Skip to content

News & Events

Win Great Prizes in our Essay Contest–Deadline Extended

fdl_dttp-1.gifAll enrolled students are welcome to apply. Great prizes!

Deadline extended to November 26, 2007.

What government documents helped shape America? The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights …

What government documents reflect our ingenuity and spirit? The patent applications for the cotton gin and electric light bulb, the Homestead Act, the Act establishing Yellowstone as our first National Park …

What government documents changed the way we live our lives?
The Emancipation Proclamation, the Abolition of Slavery, Women’s Right to Vote, the Civil Rights Act, the GI Bill …

How do these documents influence us every day as Americans? The University Libraries hopes you will answer that question as part of our Great Moments in American Life, History and Culture essay contest.

All UT students are invited to enter the essay contest. The contest is an opportunity to discover and explore government publications that have contributed to a better understanding and appreciation of people, places and events that helped to shape America’s rich and varied history.

With the essay contest, we seek to encourage and challenge students to broaden their understanding of the research process through creative discovery of primary source materials, both print and digital.

The University of Tennessee Libraries is sponsoring the contest this year because we are celebrating some important milestones in our history of providing access to federal and state government information: 110 years as a designated depository library (1897) 100 years as a land-grant depository library (1907), and 90 years as a Tennessee state depository library (1917).

For more information about our anniversary, please visit

Essay Requirements:

1. Choose a milestone document from the LexisNexis Congressional Database that reflects a great moment in America. It can be a law, hearing, report, committee print, regulation or statement from the Congressional Record, but it must be a primary source publication taken from the database. Write a 500 word essay, telling why and how the document has influenced life, history, and culture in America.

Click here to access the LexisNexis Congressional database, or visit and enter “lexisnexis” in the search box.

2. Essays must be typed and double spaced. Entries can be submitted as a Word document or pdf by sending as an email attachment to Entries can also be printed and hand-delivered to the reference desk, 1st floor, Hodges Library.

3. An entry form, available here, must be submitted with the essay.

4. The essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Brief quotations, if properly documented, may be included in the essay.

5. Only one essay may be submitted by each entrant.

6. Winning essays may be used in the University Libraries publicity and will also be shared with the LexisNexis Corporation, sponsor of the contest.


1. Entrants must be registered students of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

2. Full time staff who are also students and employed by the University Libraries are not eligible.


1. Essays must be submitted on or before noon on November 26, 2007.

2. Essays must be submitted with the entry form and signed.

3. Essays must include the full citation of the government document that is the subject of the essay.


1. Essays will be judged both on style and content.

2. Judges will look for writing that is clear, articulate, logically organized and that makes a compelling argument.

Winner Notification:

1. The winners will be notified on or before December 3, 2007.

2. The winners will receive one of the following prizes:
* 1st prize – $300
* 2nd prize -$200
* 3rd prize – $150
* 4th prize – $50

3. The first 100 entrants will receive a gift for participating

The University of Tennessee Libraries gratefully acknowledges support provided by the LexisNexis Corporation for this contest.

Share this:

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.