Border States Home Page

October 1998


President: Anne-Leslie Owens, Metro Historical Commission, Nashville TN (

Vice-President and 1999 Program Chair: Harold D. Tallant, Department of History, Georgetown College, Georgetown KY 40324 (

Secretary-Treasurer: Gene Forderhase, Department of History, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond KY 40475 (


44th Annual Meeting

April 16-17, 1999

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Harrodsburg KY

We welcome proposals for papers or media presentations in any field of American Studies and related disciplines. Proposals on the history, literature, and culture of the Upper South are especially encouraged. Those interested in participating may submit a one-page proposal and a brief vita to:

Harold D. Tallant, KTASA Program Chair
Department of History
Georgetown College
Georgetown KY 40324

Proposal Deadline: January 15, 1999

Map to ShakertownA favored KTASA meeting place, Shakertown--located 25 miles southwest of Lexington--was once the site of a Shaker community that flourished in the Nineteenth Century.

Over the last 35 years, more than 30 of the original buildings have been restored on 2700 of the original 4000 acres in an ongoing project that is a national model of historic preservation. A unique feature of this site is that all services (food, lodging, meeting rooms, etc.) occupy original buildings.

For further information, visit the Shakertown web site at Village of Pleasant Hill


Please send news of personal/professional doings, upcoming events of interest to KTASA members, projects, conferences and calls for papers and other information to Tom Blues, 1451 North Forbes Road, Lexington KY 40511 (

The 1998 Meeting

Approximately sixty members attended the April 17-18 session at Armour's Hotel in Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee. The program theme was "Exploring the Personalities and Places of the Upper South."

Session I: Tennessee Soldiers in the Great War

Calvin Dickinson (Tennessee Technological University), "Tennessee's General: Lawrence Tyson in World War I." The only WW I general from Tennessee, Tyson commanded a brigade that participated in the breaching of the Hindenburg Line late in the war. He received the Distinguished Service Cross and returned to Knoxville a hero.

Michael Birdwell (Tennessee Technological University), "One Soldier's War: Albert Perrine Smith and the First World War." Smith's well-written, penetrating letters from overseas to his parents and brother at home document his gradual transformation from an idealistic young soldier to a disillusioned modernist and a true member of the Lost Generation.

Session II: Southern Traditions--Booze, Spas, and Small Towns

Kay Baker Gaston (Springfield, Tennessee), "Tennessee Distilleries: Their Rise, Fall, and Re-Emergence." Beginning as a pioneer industry, distilling was by 1886 the largest manufacturing industry in Tennesse. As whiskey production rose, so grew the prohibition movement, which eventually compelled distilleries to relocate to other states in the early 20th century. Only Dickel and Jack Daniels survived the Prohibition era.

Arthur Wrobel (University of Kentucky), "Social Life at Mid-Nineteenth Century Kentucky and West Virginia Spas." Letters written from the spas reveal that entertainment and activity often usurped the business of health management. Guests wrote enthusiastically of balls, masquerades, stage productions, elaborate meals, imported wines and liquors, croquet, lawn bowling, horseshoes, shooting competitions, riding, hunting, gaming, and walking.

Steve Shaver (University of Memphis), "Changing Seasons: The Spring and Fall of the Small Town." Letters, photographs, and interviews recover the small town resort culture of Rogers Springs, Tennessee, a culture destroyed by economic hard times in the Depression decade and increasing skepticism about the "miraculous" powers of the spring water that had attracted thousands to the town in earlier years.

Session III: Joy Bale Boone: In Film and in Words

Loretta Martin Murrey (Western Kentucky University, Glasgow). A showing, with commentary, of the documentary, "A Woman Named Joy," produced by Professor Murrey and WKYU-TV. The film highlights the life and achievements of Kentucky poet laureate, Joy Bale Boone.

After Dinner Program

Beverly Brannan (Library of Congress), "A 'Lost' Jackson County, Tennessee, Family, 1812-1912." The recovered history of an ordinary family of the region illustrates how Upland South history can be reconstructed, despite a dearth of written records, by utilizing a variety of modern approaches: oral history; material culture; vernacular architecture; analysis of photographs, maps, music, legal documents, naming patterns, dietary preferences, and even soil types.

Session IV: Evolving Roles for Southern Women

Jeri Hasselbring (Travellers Rest), "Antebellum Female Education: When the Girls Went to School." Female academies were an important presence in the pre-Civil War South; many offered courses of study equal to those of all-male institutions and were viewed as icons of morality in Southern communities. But we need more specific information about these schools-the role of religion in school culture, the influence of national movements on the schooling of Southern girls, the hours spent in school, the extent to which there was a standard curriculum, and so on.

Carole Stanford Bucy (Volunteer State Community College), "To Take Our Women Citizens to the Mountaintop: The Political Life of Catherine Kenny." Nashville suffragist Catherine Kenny saw that gaining the right to vote was not the end, but the beginning of a new phase in the struggle of women to attain political power and influence. She thus became an important presence in the development and pursuit of a women's agenda for political reform, particularly as a League of Women Voters activist.

Session V: Voices from the Hills: A Sense of Place in Southern Literature

Dennis Loyd (Lipscomb University), "Leonard Tate: The Gentle Poet from Grundy County." Except for overseas service in World War II, Tate lived almost his entire life in the quiet obscurity of Beersheba Springs, Tennessee, where he was born in 1912 and died in 1989, leaving behind a significant body of poetry that was collected and published in book form in 1990. His poetry expresses his profound attachment to the place where he lived his life and celebrates the mountain people of his community and region.

Matt Sutton (University of Kentucky), "Beyond the Valley of The Dollmaker: Harriet Arnow's Unpublished Work." The extensive collection of Arnow's unpublished writings (housed in the University of Kentucky Special Collections Library)-at least three novels, over a dozen short stories, and a wealth of autobiographical writings-offers a fresh perspective on the author and her work. Especially noteworthy are her early short stories, distinguished by scrupulous attention to rural detail and an absence of the standard cliches of Southern writing.

Session VI: Patterns in the Built Environment

Holly Rine (University of New Hampshire), "The Passing of the Frontier in Williamson County, Tennessee." By the time the United States government constructed the road connecting Nashville to Natchez, the fronter had about come to an end along the far northern end of the route. The landscape along the Old Natchez Trace Road in Williamson county reflects the evolution from frontier to plantation during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Michael Gavin (Summertown, Tennessee), "Types and Characteristics of Tennessee Log Homes." Most people think of the log cabin-the building type that transformed the wilderness into a settlement landscape in the early 19th century-as a strictly one-room affair. Not so: Log cabins were actually a complex form of folk architecture. Several cabin shapes and sizes were designed and constructed, predicated on a basic module divided within itself or joined with others in various arrangements.

Robbie D. Jones (Tennessee Department of Transportation), "What's in a Name? Carnegie Libraries in Tennessee, 1889-1919." Andrew Carnegie funded the construction of at least nineteen libraries and several educational buildings in Tennessee between 1900 and 1919, including four libraries for blacks in Knoxville and Nashville during the Jim Crow era. One library that did not get built would have been a $100,000 facility in Johnson City. The citizens refused the offer in 1889 because it would have required them to rename their town "Carnegie."


Border States On-Line. Tables of contents for Volumes 7-10 of our journal and the complete text of volume 11 are on the Web at

along with previous editions of the newsletter, annual meeting programs, KTASA membership information, and links to the national ASA.

Border States (Vol. 12) will be distributed at the 1999 meeting. The editors remind potential contributors that a paper need not be presented at the annual meeting to be eligible for publication. Any American Studies work focusing on the region would be welcome for consideration. Please send submissions or inquiries to either editor.

Professor Ellen Donovan
Box 70
Department of English
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro TN 37132
(615) 898-2653

Professor Mary Hoffschwelle
Box 23
Department of History
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro TN 37132
(615) 898-5806

National Meeting. KTASA members attending the ASA national meeting (Nov 19-22) in Seattle will want to stop by the regional chapters booth in the book exhibit area, where materials-including journals-of the regional chapters will be on display. The Regional Chapters Homepage address is KTASA is represented.

Archive Site Established. The KTASA archive will be located at the Tennessee Historical Society, Nashville, thanks to the good offices of THS official and KTASA member Ann Toplovich.

Governing Board Addition. In accordance with an ASA Regional chapters Committee resolution, KTASA members at the 1998 meeting authorized the addition of a graduate student to the board of officers. Graduate students interested in being nominated for this new position should contact KTASA President Ann-Leslie Owens or Vice-President Harold Tallant.


The "Encyclopedia of Appalachia," sponsored by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University, edited by Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell Speer, is scheduled for 2002 publication. Aimed in part to combat stereotypes of the region, it will cover rural and urban Appalachia and focus on such topics as geology, the environment, ethnicity, agriculture, labor, folklore, literature, music, education, government. Anyone interested in contributing should send a CV and a brief description of the proposed topic to CASS, Box 70566, ETSU, Johnson City TN 37614 (

Weaver and artist Philis Alvic (Lexington) has received grants from the North Carolina Humanities and Arts Councils to research the history of the Weaving Room at the Crossmore School and organize an exhibition for the Avery County Historical Museum.

Carole Bucy (Volunteer State Community College) was recently inducted into the YWCA Academy for Women of Achievement. She directed the Tennessee Women's History Project, designed to teach classroom teachers how to incorporate the contributions of women into the regular school curriculum.

Ron Eller (History and Appalachian Center, UK) is co-coordinating the Kentucky entries to the "Encyclopedia of Appalachia." He has been appointed to a two year term as the John D. Whisman Scholar for the Appalachian Regional Commission in Washington, D. C.

William Ellis (History, EKU) edits a new history magazine, Kentucke: The Magazine of Bluegrass State Heritage. He would welcome 800-1200 word pieces about the history and heritage of Kentucky. Send e-mail subscription and editorial inquiries to

Paul D. Fischer (Recording Industry, MTSU) edits the newsletter of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. Copies available on request (

Loretta Martin Murrey (English, WKU Glasgow), supported by a grant from the Kentucky Oral History Commission, continues work on her oral history of Joy Bale Boone.

Anne-Leslie Owens has recently moved to Nashville and assumed the duties of Program Coordinator of the Metro Historical Commission.

Ron Pen (Music, UK) is director of the newly established John Jacob Niles Center for American Music, which seeks to provide a comprehensive resource for the research and performance of American music, with special emphasis on the indigenous culture of Kentucky and the southeastern United States. For further information, e-mail Ron Pen at

Nancy Walker (English, Vanderbilt) has recently edited two books of interest to American studies scholars, Women's Magazines 1940-1960: Gender Roles and the Popular Press(Bedford Books, 1998) and What's So Funny? Essays on American Humor (Scholarly Resources, 1998).

Arthur Wrobel (English, UK) edits ANQ and is writing Dictionary of Literary Biography entries on Mary Gove Nichols, John James Audubon, and Sampson Reed.

Kentucky-Tennessee ASA

Department of History

Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond KY 40475

Border States On-Line is hosted by Georgetown College.
This page was last updated on 11/30/98.

This web page is maintained by
Dr. Harold D. Tallant, Department of History, Georgetown College
400 East College Street, Georgetown, KY 40324, (502) 863-8075