The Welsh in Tennessee Newspapers

March 1st is St David’s Day – the national day of Wales. To celebrate, here’s a Wales/Tennessee connection …

I attended a talk recently at the East Tennessee Historical Society here in Knoxville: The Welsh of Tennessee by Eirug Davies. In his talk (and book) Mr Davies mentioned an eisteddfod that had taken place in Chattanooga in the 1890s, and he showed some newspaper articles. Given my interest in all things Welsh (being “Cardiff born and Cardiff bred”) and newspapers, I did a little sleuthing to see what else there might be in the newspapers about this event.

The articles below are from the Chattanooga Times. The event was well advertised and, according to the following reports, was an outstanding success. Check back on Friday for more Wales/USA/newspaper connections.

Click on the images to enlarge.

October 27 and 30, 1891:

Chattanooga Eisteddofd   Chattanooga Eisteddfod 1891

From October 25 and 30, 1891:

Chattanooga Eisteddfod 1891       Chattanooga eisteddfod 1891

The McMinn County Manifesto, 1868

While researching for the Athens Post essay for Chronicling America, I came across this little treasure in UT Libraries’ Special Collections. The handwritten piece bears the title, “The McMinn Manifesto,” but this might be a little misleading. It is an article written in long-hand by William G. “Parson” Brownlow for publication in his newspaper, Brownlow‘s Knoxville Whig, June 17, 1868, col.5-6. The note–which is signed “Editor”–includes instructions to the printer to insert the “proceedings entire” at the end of the piece. The “proceedings entire” were a reprint of “A call for a public meeting of the citizens of McMinn County” from the Athens Post, October 3, 1862, col.2. The meeting’s resolutions (Athens Post, October 10, 1862, col.1), in which the citizens of McMinn County were urged to pledge their loyalty to the Confederacy, were also printed in Brownlow’s piece.

Brownlow’s article appears to be a rewrite of a very similar article (of his) published in his Knoxville Tri-weekly Whig and Rebel Ventilator, July 26, 1864, col.3. Brownlow, a staunch supporter of the Union, used his newspaper to denounce the Confederacy and its supporters. His combative reaction to the Athens Post’s articles is typical of his out-spoken editorial style. Brownlow’s 1868 rewrite of his earlier article may have been prompted by his recent visit to Athens, Tenn. The purpose of that visit was to rally support for Ulysses S. Grant’s presidential campaign. He mentions Grant and Colfax at the end of this piece.

McMinn County Manifesto

The article as it appeared in Brownlow’s Knoxville Whig, June 17, 1868: McMinn County Manifesto in newspaper

New titles for TNDP Phase II

The Advisory Group has selected the newspapers for the next phase of the Tennessee Newspaper Digitization Project. We’ll be continuing some of the titles from Phase I, others are new to the project. The focus is around the Gilded Age, so dates range from 1870s-1900. Here’s the list:

Bolivar Bulletin; Camden Chronicle; Clarksville Chronicle/Tobacco Leaf-Chronicle; Columbia Herald; Johnson City Comet; Knoxville Daily Chronicle; Lawrence Democrat; Maryville Times; Memphis Daily Appeal; Milan Exchange; Morristown Gazette; [Nashville] American; Nashville Globe; Pulaski Citizen; Rugbeian; Sequachee Valley News; Savannah Courier; Southern Standard [McMinnville]; Winchester Home Journal

A Chattanooga paper will also be included. We’re waiting to hear about the availability of negatives before we can make the final decision on which one. Watch this space!

Here’s a map of Phase I’s geographical coverage. Page count totals are about equal for the three Grand Divisions.

TNDP phase one map

Graphs

Two interesting graphs from Rowell’s US Newspaper Directory (1894) showing state population/number of newspapers, and the area of each state.

Population and newspapers 1890State size 1894

More on Rowell’s soon …

The Examiner

Thanks to our friends at the McClung Historical Collection for bringing this rare newspaper to our attention. As far as we know, it’s the only surviving copy of this title!

The Examiner. June 29, 1878.

The Examiner. June 29, 1878.

The Examiner was Knoxville’s first African American newspaper. Its publisher and editor, William F. Yardley, was a remarkable man. In fact, Frederick Douglass referred to him as “one of the most remarkable men that I have met.” As well as publishing the first African American paper in Knoxville, Yardley can claim several other firsts: he was Knoxville’s first African American lawyer and is believed to be the first African American lawyer to take a case to the State Supreme Court (1883). In 1881, Yardley established another newspaper in Knoxville, the Bulletin. For a neat summary of Yardley’s achievements, see this short bio in the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, here.

Click the image above and it will take you to a zoomable (and legible) version of the four-page newspaper on McClung’s Digital Collection website. (And while you’re on that website, meander through all the other wonderful treasures on display!)

Special thanks to Jeanie for identifying this unique artifact, and to Sally for scanning it and making it accessible to the public.

 

Eugene Patterson, voice on civil rights, dies

Eugene Patterson

Eugene Patterson (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times)

Gene Patterson’s work falls outside the timeframe of our project, however, I’m sure anyone with an interest in newspapers and/or journalism would find his story interesting.

Patterson was editor of the Atlanta Constitution from 1960 to 1968. His obituary notes that, “[his] image and words anchored the editorial page during the tumultuous years of the civil rights movement in the South.”

His obituary was printed in yesterday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The AP also wrote a fine tribute to the man.

TNDP Phase II update

Stay tuned

The TNDP Advisory Group met recently to discuss which titles to include in Phase II. We have yet to finalize the list but, as with Phase I, the selection will cover the broadest scope possible, encompassing the state’s three Grand Divisions, as well as representing diverse political perspectives.

New Music, 1862

Nashville Daily Union. October 12, 1862.

The song, “Here’s your mule,” written by C.D.Benson (mentioned in the ad above) and published in 1862, became one of the most popular songs of the Civil War. Originally sung by Confederate troops, it was later adopted by Union troops too, with soldiers of both sides adapting the lyrics to reflect specific events. Benson’s original words were based on a practical joke played on a sutler by soldiers at a camp in Tennessee. After hiding the sutler’s mule the soldiers dispersed around the camp and called out, “Here’s your mule!,” causing the poor sutler to wander frustratedly around the camp but providing much amusement for the troops.

Here are some lyrics printed in the Fayetteville Observer, 1863, with a chorus variation offered at the end.

Here's Your Mule

Fayetteville Observer. April 23, 1863.

Here’s a piece from the St Cloud Democrat, Minn.:

St Cloud Democrat. January 15, 1863.

Sheet music for the song:

 

Here’s Your Mule – Sheet Music

Want to hear how the tune went? Melodies varied from camp to camp, one version was reportedly sung to the tune of My Maryland (O Tannenbaum). Here’s a YouTube link to the “97th Regimental String Band” performing the song:

The phrase “Here’s Your Mule” became popular in everyday speech. A quick search on Chronicling America shows its popularity amongst newspaper editors. This piece from the San Francisco Call shows there was still interest in the phrase more than 20 years after the end of the war:

San Francisco Call. January 6, 1897.

Editorial Cartoons

Not from the same era as TNDP newspapers, but historically significant nonetheless …

Special Collections at UT Libraries recently acquired Charlie Daniel’s collection of editorial cartoons – over 20,000 of them! Once organized, the cartoons were scanned and 1,500 of them have been made available to the public online. Read more about the project and browse the collection here: http://kiva.lib.utk.edu/omeka153/

 

From the Charlie Daniel Collection at University of Tennessee Libraries, Special Collections

Chronicling America Posts 5 Millionth Page

From the NEH press release:

“The site now features 5 million pages from more than 800 newspapers from 25 states. The site averaged more than 2.5 million page views per month last year and is being used by students, researchers, congressional staff, journalists and others for all kinds of projects, from daily podcasts to history contests. The news, narratives and entertainment encapsulated in the papers transport readers in time.”

“This magnificent resource captures the warp and weft of life as it was lived in grassroots America,” said NEH Chairman Jim Leach. “Metropolitan newspapers were early targets for digitization, but Chronicling America allows the journalism of the smaller cities and the rural countryside to become accessible in all its variety—and sometimes, quirkiness.”

Read more about the 5 millionth page milestone–and more NDNP news–in an interview with Deb Thomas, NDNP Project Coordinator, published in The Signal (the Library of Congress’ digital preservation blog).