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Tennessee State Library and Archives

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Title: Tennessee State Library and Archives  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of U.S. state libraries and archives, Library buildings completed in 1953, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Zilphia Horton, Project DIANE
Collection: 1854 Establishments in Tennessee, Buildings and Structures in Nashville, Tennessee, Education in Nashville, Tennessee, Government Agencies Established in 1854, Libraries in Tennessee, Library Buildings Completed in 1953, National Register of Historic Places in Tennessee, Neoclassical Architecture in Tennessee, State Agencies of Tennessee, State Archives of the United States, State Libraries of the United States
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Tennessee State Library and Archives

Tennessee State Library and Archives
Tennessee State Library and Archives is located in Tennessee
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Location 403 7th Ave. N., Nashville, Tennessee
Area 1.4 acres (0.57 ha)
Built 1953
Architect Parrent, H. Clinton, Jr.; Rock City Construction Company
Architectural style Classical Revival
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 03001154[1]
Added to NRHP November 17, 2003

The Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA), established in 1854, currently operates as a unit of the Tennessee Department of State. According to the Tennessee Blue Book,[2] the Library and Archives "collects and preserves books and records of historical, documentary and reference value, and encourages and promotes library development throughout the state." This mandate can be found in Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 10, Chapters 1-8.

Although most states operate their libraries and archives as separate agencies, Tennessee is one of a handful of states whose library and archives are administered jointly.


  • History 1
  • Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH) 2
  • Holdings and collection highlights 3
  • Future planning 4
  • Tennessee State Librarians and Archivists, 1854 to present 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The state library's original home (after a short stint in the Davidson County courthouse) was in the capitol building, while the archives were formerly housed in the basement of the state's War Memorial Building.

The current Library and Archives Building, designed by H. Clinton Parrent, Jr. and opened in 1953, sits across the street from the Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville. Built as a memorial to all veterans of World War II, the Library and Archives building was constructed at a cost of $2,300,000.

Tennessee's General Assembly joined the Department of Archives and History with the State Library in 1919 to create the State Library and Archives.

Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH)

In 1970, a new division of TSLA, the Tennessee Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped (LBPH) was established. This division's collections consist of public library type books and magazines in audio, braille and large print formats, as well as players for the audio books. The LBPH's collections are loaned to Tennesseans who have physical disabilities which prevent them from using standard print. The materials are delivered to the individual patron's home address utilizing the U.S. Postal Service's "Free Matter" mailing privilege.

Disabilities which make a Tennessee resident eligible to use the service are: blindness; visual disability; manual dexterity problems, which prevent holding a book and/or turning pages; and reading disabilities.

The Tennessee LBPH is a cooperating library with the National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped[3]/Library of Congress.

Holdings and collection highlights

The Tennessee State Library and Archives currently holds nearly 700,000 print volumes, over a million photographic images, thousands of vertical files, microfilm reels, and legislative audiocassettes. Archives and manuscripts collections are housed in nearly 40,000 feet (12,000 m) of storage. The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped holds approximately 240,000 items.

TSLA holds the most comprehensive collection of Tennessee newspapers, which dates to 1791.

Future planning

Plans are currently underway for the Library and Archives to relocate to a new building adjacent to Nashville's Bicentennial Mall State Park. The new building, to be designed by Tuck-Hinton Architects, will be one of several cultural institutions flanking the Bicentennial Mall, including the Tennessee State Museum and the Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Tennessee State Librarians and Archivists, 1854 to present

  • W.B.A. Ramsey, ex officio librarian (1854–1855)
  • F.N.W. Burton, ex officio librarian (1855–1856)
  • R.J. Meigs, State Librarian (1856–1861)
  • John E. Hatcher, State Librarian (1861)
  • Augustin Gattinger, State Librarian (1864–1869)
  • W.H. Wharton, State Librarian (1869–1871)
  • Mrs. Paralee Haskell, State Librarian (1871–1879)
  • Mrs. Robert Hatton, State Librarian (1879–1887)
  • Mrs. Sue P. Lowe, State Librarian (1887–1891)
  • Mrs. Linnie Williams, State Librarian (1891–1895)
  • Mrs. Irene Ingram, State Librarian (1895–1897)
  • Miss Pauline Jones, State Librarian (1897–1899)
  • Miss Jennie E. Lauderdale, State Librarian (1899–1901)
  • Mrs. Lulu B. Epperson, State Librarian (1901–1903)
  • Miss Mary Skeffington, State Librarian (1903–1919)
  • John Trotwood Moore, State Librarian and Archivist (1919–1929)
  • Mary Brown Daniel Moore, State Librarian and Archivist (1929–1949)
  • Daniel M. Robison, State Librarian (1949–1961)
  • William T. Alderson, Jr., State Librarian (1961–1964)
  • Sam B. Smith, State Librarian and Archivist (1964–1969)
  • Wilmon H. Droze, State Librarian and Archivist (1969–1972)
  • Katheryn Culbertson, State Librarian and Archivist (1972–1982)
  • Olivia K. Young, State Librarian and Archivist (1982–1985)
  • Robert B. Croneberger, State Librarian and Archivist (1985–1986)
  • Edwin S. Gleaves, State Librarian and Archivist (1987–2005)
  • Jeanne Sugg, State Librarian and Archivist (2005–2010)
  • Charles Sherrill, State Librarian and Archivist (2010-current)


  1. ^
  2. ^ Tennessee Blue Book
  3. ^ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
  • Moore, Mary Brown Daniel. "The Tennessee State Library in the Capitol." Tennessee Historical Quarterly 12.1 (1953): 3-22.

External links

  • Tennessee State Library and Archives Official Site
  • Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA) (highlights from the collections of TSLA)
  • TSLA Online Catalog
  • Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
  • Tennessee State Library and Archives Exhibit on Women's Suffrage
  • Tennessee State Library and Archives at FamilySearch Research Wiki for genealogists
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