Thematic Essay

African American Decorative Arts
African American decorative arts embrace many forms, from the practical utility of bed quilts and baskets to the traditional crafts of blacksmithing and wood carving to the skill in design and constru... Continue Reading »
Agricultural Journals
Over the last two hundred years, a number of agricultural journals have been published in Tennessee. The first, The Tennessee Farmer, began publication in 1834 and ran through 1840, when it and the sh... Continue Reading »
Agricultural Societies
County agricultural societies played an important role in rural affairs in the period before the Civil War. Local leaders formed the organizations for the purpose of exchanging information and promoti... Continue Reading »
Agricultural Tenancy
Agricultural tenancy is a broad, often loosely defined term used to describe a variety of land and labor arrangements in which individuals farm a plot of land that they do not own but have instead ren... Continue Reading »
Agriculture
More than any other form of human activity, agriculture has influenced the development of Tennessee and shaped the lives of its people. It was the driving force behind the state's settlement, a v... Continue Reading »
Airports
The first scheduled airline operations in Tennessee began on December 1, 1925, when a route between Atlanta and Evansville included a stop in Chattanooga. For the next ten years, however, air traffic ... Continue Reading »
Appalachian Decorative Arts
The early decorative arts of Appalachia were the hand-pieced quilts, handwoven coverlets, split oak egg baskets, and other "necessary" crafts once common to every remote household. In the Appalachian ... Continue Reading »
Archaic Period
The Archaic in Tennessee is the longest defined prehistoric cultural period, spanning approximately seven thousand years. The beginning of the Archaic Period roughly coincides with the Pleistocene/Hol... Continue Reading »
Art
Tennessee, which until recently was rural, egalitarian, and lacking in concentrated wealth, never has been a center of art patronage or production. The first generation of pioneers lacked both time an... Continue Reading »
Basketmaking
Basket weaving is one of the most ancient of all arts, the spontaneous invention of people in all parts of the globe. As white explorers moved into the area that would become Tennessee, they found tha... Continue Reading »
Camp Meetings
Camp meetings were outdoor religious revival meetings popularized on the southern frontier during the early nineteenth century. These meetings generally lasted several days and attracted participants ... Continue Reading »
Cantilever Barns
Cantilever barns are nineteenth-century vernacular farm structures found principally in two East Tennessee counties, Sevier and Blount. Their characteristic feature is an overhang, or cantilever, whic... Continue Reading »
Cedar Glades
Open areas within otherwise forested regions captured the attention of both early settlers and botanists. Among these are cedar glades--open, rocky areas of variable size and shape. The designation "c... Continue Reading »
Civil Rights Movement
Like other states of the American South, Tennessee has a history which includes both slavery and racial segregation. In some ways, however, the history of the relationship between the races in the Vol... Continue Reading »
Civil War
In 1861, as the nation divided, so did Tennessee. In the state's three grand divisions, Confederates and Unionists fought their own political war to determine which way Tennessee would go as the ... Continue Reading »
Civil War Monuments
Reflecting the divided allegiances of Tennesseans during that great struggle, a number of memorials throughout the state, both Union and Confederate, honor participants in the Civil War. Despite some ... Continue Reading »
College Football
When Vanderbilt University organized a varsity football team in 1886, it was probably the first Tennessee college to do so. Maryville College began playing intramural games in 1889 under coach, captai... Continue Reading »
Commerce and Urban Development
Tennessee's early patterns of commercial exchange determined the location and growth of its urban centers. Commercial centers typically formed at some junction of land and water that required a b... Continue Reading »
Community Colleges
Tennessee's system of community colleges traces its origins to the 1955-57 study Public Higher Education in Tennessee undertaken by the legislative council of the Tennessee General Assembly and d... Continue Reading »
Conservation
After Reconstruction, the exploitation of Tennessee's natural wealth rose to a scale unknown before the Civil War. Northern and foreign investors bought and cut timberlands, set up land companies... Continue Reading »