Dom Flemons – “American Songster” Lecture and Performance March 12

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Dom Flemons

Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 7 PM
Bijou Theatre
Register at

Dom Flemons is the “American Songster,” pulling from traditions of old-time folk music to create new sounds. A multi-instrumentalist and singer, Dom has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and his new album, Prospect Hill, has received praise from The Boston Globe, Paste Magazine, Living Blues Magazine, and more. His performance will be a lecture/demonstration of the history of old-time folk music and its relevance in today’s diverse musical world with commentary and musical examples as appropriate.

Andrew Jackson’s Family Bible: Join us to celebrate

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BibleFrontThe Bible in which President Andrew Jackson’s family recorded household births, marriages, and deaths for more than half a century now belongs to the University of Tennessee Libraries. Jackson’s family Bible was purchased with monies from University Libraries endowments and donations from members of the Library Society of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

We invite all members of the Library Society to join the University Libraries in celebrating this important acquisition. Please join us for a reception and viewing of the Jackson family Bible on Tuesday, September 16, at 5:00 p.m. at UT’s McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture.* Brief remarks will be offered at 5:30. Please RSVP to Megan Venable ( or 865-974-6903).

The existence of the Jackson family Bible was known from contemporary newspaper accounts. In the summer of 1833, President Jackson took a formal tour of New England. On June 17, in Hartford, Connecticut, several visitors brought presents to Jackson in his hotel room. Among them were Silas Andrus and James Walker Judd, publishers whose prominent Hartford firm specialized in Bibles and religious books. As reported in the press, they presented Jackson with “an elegant copy of their Stereotype Edition of the quarto Bible, elegantly bound in red morocco, and gilt.” Jackson’s name was embossed on the front cover, and “Righteousness Exalteth a Nation” was emblazoned on the back. This Bible now resides in UT’s Special Collections.

Newspapers also recorded the encomiums exchanged upon presentation of the Bible. Andrus and Judd briefly addressed Jackson, invoking a divine blessing on the country and on him, and Jackson replied in kind, hoping that Americans would become “distinguished for genuine piety among the nations of the earth.” Newspapers throughout the country printed the exchange. But after this moment, the Andrus & Judd Bible vanishes from the public record. For a century and a half, no one outside the Jackson family knew what had happened to it.

“At The Papers of Andrew Jackson project here at UT, we make it our business to track down every surviving Jackson document we can,” said Dan Feller, professor of history and the editor and director of The Papers of Andrew Jackson at UT. “In our files is a thick folder labeled ‘Jackson family Bible.’ The correspondence in that folder chronicles our efforts over a span of decades to locate several Bibles that purportedly belonged to Jackson, but it makes no mention of this one.”

In recent decades, the survival of the Andrus & Judd Bible was rumored. Just a few years ago, the Bible’s owner surfaced briefly. Without ever meeting or knowing the identity of the Bible’s owner, Feller was able to verify from photographs that it was indeed the Bible presented to President Jackson at Hartford. Eventually, Feller’s contacts among antiquarian book lovers turned up the treasure. The Bible was offered for sale earlier this year, and the University Libraries secured a remarkable historical artifact.

Steven Smith, dean of libraries at UT, noted the importance of acquiring the Bible: “More than a cherished family relic…the Jackson family Bible is a treasure of national significance. It is precisely the sort of rare and unique document of our State’s history and politics that Special Collections is meant to preserve. We are thrilled to be able to return President Jackson’s family Bible to Tennessee.”

The Bible will be preserved and housed in Special Collections within the John C. Hodges Library.

Purchase of President Andrew Jackson’s family Bible was made possible by donations from the following:

Angelyn Donaldson and Richard Adolf Koella Historical Documents Endowment
McGregor Smith Library Endowment
Anonymous Library Endowment Fund
United Foods Humanities Library Endowment

Library Society Members:
Samuel Elliott
Jeff Johnson
Charles B. Jones, Jr.
Steven and Natalie Smith
Chuck West

*Parking is available on Circle Park Drive.

Our thanks to Professor Dan Feller for providing background on the Jackson family Bible.

Library Society Welcomes Graduate Student Members

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Welcome to our twenty-eight new graduate student members of the Library Society of UT Knoxville! These students joined the Library Society at the membership table at the Libraries’ Graduate Student Open House on August 22 in the John C. Hodges Library.

The Libraries sponsor an open house for graduate students each fall. The event is an opportunity for students to learn how the library supports their research and teaching, to meet their department’s subject librarian, and to learn more about resources in their field, learn about citation management tools like Zotero and Endnote, and register for library services such as interlibrary loan and Library Express delivery.

Membership in the Library Society starts at only $5 for current students. Student members enjoy the benefits of membership in the Library Society including receiving a copy of the UT Libraries’ acclaimed Library Development Review and a subscription to the Library Society’s e-newsletter. This year our student members were sponsored by Library Society board members Jeff Johnson, Charles Jones and Pat Jobe.

Library Hires Student Success Librarians

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Ingrid Ruffin and Anna Sandelli are pictured in the Hodges Library's new research assistance area.

Ingrid Ruffin and Anna Sandelli are pictured in the Hodges Library’s new research assistance area.

The University of Tennessee Libraries is pleased to announce the appointment of two new faculty members. Ingrid Ruffin (pictured, left) is Student Success Librarian for First-Year Programs. Anna Sandelli (right) is Student Success Librarian for Undergraduate User Experience.

What do Student Success Librarians do? Basically, they help students learn the tools of scholarship while adjusting to college life. Two keys to undergraduate success are finding a sense of place at the university and gaining the information literacy skills students will need in every class they take. Success at those vital steps boosts first-to-second-year retention rates and six-year graduation rates—both top priorities for the university. Our Student Success Librarians will implement and expand instruction and academic engagement programs to improve the user experience for undergraduates at UT.

Ingrid Ruffin has experience developing pre-college and first-year programs at UT; for the past two years she served as a diversity librarian resident in the UT Libraries. She is an Air Force veteran and currently serves on the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on the Readjustment of Veterans.

Anna Sandelli comes to UT from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she worked with the User Experience team to deliver information literacy and technology instruction to undergraduates. She has a background in corporate communications with an international company for which she provided outreach and marketing services.

“Birds, Bugs, & Blooms” Natural History Illustration Exhibit at McClung Museum

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BBB_Banner_p815A new exhibit exploring natural history illustration from the 1500s to the 1800s opens Friday, September 12, at UT’s McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture. Some of the rare books on display are on loan from the University Libraries’ Special Collections. Special Collections items include works of zoological and botanical illustration, notably a 1665 imprint of the historic Micrographia, by Robert Hooke.

“Birds, Bugs, & Blooms: Natural History Illustration from the 1500s–1800s” will run through January 4, 2015, and explores over 300 years of the intersection of science and art in natural history illustration.

More than fifty rare books, prints, and objects are on view, highlighting how increasing access to books, travel, and technology, as well as the evolution of knowledge, changed the way in which illustrations were created and interpreted. From fantastical images of beasts in the 1500s, to extremely accurate depictions of plants and animals in the 1800s, the illustrations in the exhibit demonstrate the rapid advances of natural history during the print age.

Several exhibit-related programs are planned. Free family programming includes exhibit-related Family Fun Days on September 27 and November 1, and a Stroller Tour for parents, caregivers and young children on October 6.

Other programming includes a natural history illustration workshop, “Using Scratchboard to Create Lifelike Illustrations” on October 5, and lectures on natural history and illustration by Barney Lipscomb, Leonhardt Chair of Botany at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, on October 22, and UT Professor of History Denise Phillips on November 6.

See the exhibit page for more programming details:

“Birds, Bugs, & Blooms” is curated by Catherine Shteynberg and Christine Dano Johnson. Lenders include Arader Galleries, Dr. Gordon Burghardt, the National Museum of Health and Medicine, and UT Special Collections. The exhibit is presented by Arader Galleries, W. Graham Arader III, UT Federal Credit Union, the Ready for the World Initiative, ARAMARK, Bennett Galleries, and the Ardath & Joel E. Rynning Museum Fund. Additional support is provided by Knox County, the City of Knoxville, and the Arts & Heritage Fund.

The McClung Museum is located at 1327 Circle Park Drive. Museum admission is free, and the museum’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Free two-hour museum parking passes are available from the parking information building at the entrance to Circle Park Drive on the weekdays. Free parking is available on Circle Park Drive on a first-come, first-served basis on weekends. Free public transportation to the museum is also available via the Knoxville Trolley Vol Line.

Additional parking information is available at

For more information about the McClung Museum and its collections and exhibits, visit

B.J. (Bob) Leggett leads off “Writers in the Library”

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BJLeggett_smallAuthor B.J. Leggett will give the first “Writers in the Library” reading of the 2014-15 academic year. Leggett will read from his latest novel, Prosperity, on Monday, September 15, at 7 p.m. in the Lindsay Young Auditorium of the John C. Hodges Library. The reading is free and open to the public.

Prosperity tells the story of police lieutenant Robert O’Brian, who takes early retirement after being shot in a drug raid and returns to his hometown of Prosperity in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee to work on a second novel. But O’Brian’s plans are unexpectedly disrupted when he becomes involved in the investigation of the death of a high school friend.

B.J. (Bob) Leggett is professor emeritus at UT Knoxville, where he held the title of Distinguished Professor of Humanities. He is the author of numerous studies of modern poetry and criticism, including books on A. E. Housman, Philip Larkin, and Wallace Stevens. Prosperity is his second novel. The first, Playing Out the String, was published by Livingston Press in 2004.

Writers in the Library hosts readings by noted authors of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Other authors scheduled to read this semester are, in order of appearance, Amy Billone, Elizabeth McCracken, Keith Flynn, Joyce Jenkins, and David James Poissant. For a schedule of upcoming readings and videos of past events, visit

The series is sponsored by the UT Libraries and the UT Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund. Writers in the Library events are emceed by the Libraries’ Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence, Christopher Hebert.

An Evening with Forensic Anthropologist Bill Bass

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BassPortraitLibrary Society members are invited to a scintillating evening with renowned forensic anthropologist Bill Bass. (The squeamish need not attend.)

Over his fifty-year career as an anthropologist, Bass has excavated ancient skeletons and recovered the remains of murder victims.

Bass is the creator of the “Body Farm” — as well known to the general public and to readers of crime novels as to the scientific community. The Body Farm (officially the Anthropological Research Facility) was the world’s first laboratory for conducting research on the processes and timetable of human decomposition. Bass’s pioneering research launched a revolution in forensic science and has helped solve more than a few murders.

Bass is also the co-author of a series of “Body Farm” novels that draw on his real-life expertise to solve fictional crimes.

Bass is professor emeritus at UT, where he headed the anthropology department and the Forensic Anthropology Center for many years. He recently donated his collection of research and teaching material — including lecture notes, correspondence, and original field study notebooks — to the UT Libraries. The Dr. William M. Bass III Collection will be preserved and made available for study in the Libraries’ Special Collections.

Please join us at the John C. Hodges Library* on Thursday, October 30, for a reception in the Jack E. Reese Galleria at 5:30 p.m. and a talk by Dr. Bass in the Lindsay Young Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.

*John C. Hodges Library, 1015 Volunteer Blvd., Knoxville, Tennessee. Questions? Contact or 865-974-6903.

Big Orange Adventure — a scavenger hunt to benefit the libraries

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BigOadventureThe UT Graduate Student Senate will host a scavenger hunt, dubbed “The Big Orange Adventure,” to benefit the UT Libraries. The race will take place Saturday, April 5, 2014, on the UT campus. Check-in is at 9 a.m. at the outdoor amphitheater between Hodges Library and the Humanities Building, and the hunt begins promptly at 10 a.m. This event is open to the public.

For several decades, the Graduate Student Senate has sponsored the Love Your Libraries 5K to benefit the libraries. Profits from the race are donated to the library to help provide De-Stress For Success activities during Finals Week. This year, the format of the race has changed to a scavenger hunt.

Teams of 4 to 6 members will race around campus, searching for clues and completing tasks in order to figure out the location of the finish line. Whichever team completes the scavenger hunt first, wins. At the start of the race, participants will receive race packets, which will include a map, the rules of the race, and a list of items around campus that can be photographed and posted to social media for the #hashtag wars.

Prizes and trophies will be awarded to the first, second, and third place finishers and to the team that posts the most #hashtag items. Costumes are encouraged, and there will be prizes awarded to the Best Theme Costume and Best UT Themed Costume.

Registration is $10 until April 1 and $15 thereafter. T-shirts are guaranteed to participants who register by March 24. Register and read more at the Graduate Student Senate website.

Introducing The Library Society of UT Knoxville

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After many years of people confusing the UT Libraries’ Friends group with the Friends of the Knox County Public Libraries, we are thrilled to announce that our own Friends group has a new name – The Library Society of UT Knoxville. The Library Society of UT Knoxville will offer our donors more opportunities for engagement with the library and greater recognition for their support – and some fun along the way. Check out The Library Society’s new logo and website and watch for opportunities to support The Library Society. Contact Erin Horeni-Ogle with any questions at 986-974-0055.

Ron Rash: A Unique Appalachian Voice

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Ron Rash

View a recording of this event

The Library Society of UT Knoxville and the Friends of the Knox County Library are proud to sponsor Ron Rash on March 4th at 7:30 PM at the East Tennessee History Center. The talk is free and open to the public, but registration is required.  Visit the to register. This lecture is part of the Knox County Library’s Wilma Dykeman lecture series. Rash will be introduced by Jim Stokely, the son of Wilma Dykeman and the president of the Wilma Dykeman Legacy foundation.

The Appalachia of Ron Rash is the land we are familiar with: the beautiful mountains, the small hamlets, family farms and the legacies of the past.  But to Rash, it is also the land of methamphetamine addicts, environmental destruction, ignorance and sudden, violent death.  His second novel, Saints at the River, opens with a tourist family picnicking alongside a picturesque mountain creek, standard territory for regional novelists.  Within a few minutes, however, a young girl is pulled under by the current and drowned, her body trapped under the rushing water by hydraulic force.  Thus is ignited a showdown between the girl’s family, political friends, protectors of the tourist industry and fervent environmentalists.  In The World Made Straight, the young man at the center of the novel is caught, literally, in an animal trap as he attempts to raid a marijuana grower’s crop and, figuratively, between his inherent intelligence and potential and the downward tug of ambitionless friends, a doubting father and his own bad impulses.  Interwoven in the contemporary story line is the Civil War era journal kept by a doctor that recounts the tremendous struggles that existed in the mountain region during the conflict that not only divided families and communities at the time but created divisions that continue to resonate.

Rash’s first book, a collection of short stories entitled The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth was published in 1994.  In the twenty years since then he has written four collections of poetry, four more short story collections, five novels and a children’s book.  His work has earned him numerous awards including the prestigious Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award for Burning Bright and the 2004 Fiction Book of the Year for Saints at the River (given by both the Southern Book Critics and the Southeastern Booksellers Association).  He has twice been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was awarded the James Still Award by the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

Rash writes about the world he has always known.  His family has lived in the southern Appalachian Mountains since the mid-eighteen century.  A native of Boling Springs, North Carolina –about thirty miles west of Charlotte – Rash graduated from Gardner Webb University in Boiling Springs and then from Clemson University.  He holds the John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.

Ron Rash’s life may be about to change.  A film version of his most ambitious novel, Serena, is set to be released in April of this year.  Directed by Danish film maker Susanne Bier and starring perennial Oscar nominees Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, the film was primarily filmed in the Czech Republic with some footage shot in the Cataloochee Valley in Haywood County, NC.   A second film based on a Rash novel is also in the works.  A smaller scale production, “The World Made Straight,” based on Rash’s novel of the same name, is being filmed in Buncombe and Madison counties, NC and features actors Jeremy Irvine (“War Horse”) and Noah Wyle (“E.R.”).

The novel Serena has received very positive reviews and was a New York Times Bestseller.   While Rash claims not to read reviews of his work if he can help it, his most recent short story collection, Nothing Gold Can Stay, has garnered reviews any author would be proud of.  USA Today stated, “A terrible beauty, to use Yeat’s poetic phrase, colors many of Ron Rash’s stories filled with violence, dark humor and surprise endings.  His prose is spare, clean and often haunting.”