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:


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).

New Titles on Chronicling America

Several new titles were added to Chronicling America recently. They are:

Bolivar Bulletin 1865-81, Fayetteville Observer 1877-80, Jackson Whig and Tribune 1871-76, Loudon Free Press 1852-55, Milan Exchange 1874-84, Daily Nashville Patriot 1855-62, Daily Nashville True Whig 1855, and Pulaski Citizen 1866-76.

Milan Exchange. May 07, 1881.

Fayetteville Observer. December 13, 1855.

Pulaski Citizen. July 17,1868.

Pressmen’s Home

Pressmen’s Home, located near Rogersville, Tennessee,  was the headquarters for the International Printing Pressmen and Assistants Union of North America, as well as a sanitarium, trade school, and home for retired pressmen.

“For sixty-five years the union maintained its headquarters at Pressmen’s Home in Hawkins County. The Pressmen’s Home Community, located in the mountains of northeastern Tennessee, was a 2,700-acre complex with its own phone system, post office, electrical system, and farm. In addition to its headquarters, the union maintained a retirement home, a sanatorium, and a printing trades school at the site.

The East Tennessee location of the IPPAU-NA headquarters was the dream and accomplishment of George L. Berry, president of the IPPAU-NA from 1907 until his death in 1948. Berry was a dominant and controversial president, and the union’s progress and growth were intertwined with Berry’s life. The IPPAU-NA moved its headquarters to Pressmen’s Home from Cincinnati in 1911 because Berry and the union leadership believed the location (originally a mineral health resort known as Hale Springs) was suitable both as a tuberculosis sanatorium and as a technical trade school for retraining pressmen in the new offset printing methods.

The school eventually became the largest trade school of its kind in the world. While pressmen were also trained on letterpress at the school, its main function was to retrain letterpressmen and educate young printers in the offset craft. The training of thousands of printers at the technical school, along with the correspondence courses the school established, enabled the union to meet the demand for offset printers  following  World War II.

In 1916 the tuberculosis sanatorium opened and played an important role in combating the disease, the principal cause of death among union members. Besides the physical facilities at Pressmen’s Home, the union undertook an extensive campaign to educate the membership about tuberculosis and methods to prevent contamination. By 1961, the year the sanatorium closed, the union facility took credit for saving hundreds of lives through the treatments offered to its members.”

Source: Jack Mooney, Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture


End of Part 1

Today is the last day of the current award cycle.

We can proudly announce that all deadlines were met. All batches and essays were delivered to the Library of Congress on time but it’ll take a while before they’re uploaded to Chronicling America.

Our application for further funding was successful so we’ll start the process all over again next week. Can’t wait to get together with the Advisory Board to select the titles for the next round!

Stay tuned for Part Two

Great News!

The Tennessee Newspaper Digitization Project has received funding for the next two years! That means another 100,000 pages of historical Tennessee newspapers coming to your computer screen!

The National Endowment for the Humanities made the announcement last week. Other awardees are: Arizona, Hawaii, Iowa*, Maryland*, Michigan*, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina*, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington. (*new in 2012)

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to take this project into its second phase. The Advisory Group will meet in the fall to select the titles for digitization. The time period we plan to cover in phase two will begin circa 1880, where phase one ended. The end date hasn’t yet been determined. Our only limitations are the program’s 1922 cut-off date (anything later is subject to copyright laws), and the 100,000 page limit.

We’ll bring you more details after the Advisory Group has met and made its selections. As with phase one, when making the title selection the Group will endeavor to represent the broadest spectrum possible, geographically, politically, ethnically and culturally.

A HUGE thank you to NEH and the Library of Congress for continuing to support this compelling and valuable project.

Literally jumping for joy! Winchester Home Journal. May 31, 1877.