Resources about TN Newspapers

This is a selection of books and other publications providing useful information about Tennessee newspaper history. Click here for a downloadable bibliography of resources that TNDP researchers have used throughout the course of the project.

Chronicling America newspaper essays.
A brief history of each Tennessee newspaper in Chronicling America can be found here (scroll down to “Essays”). The essays provide a summary of the newspaper’s publishing history and its content.

Brown, K. F. 1982. The Black Press of Tennessee: 1865-1980. Dissertation (Ph.D,), University of Tennessee.
Brown’s dissertation explores the Tennessee’s African American press from William B. Scott’s 1865 The Colored Tennessean, through the 20th century’s civil rights era, and up to 1980.
A digital copy of this dissertation is available via UT’s Trace repository.

Ellis, B. G. 2003. The Moving Appeal: Mr. McClanahan, Mrs. Dill, and the Civil War’s Great Newspaper Run. Macon, GA. : Mercer University Press.
A detailed account of the Memphis Daily Appeal‘s peripatetic Civil War years.

Masterson, Clara Estelle. 1933. A History of Knoxville Journalism. M.A. Thesis, Nashville: George Peabody College for Teachers
In addition to a history of Knoxville’s newspapers from 1791 to 1933, this publication also includes a bibliography; dates, names and policies of Knoxville newspapers; and a check list of Knoxville newspapers. A print copy is available from UT Special Collections: PN 4899. K44 M3.

Mooney, Jack (Ed.) 1996. A History of Tennessee Newspapers. Knoxville, Tenn.: Tennessee Press Association.
A comprehensive overview of Tennessee’s newspaper history. Separate essays cover each of the three Grand Divisions; Walter Pulliam’s essay on East Tennessee is particularly thorough. There is also a detailed list of newspapers per county/town, and brief bios for most of Tennessee’s current papers. Check WorldCat to find a copy at a library near you.

Rowell’s and Ayer’s American Newspaper Directories
These directories (later combined as one) published details about American newspapers from the mid-19th century through the early 20th century. Tennessee newspapers are represented in each volume, with information about the publisher, political allegiance, circulation statistics, and date of establishment. Digital copies can be accessed via this Library of Congress webpage.

Stewart, G. H. 1957. History and Bibliography of Middle Tennessee Newspapers, 1799-1876, Thesis (Ph.D.), University of Illinois.
Chapters in this doctoral thesis cover the Tennessee Press to 1820, Developments to 18060, and Disunion and War. The majority of the publication is dedicated to an extensive bibliography of Middle Tennessee newspapers, 1799-1876, arranged by town, and an index of names and their associated newspapers. A print copy is available at UT Special Collections: PN4897.T4 S83.

Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame
The Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame is a joint project of the Tennessee Press Association and UT’s School of Journalism & Electronic Media. Established in 1966, the project honors individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to Tennessee newspaper journalism.
Visit the website to find short, biographical sketches for each inductee.
The Hall of Fame is physically located in the College of Communication & Information Building on UT’s Knoxville campus. A redesigned, interactive display was unveiled in July 2015.

Twain, Mark. 1996. “Journalism in Tennessee,” in Sketches Old and New.
A humorous, fictional (or is it?) account of a typical day in a Tennessee newspaper office. In this short piece, Twain draws on his experience as a journeyman printer in the mid-19th century, and his knowledge of the Tennessee press.

White, Moses. 1877. East Tennessee Journalism. (Paper presented at a meeting of the Tennessee Press Association, Knoxville, Tennessee)
This speech, given by Knoxville lawyer and newspaper owner/editor, Col. Moses White, endeavors to provide a succinct account of newspapers and newspapering in East Tennessee from the 1790s to the Civil War.  A print copy of the speech is available at UT’s Special Collections: MS.3715.