and effectiveness. In fact, it constitutes one of the best jobs of its sort I have ever seen and we understand is without parallel in any of the other states." Other commissioners wrote similar letters expressing pride in the film's production quality achieved at a significant cost savings.

   While See the Harvest received almost universal praise within state government, at least one official expressed concern about a scene in the film depicting a young boy "chained to a tree and scratching the ground" -- a scene meant to dramatically illustrate the state of child welfare in Tennessee and to communicate Gov. Clement's efforts to improve conditions in areas of education and mental health. Tennessee's Commissioner of Mental Health C. J. Ruilmann, M.D., responded to this concern in a December 27, 1956 letter. He stated, "I made some subsequent inquiries and found that the members of the group to whom I talked considered that particular scene to be excellent, hard-hitting photography and that they felt as I do that the scene should be left in. We agree that it is rather forceful but it does tell a story."

   Using this storytelling technique to deliver a "mid-term report" to the citizens of Tennessee and to state employees made perfect sense to government officials at the time, although by today's standards one might view the acting as amateurish and the information delivery method as a bit contrived. Still, See the Harvest spoke to not only how the Clement administration viewed television as a powerful communication medium, but it also spoke to how Tennesseans remembered their first governor. Within the state, many decades after his death, Sevier still captured the imagination of politicians and citizens alike. Bringing Sevier back to life in this creative way gave Tennesseans yet another way to embrace their very own frontier legend, Revolutionary War patriot, and "first hero."


SELECTED SOURCES:

Record Group 137 - Tennessee Department of Conservation, Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Frank Goad Clement Papers, Tennessee State Library and Archives.

 
 
Gordon Belt is an information professional, archives advocate, public historian, and author of The History Press book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, which examines the life of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, through the lens of history and memory. On The Posterity Project, Gordon offers reflections on archives, public history, and memory from his home state of Tennessee.

'Southern Festival of Books' and a visit to Blount Mansion highlight October events

I'm pleased to share news that during the month of October we've confirmed appearances at the following venues in support of our latest book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero...

  • Humanities Tennessee recently announced its schedule for the 26th annual Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. On Saturday, October 11th from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CT. we have the honor of participating in a panel discussion entitled, "From State of Franklin to TVA: Biographies of Pivotal Tennesseans." Traci and I will present our book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero. Participating on the panel with us are Dr. Mark Cheathem (Andrew Jackson, Southerner) and Dr. Aaron Purcell (Arthur Morgan: Reformer, Engineer and Visionary Builder of Modern America). This panel discussion will take place at the Nashville Public Library, Third Floor Program Room, and will be followed by a book signing at War Memorial Plaza. Visit the Humanities Tennessee website for a complete schedule and make plans now to attend this annual event.

  • Immediately following the Festival, we travel to Knoxville on Monday, October 13th for a visit with members and friends of Blount Mansion for a dinner lecture and book signing at The Grill at Highlands Row (4705 Old Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919) at 6:00 p.m. ET. We plan to discuss our book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, as well as Sevier's relationship with William Blount. Visit the Blount Mansion's blog for details, or view the Mansion's "Events" page for further information. For reservations, call 865-525-2375 or email info@blountmansion.org to RSVP for this event.

  • We wrap up October's book tour with an appearance at the "Tennessee History Fair" on Saturday, October 18th at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park in Nashville. Come see us at the "Author's Table" along with other local historians, and take in the living history demonstrations and other activities. We'll be at the park on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. CT. We hope to see you there!

After this, we have just three more events on our calendar before taking a break for the holiday season. Details to come. In the meantime, mark your calendars for these outstanding events in the month of October.


 
Gordon Belt is an information professional, archives advocate, public historian, and author of The History Press book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, which examines the life of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, through the lens of history and memory. On The Posterity Project, Gordon offers reflections on archives, public history, and memory from his home state of Tennessee.

An "Admirer of Patriotism and Merit Unequaled."

   The following blog post is an edited excerpt from my article published in the October 2014 edition of The Nashville Retrospect. The Nashville Retrospect is a monthly newspaper devoted to Nashville nostalgia and history. It features reprints of long-forgotten news, articles by local historians, and remembrances by older Nashvillians. The Nashville Retrospect can be purchased at a variety of locations throughout Davidson County and surrounding Middle Tennessee counties. Visit The Nashville Retrospect website for additional information.

   On September 7, 1851, the Nashville Daily Gazette triumphantly announced the dedication of a monument erected in Nashville’s City Cemetery honoring Tennessee’s first governor, John Sevier. The newspaper’s editors declared, “This monument, in design and execution, is worthy of the distinguished man whose many virtues and heroic services it is intended to commemorate.”

   Sevier’s memorial at the Nashville City Cemetery provided Tennesseans with a fitting tribute to a man historian Carl S. Driver later described as “Tennessee’s first hero.” Stone masons carved upon this fifteen-foot marble shaft a relief depicting two swords crossed, surmounted by a wreath, and beneath an Indian tomahawk and quiver of arrows. The noted North Carolina historian John H. Wheeler described this design as “emblematic of the triumph of our arms under the heroic auspices of General Sevier, and the blessings of peace and the arts of civilization succeeding the bloody and protracted Indian wars which illustrate the early history of our State, in which he acted a most arduous, responsible, and distinguished part.”

In 1851, A. W. Putnam erected this fifteen-foot tall cenotaph on the grounds of the Nashville City Cemetery and dedicated it to the memory of Sevier’s accomplishments as a “Noble and successful defender of the early settlers of Tennessee.”
Author photo.


   For nearly four decades, the monument erected at Nashville’s City Cemetery stood as the only memorial tribute to John Sevier on Tennessee soil. Few Tennesseans realized, however, that Sevier’s body remained buried on a plot of land hundreds of miles away in an overgrown field in Alabama, with little more than a charred oak stump and a small headstone to mark his grave. Aggrieved to discover that no monument to Sevier existed in Tennessee’s capital city, Albigence Waldo Putnam vowed to correct posterity’s oversight.

   As a lawyer, businessman, public official, writer, and founding member of the Tennessee Historical Society, A. W. Putnam devoted much of his life to preserving Sevier’s legacy and documenting the memory of Tennessee’s earliest settlers. Putnam located and preserved a variety of historically significant letters, including the papers of Sevier’s son, George Washington Sevier. Putnam’s collection provided a window into Sevier’s world and a rich narrative of early Tennessee history found nowhere else.

   On Sevier’s grand obelisk at the Nashville City Cemetery, Putnam instructed stone masons to inscribe words declaring Sevier to be a “Noble and successful defender of the early settlers of Tennessee,” and his epitaph proudly proclaimed Sevier “served his Country for Forty years faithfully and usefully and in her service died.”

   Sevier’s posthumous benefactor held no desire for public recognition. The words engraved on the cenotaph only revealed Putnam as an “Admirer of Patriotism and Merit Unequaled,” leaving the identity of the owner of Sevier’s monument at the Nashville City Cemetery a complete mystery. The Daily Gazette credited “This elegant tribute to one of Tennessee’s earliest defenders” to “the munificence and public spirit of a single individual,” unnamed by the paper, “a gentleman who has devoted much of his time to the investigation of the early history of Tennessee.”

   Today, Putnam’s memorial at Nashville’s City Cemetery still stands as resolute and firm as the man he chose to exalt. Putnam once wrote of Sevier, “His was a busy life; never at rest, never a retired man or private citizen.” The same could also be said of A. W. Putnam. His tireless devotion delivered Sevier from the shadows of obscurity and far beyond the pages of history. Putnam cast Sevier’s legend into stone and placed his memorial tribute alongside Nashville’s most prominent citizens at the Nashville City Cemetery, insuring that posterity recalled the legacy of “Tennessee’s first hero.”


Look for the complete text of this article within the pages of the October 2014 edition of The Nashville Retrospect on newsstands now.


SELECTED SOURCES:

A. W. Putnam. History of Middle Tennessee; or, Life and Times of Gen. James Robertson. Nashville, Tenn., 1859. Introduction to the New Edition by Stanley F. Horn, published April 1971 by the University of Tennessee Press.

Albigence Waldo Putnam Papers, 1775 - 1869. Tennessee Historical Society, Tennessee State Library and Archives.

John H. Wheeler. Historical Sketches of North Carolina from 1584 to 1851: A reprint of the original edition as written in 1851. New York: F. H. Hitchcock, 1925.

"Monument to Gen. John Sevier." Nashville Daily Gazette, September 7, 1851.


 
Gordon Belt is an information professional, archives advocate, public historian, and author of The History Press book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, which examines the life of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, through the lens of history and memory. On The Posterity Project, Gordon offers reflections on archives, public history, and memory from his home state of Tennessee.

The Winning of the West: Theodore Roosevelt's "wonderful story, most entertainingly told."


   The following blog post is an edited excerpt from my book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, which examines the life of Tennessee’s first governor, John Sevier, through the lens of history and memory.

   John Sevier's successful military campaigns against the Cherokees secured his standing for posterity as an idol of the frontier. Sevier's chroniclers eagerly cast him in the role of hero and savior of the white settlers and described him in almost reverential terms. The venerable Tennessee historian John Haywood observed that Sevier "was endowed by nature with those rare qualities which make the possessor in all places and with all people an object of attention and a depository of their confidence." Sevier's biographer Carl Driver concluded, "No other Tennessean contributed as much to the peace and safety of the old southwestern frontiers as 'Chucky Jack,' the Cherokee nemesis."

   In 1889, Theodore Roosevelt provided one notable exception to this expression of universal adoration with the publication of his multivolume work, The Winning of the West. Part narrative history and part tribute to Manifest Destiny, The Winning of the West celebrated the spread of western civilization. "During the past three centuries," Roosevelt wrote, "the spread of the English-speaking peoples over the world's waste spaces has been not only the most striking feature in the world's history, but also the event of all others most far-reaching in its importance."

   Roosevelt biographer Edmund Morris described The Winning of the West as "muscular" in its "bellicose expansionism." In his book, Roosevelt called the early settlers of the land west of the Appalachians "a sturdy race, enterprising and intelligent, fond of the strong excitement inherent in the adventurous frontier life." He evidently saw within them a kindred spirit. He wrote, "Their untamed and turbulent passions, and the lawless freedom of their lives, made them a population very productive of wild, headstrong characters." Roosevelt especially admired and identified with Sevier and his fellow frontier leaders. In a letter to Judge John M. Lea, president of the Tennessee Historical Society, Roosevelt wrote:

    "I am very nearly as much of a Dakota man as New Yorker; I like pioneer life and the part of our history for which I most care is that dealing with the expansion of our frontier and the building up of the nation. Sevier, Shelby, Clarke, Boone, Crockett, Houston, are all figures that excite my interest and sympathy far more than do the Eastern leaders of the same time--proud though I am of some of the latter."

   While he admired Sevier and his compatriots, Roosevelt believed these men should be held to a higher standard. Roosevelt cast a particularly critical eye toward Sevier's military tactics and evoked the founding fathers in his narrative to scorn Sevier's treatment of Native American prisoners. In The Winning of the West, Roosevelt documented an incident that occurred in 1788 during Sevier's campaign against the Overhill Cherokee, when militiamen took the Cherokee chiefs Old Abraham and Old Tassel prisoner. Sevier assigned John Kirk, a man whose family had been slaughtered by the Cherokees in an earlier skirmish, to guard the prisoners.

A prolific author, Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) wrote twenty-six books, over one thousand magazine articles and thousands of speeches and letters.
Image credit: Library of Congress

   According to Roosevelt's account, Sevier put the captured Cherokees in a hut and then left the scene. Roosevelt asserted that Sevier knew that Kirk and the rest of the troops stood eager to take justice into their own hands. Kirk entered the hut and attacked the Cherokee chiefs with a tomahawk while his comrades looked on without interfering. Roosevelt called this incident "a horrible deed of infamy" and said it constituted "criminal negligence" on Sevier's part for leaving his prisoners to the mercy of the "blood lust of his followers." The incident led to calls of condemnation from the Continental Congress and even diminished Sevier's reputation with President George Washington, who later claimed that Sevier "never was celebrated for anything except the murder of Indians." Roosevelt forcefully argued that Sevier "must be judged by a higher standard. He was a member of the Cincinnati, a correspondent of Franklin, a follower of Washington. He sinned against the light, and must be condemned accordingly."

   Though not a trained historian, Roosevelt always carefully documented his sources. While researching The Winning of the West, he traveled throughout the country in a meticulous quest to chronicle "the great deeds of the border people." Of his visits to Tennessee, Roosevelt wrote, "At Nashville, Tennessee, I had access to a mass of original matter in the shape of files of old newspapers, of unpublished letters, diaries, reports, and other manuscripts. I was given every opportunity to examine these at my leisure, and indeed to take such as were most valuable to my own home." Roosevelt eagerly scoured the archives of the Tennessee Historical Society for documentary evidence. In his preface, Roosevelt graciously acknowledged Judge Lea, to whom he felt indebted for "the unfailing courtesy" shown to him.

   Roosevelt's book garnered high praise from frontier scholars such as Frederick Jackson Turner, who called The Winning of the West "a wonderful story, most entertainingly told." Turner commended Roosevelt for his "breadth of view, capacity for studying local history in the light of world history, and in knowledge of the critical use of material." Roosevelt, however, encountered critics. Dr. William Frederick Poole, a librarian and scholar who served as the president of the American Library Association and the American Historical Association in the mid-1880s, praised Roosevelt for his prose. He nonetheless challenged him to devote more of his time and energy to examining the original source material at his disposal.

   Another critic, James Roberts Gilmore--a novelist and author of a popular trilogy of books chronicling the history of the trans-Appalachian frontier--went further, accusing Roosevelt of fraud and plagiarism. Evidently, Roosevelt provoked Gilmore with a footnote within his text challenging Gilmore's account of Sevier's life. In his criticism of Gilmore's 1887 book, John Sevier as a Commonwealth Builder, Roosevelt referenced Gilmore's use of "traditions gathered a century and a quarter after the event" as evidence that his accounts consisted of "mere fable." Roosevelt accused Gilmore of embellishing Sevier's battles with the Indian tribes of the region and added:

   "Sevier was neither leader nor participant in any such marvelous feats as Mr. Gilmore describes; on the contrary, the skirmishes in which he may have been engaged were of such small importance that no record remains concerning them. Had Sevier done any such deeds all the colonies would have rung with his exploits, instead of their remaining utterly unknown for a hundred and twenty-five years. It is extraordinary that any author should be willing to put his name to such reckless misstatements, in what purports to be a history and not a book of fiction."

   Roosevelt challenged Gilmore's charge of plagiarism, offering $1,000 to anyone who could prove that he had not written The Winning of the West himself and dared Gilmore to confront him directly with his accusations. Roosevelt branded Gilmore as a coward and dismissed his claims, stating, "It makes one almost ashamed to be in a controversy with him. There is a half-pleasurable excitement in facing an equal foe; but there is none whatever in trampling on a weakling."

   Despite Gilmore's criticism, Roosevelt's The Winning of the West quickly became a bestseller. The first edition of his book sold out in little more than a month and helped establish Roosevelt as a literary man and scholar, placing him on a path toward future greatness. Although Theodore Roosevelt earned fame as a politician and adventurer, his literary achievements also created a lasting legacy and his book, The Winning of the West, brought John Sevier's life and accomplishments, ever so briefly, to the forefront of the nation's collective memory.


SELECTED SOURCES:

Theodore Roosevelt. The Winning of the West. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1889.

Edmund Morris. Colonel Roosevelt and The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. New York : Random House, 2010.

James R. Gilmore. John Sevier as a Commonwealth Builder. New York : D. Appleton and Co., 1887.

"Preserving Archives of the State: Robert Thomas Quarles, State Archivist." John Trotwood Moore Papers. Tennessee State Library and Archives.



 
Gordon Belt is an information professional, archives advocate, public historian, and author of The History Press book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, which examines the life of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, through the lens of history and memory. On The Posterity Project, Gordon offers reflections on archives, public history, and memory from his home state of Tennessee.

September events for 'John Sevier' and 'Onward Southern Soldiers'

Traci and I are so grateful for the positive response we've received for our latest book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, and for the continued interest in our first title, Onward Southern Soldiers: Religion and the Army of Tennessee in the Civil War. As a result, our calendar of speaking events has filled up fast, and our book tour in support of both titles has kept us on the road for much of our spare time. Blog posts on The Posterity Project have been far and few between lately, but I've enjoyed taking this time off from writing on the blog to meet with folks face-to-face and to engage with our readers in person. Besides, isn't this what "social networking" is really all about -- real connections with real people? While I truly enjoy writing, this brief hiatus from the pen has been a welcome break from my normal routine.

Visit our "Events" page for a list of upcoming lectures and book signings.

As the seasons change and the leaves fall to the ground, life slows down a bit, but our book tour marches on at a hectic pace. I plan to resume a more regular blogging schedule in the weeks to come, but in the meantime, look for us at the following venues during the month of September:

  • On Monday, September 8th at 6:30 p.m. CT, we're honored to have the opportunity to speak to students and faculty at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, to discuss the life and legend of John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero. I am especially grateful to Dr. Mark Cheathem for extending this invitation to us. Dr. Cheathem has been blogging on the Jacksonian America blog for four years now, and has established himself as an authority on Andrew Jackson and the Jacksonian era of American history through his scholarship. In his latest award-winning book, Andrew Jackson Southerner, Cheathem argues for a reassessment of long-held views of Jackson as a backwoodsman and frontier hero, suggesting that in fact “Old Hickory” lived as an elite southern gentleman. John Sevier's rivalry with Andrew Jackson is, of course, a significant episode in the life of John Sevier, which I explore in my book. I expect this will be a topic of interest during the talk, so I hope you'll make plans to join us for this lecture and book signing. This event takes place in Labry Room 130 (a.k.a. the "Tiered Classroom") on the campus of Cumberland University. Visit the "History at Cumberland University" blog for additional information.

  • On Thursday, September 11th at 7:00 p.m. CT, we join members of the General Joseph E. Johnston SCV Camp 28 in Nashville, Tennessee, to discuss Onward Southern Soldiers: Religion and the Army of Tennessee in the Civil War. The camp meets at the Shoney's Restaurant on 365 White Bridge Road in Nashville, Tennessee. Dinner is at 6 p.m. and the lecture begins at 7 p.m. This meeting is open to both SCV members and to the general public, so I hope you'll make plans to join us for this dinner-time gathering.

  • Shortly thereafter, we take part in the Belmont Mansion's observance of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Nashville with a lecture and book signing in support of Onward Southern Soldiers at the mansion on the campus of Belmont University on Tuesday, September 16th at 5:00 p.m. CT. Throughout the month of September, Belmont Mansion will host several lectures commemorating the Civil War Battle of Nashville -- a battle that several soldiers recalled in their personal diaries and memoirs which we chronicled in Onward Southern Soldiers. Religion heavily influenced how these soldiers coped with the battle and how those who survived remembered it. We hope you'll mark your calendars for this special occasion and join us for this lecture and book signing.

  • Last, but certainly not least, we visit Clarksville, Tennessee on Tuesday, September 23rd at 1:00 p.m. CT for a lecture and book signing for John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero at a meeting of the Tennessee Daughters of the American Revolution, Captain William Edmiston Chapter. The DAR played a significant role in how writers, scholars and Revolutionary War veterans and their descendants remembered John Sevier's life. In fact, a chapter in my book details some of these efforts of remembrance. This is our first lecture before a DAR audience on this topic, so I'm excited to present John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero on this occasion, and I'm grateful to the Captain William Edmiston Chapter's leadership for extending this kind invitation. This event takes place at the Clarksville-Montgomery County Public Library on 350 Pageant Lane in Clarksville.

As you can see, September is a busy month, and the following months promise to be busy as well with several events scheduled, including an appearance at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. Stay tuned to The Posterity Project for details on these upcoming appearances and visit our "Events" page for additional information.


 
Gordon Belt is an information professional, archives advocate, public historian, and author of The History Press book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, which examines the life of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, through the lens of history and memory. On The Posterity Project, Gordon offers reflections on archives, public history, and memory from his home state of Tennessee.

Save the date! August book tour dates for John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero...

In the month of August, we're delighted to have three opportunities to talk about our latest book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero...

  • On Tuesday, August 5th, we visit the new Nashville Metro Archives located on the third floor of the Nashville Public Library.  The Nashville Metro Archives recently completed its move from its Green Hills facility to its new space at the downtown library. The new location is larger, climate-controlled and available more hours — and located less than a mile from the Tennessee State Library and Archives, creating a “research quadrant” for genealogists and historical researchers. As a public service archivist, I'm particularly excited to visit the new Metro Archives facility, and I am grateful to Metro Archives Director Ken Fieth for inviting us to this new venue to discuss our new book. Our talk begins at 2:30 p.m. CT. For parking and directions, please visit the Nashville Metro Archives website and the Nashville Public Library's event calendar for further information. I hope you'll make plans to join us.

  • On Saturday, August 16th, I travel to Knoxville for the seventh annual East Tennessee History Fair. The Fair takes place at the East Tennessee History Center, Krutch Park, and at various locations throughout downtown Knoxville. Several events and living history demonstrations are planned throughout the day, as well as music, crafts, historic walking tours, graveyard & museum tours, children's activities, and, of course, an author's table where you'll find me signing copies of John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero. Join me from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. ET for this historic celebration of East Tennessee.

  • Last, but certainly not least, we're pleased to have the opportunity to discuss our book with members of the August Book Club at The Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday, August 27th. Led by Erin Adams, Director of Public Programs, the group will meet at 10:00 a.m. CT at the Education Center. The books selected for this occasion reflect current scholarship on Tennessee, its military history, and takes a new look at many of its cherished heroes. We're honored to have John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero among the titles selected for study. The fee to participate is $5 per session. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, please call The Hermitage Director of Public Programs, Erin Adams, at 615-889-2941 x211.


 
Gordon Belt is an information professional, archives advocate, public historian, and author of The History Press book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, which examines the life of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, through the lens of history and memory. On The Posterity Project, Gordon offers reflections on archives, public history, and memory from his home state of Tennessee.
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