Entries

Winchester, Marcus Brutus
Marcus B. Winchester, land developer and first mayor of Memphis, was born on May 28, 1796, at Cragfont, the eldest son of James Winchester and Susan Black. Winchester was educated in Baltimore but lef... Continue Reading »
Winemaking in Tennessee
European settlers brought grape growing and winemaking to Tennessee in the mid-1800s. After the Civil War, the production of wine became a thriving business. J. A. Killebrew devoted an entire chapter ... Continue Reading »
Winfrey, Oprah
Oprah Winfrey, one of the nation's most popular female entertainers, was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, on January 29, 1954, to Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey. The racially segregated town offer... Continue Reading »
WLAC
WLAC is a Nashville radio station established by the Life and Casualty Insurance Company in 1926; it shaped musical tastes in Nashville for over seventy years. Its most significant contribution to Ten... Continue Reading »
WNOX
One of the ten oldest radio stations in the United States, WNOX in Knoxville played a significant role in showcasing major talents in the burgeoning hillbilly--or country--music field from the 1930s t... Continue Reading »
Wolfe, Charles K.
Charles Keith Wolfe, English professor at Middle Tennessee State University, music scholar, and highly published author, was born on August 14, 1943, in Sedalia, Missouri. The eldest of two boys born ... Continue Reading »
Wolff, Werner and Emmy Land
Werner and Emmy Land Wolff played significant roles in the creation of the Chattanooga Opera and enhancing the popularity of opera in Chattanooga. Werner Wolff was born in Berlin on October 7, 1883. H... Continue Reading »
Wollan, Ernest Omar
Ernest O. Wollan, pioneer physicist in neutron diffraction, was born at Glenwood, Minnesota, in 1902. Wollan attended Concordia College and the University of Chicago, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1929... Continue Reading »
Woman Suffrage Movement
"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex"--Nineteenth Amendment, U.S. Constitution. In August 1920 the T... Continue Reading »
Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Knoxville, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame opened in 1999. A project of the Knoxville Sports Corporation and headed by President and Chief Executive Officer Gloria Ray, the Hall of... Continue Reading »
Women's Christian Temperance Union
After attending the first national convention of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the nation's largest anti-alcohol association, in November 1874 in Cleveland, Ohio, Tennessean... Continue Reading »
Women's Missionary Union
The Women's Missionary Union (WMU) was formed in 1888 as an auxiliary of the Southern Baptist Convention for the purpose of religious evangelism. Part of a trend beginning in the early nineteenth... Continue Reading »
Woodland Period
Two of Tennessee's best known prehistoric sites, Pinson Mounds in Madison County and the Old Stone Fort in Coffee County, date to the Woodland Period (300 B.C. to A.D. 900). Anthropologist Charle... Continue Reading »
Work III, John Wesley
John W. Work III, a significant composer and director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the mid-twentieth century, was born in Tullahoma. His parents were John W. Work II and Agnes Haynes Work. His fathe... Continue Reading »
Works Progress Administration
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was one of the most far-reaching and controversial programs initiated during the New Deal. Designed to put people to work, WPA received an initial Congressional... Continue Reading »
World War I
During the interlude marked by the end of the depression of the 1890s and the entry of the United States into the First World War in 1917, Tennesseans as well as other Americans entered the twentieth ... Continue Reading »
World War II
World War II marks a watershed period for both the United States and for the history of Tennessee. As one of the victors and the sole possessor of the atomic bomb, America emerged as the modern world&... Continue Reading »
Worth, Inc.
This family-owned baseball and softball equipment company was founded by George Sharp Lannom Jr. in Tullahoma in 1912 as Lannom Manufacturing Company. It began as a producer of leather horse collars a... Continue Reading »
Wright, Frances
Frances Wright was arguably the most radical utopian thinker and activist in antebellum America. She advocated the freedom and equality of women, African American slaves, and white working people and ... Continue Reading »
Wright, Frances F.
Frances Fitzpatrick Wright, author of books for children and adolescents, was born Fannie Bell Fitzpatrick near Gallatin. She spent her childhood in Arizona, but when she was orphaned at fifteen, Fann... Continue Reading »
WSM
Home station of the Grand Ole Opry radio show, WSM was an early Nashville radio station, the marketing idea of Edwin Craig of the National Life and Accident Insurance Company. In the early 1920s Craig... Continue Reading »
Wynn, Sammye
Sammye Wynn, educator and children's advocate, was the first black female educator to work in the Educational Opportunities Planning Center founded by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1... Continue Reading »
Wynnewood
Overlooking the sulfur springs at Bledsoe's Lick in the Castalian Springs community, the sprawling log inn Wynnewood was built in 1828 for travelers passing between Knoxville and Nashville. The b... Continue Reading »
X-10
The unassuming building at Oak Ridge numbered X-10 housed the Graphite Reactor, the oldest nuclear reactor in the world. The Graphite Reactor was the world's first powerful nuclear reactor which ... Continue Reading »
Yardley, William F.
William F. Yardley, an influential and powerful advocate for the legal rights of blacks, was the first African American to run for governor of Tennessee. Yardley was born in 1844, the child of a white... Continue Reading »
Yellow Fever Epidemics
Epidemic diseases caused great concern for nineteenth-century Tennesseans. Subject to outbreaks of cholera, smallpox, and dysentery, people lived with the stark reality of disease-induced death, espec... Continue Reading »
Yoakum, Henderson King
Henderson Yoakum was a Jacksonian stalwart in Middle Tennessee during the tumultuous political battles of the 1830s and 1840s. This native Tennessean later became an important personal and political c... Continue Reading »
York Institute
When Sergeant Alvin C. York returned to the United States in 1919 as the best-known hero of the World War, he devoted his attention to improving education in rural Tennessee. York's tenure in the... Continue Reading »
York, Alvin Cullom
Congressional Medal of Honor winner and hero of World War I, Alvin C. York was born in Pall Mall. The oldest of eleven children in a family of subsistence farmers, York was a semiskilled laborer when ... Continue Reading »
Yuchi Indians
The Yuchi Indians are a North American Indian tribe belonging to the Southeastern Indian cultural group. Ethnohistorians indicate that during the historic period there were three principal bands of Yu... Continue Reading »
Zilphia J. Horton
Zilphia J. Horton, activist and artist, was born in Paris, Arkansas, as Zilphia Mae Johnson. A graduate of the College of the Ozarks, she grew up determined to use her musical and dramatic talents on ... Continue Reading »
Zimmerman, Harry (1911-1986) and Mary Krivcher (1911-1986)
Harry and Mary Zimmerman founded in 1960 what became within a generation the nation's largest catalog showroom, Service Merchandise. Both grew up in Memphis, and, after graduating from Central Hi... Continue Reading »
Zion College
Zion College, later known as Chattanooga City College, was founded in the white Highland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga in 1947 as a Bible institute for training African American ministers and chu... Continue Reading »
Zion Presbyterian Church
Constructed between 1847 and 1849, Zion Presbyterian Church is built in the Greek Revival style and serves as a landmark for an important early settlement in Middle Tennessee. The church serves the ol... Continue Reading »
Zollicoffer, Felix Kirk
Confederate Brigadier General Felix K. Zollicoffer attempted to pacify Unionists in East Tennessee in 1861 before meeting defeat and death at the battle of Mill Springs in Kentucky. Born in Maury Coun... Continue Reading »