What's New at the Archives


Calling all artists!

The Nashville Metro Archives Audiovisual Conservation Center is pleased to announce its first ever Archives Artist in Residence Program. The program's goal is to break down walls between archives and community, to engage in collaborative preservation, and to support focused preservation through creative access.

The award is open to emerging and mid-career multimedia or performance artists 18 or older with strong ties to Nashville/Davidson County. One artist will be selected to work directly with archivists on staff to choose materials for preservation from a list of prioritized collections, and to integrate that material into a new work. The new work will premiere late summer 2019 in Nashville at the Fort Negley Gallery during the city's Wedgewood-Houston Art Crawl.

- Details and application instructions can be found here.
- The deadline to apply is April 1, 2019.
- Please send any questions to Kelli Hix.

The Hadley Journal Collection

In 2015, Betty Ann Hadley of Nashville, TN donated a number of family items to the Metro Archives. The donation included 11 handwritten journals by her mother, Elizabeth Lois Meguiar Hadley, born in 1894. These unique journals, which have now been transcribed, indexed, are available for viewing here.


A belated happy new year! Please take a look at our latest newsletter from December 2018 for the latest goings-on at the Metro Archives.

We have changed our First Tuesdays program to First Fridays, beginning in February 2019. For more information, please check out our First Friday page.

Our exhibit, "Poet and Patriot: Primo Bartolini from Italy to Nashville", was a great success! Along with the exhibit, the Metro Archives asked Dr. Matteo Brera to deliver a presentation on the life and poetic works of Primo Bartolini, whose papers have been recently acquired by the archives. Bartolini, a first-generation Nashvillian of Italian birth, moved to Nashville in 1908 and became the first non-native Tennessean to be drafted in World War I. Bartolini's largely unpublished poetry covers the thenmes of love, nostalgia, and patriotism, and his papers document his unique life as a proud Italian-Nashvillian. To see Dr. Brera's presentation on the Nashville Public Library's YouTube page, click here.


Metro Archives Intern Caleb McLoud has completed his internship project, in which he processed the Tying Nashville Together Collection. Tying Nashville Together was a broad-based, citizens' organization whose membership included civic, neighborhood, and non-profit business associations, as well as religious institutions. This wonderful collection sheds light on the establishment and upkeep of non-profit institutions, and the way in which Nashville's communities worked to bring social justice to the city.

We currently have two new episodes of our Back in the Day podcast available. Check them out!


We have just finished processing the Mayoral papers of both Richard Fulton and Bill Boner. Finding aids can be found here!


Community Archiving Workshop with Nashville Metro Archives and Bellevue United Methodist Church

Nashville Metro Archives and Bellevue Methodist Church invite you to our Spring Community Archiving Workshop! Join our volunteers and local archivists in the morning for a brief training session in the essentials of handling and processing archival analog audiovisual materials. IN the afternoon, we will put those skills into practice as we identify and process a sample video collection from Metro Archives and an oral history collection from the archives ofr the Bellevue United Methodist Church.

Attendees need no previous skills in handling audiovisual collections, but should have basic computer skills and be able to enter information into a spreadsheet. This event is free and lunch will be provided. Laptops with disc drives are welcome and greatly appreciated!


Date: Saturday, May 12
Place: Metro Archives, third floor/west wing, Nashville Public Library, 615 Church St., Nashville, TN
Time: 10am-4:30pm

Parking is available in the Library Parking Garage. If you are driving, please come early to ensure that you can find parking. You can receive 1.5 hours of free parking with parking validation from the Library. Questions? Contact kelli.hix@nashville.gov.


Proving Loyalty: Being German in Nashville, 1917-1945

Saturday, June 16, 2018, Main Library Auditorium, 10:00-12:00

The Metro Archives will host a panel discussion on anti-German sentiment in the United States and its effects on Nashville during the World Wars. The panel will take place on Saturday, June 16 in the Main Library's auditorium. Panelists will include researcher Amy Wannamacher, Jewish Community Historian Jean Roseman, Davidson County Historian Dr. Carole Bucy, and Doug Barry, Honorary German Consul for Tennessee.The doors open at 10:00am, and the discussion begins at 11:00sm.

You can check out our latest newsletter here!

See some videos from our new AV conservation project on our new page on Vimeo.


Messages Home: A Nashville Native's Personal Films from WWII


For the first time ever, Nashville Metro Archives and Nashville Public Library are proud to present a selection of personal films by local filmmaker James Kilgore (1919-2014). Recently preserved through funding from the Nashville Public Library Foundation and the Al Larvick Film Grant, these rare films, generously donated to the Metro Archives Collection by the Kilgore family, document WWII from the perspective of a Tennessee native. Kilgore's lifelong dedication to the art and craft of filmmakingled him to shoot some of the earliest color film footage of WWII, from stateside training at Fort Benning to the celebratory return of the soldiers home by boat. The public is encouraged to feely enter the screening and to join in conversation during the film. Metropolitan Government Archivist Ken Fieth will provide live historical context and Audiovisual Archivist Kelli Hix will be in attendance to chat about film preservation.

New Podcast Series
The Metro Archives has recently begun a podcast series called "Back in the Day." These podcasts feature special guests who discuss various aspects of Nashville and Tennessee history. You can listen to episodes at our podcasts page here. You can also access this page by hovering your mouse over the "Events" tab and clicking on "Podcasts" on the drop-down menu. Please check back periodically for new episodes!

Nashville Weather Reports
Who doesn't love talking about the weather? Our own Sarah Arntz has unearthed a collection of Nashville weather journals from the War Departrment, known officially as the Signal Service (which today is known as the National Weather Service). We have a new page under "Nashville History" in which we will post the transcriptions of these fascinating narratives, which begin in 1870.


PLEASE NOTE: Beginning in January 2018, the Metro Archives will be moving its First Tuesday events to the meeting room in the Green Hills Branch Library. We are hoping that this change in venue will be more accommodating to our friends, and allow more people to attend without having to worry about issues with parking and driving in downtown traffic. The program will still be from 12:30-2:00pm. We hope to see you there in 2018!


Please see our October 2017 newsletter for updates, upcoming events, and information on newly processed collections!

We have uploaded a number of new finding aids to the website, including:

An updated finding aid for the Clarence Alford Collection, created by one of our outstanding interns.
C. Beverly Briley Mayoral Papers
Life and Casualty Insurance Company Collection
Metropolitan Clerk's Office Records
Metropolitan Transit Authority Collection
Seymour Samuels, Jr. Papers


You are invited...


Please see our July 2017 newsletter for updates, upcoming events, and information on newly processed collections!

We have added a list of Nashville Police Department heads from 1806-1963 on our People of Nashville page.

Have you ever wondered about the police officers that made of the Nashville Police Department? Well, we have found a police roster from 1884 that gives a great deal of information about each officer on the force, including age, weight, height, nativity, and former occupation.

Friends of the Metro Archives,

Now that the Archives is settled into the new routine of being at the Main Library, I would like to ask everyone that is a membor or is interested in being a member of our Friends of the Archives, please come to a meeting of the Friends of the Archives on Saturday, July 29th from 9:30 to 11:00. We will be meeting in the Main Public Library, Commons Room. The Commons Room is located on the third floor, west wing of the Main Library. There will be signs on the third floor to direct you. Park in the Library garage. The first 1.5 hours are free parking. Let's work to revitalize the Friends of the Archives in 2017!

- Ken Fieth


You are cordially invited...

Sarah Arntz of the Metro Archives is putting together a wonderful exhibit - "Aviate, Navigate, Communicate: A History of Aviation Advancement in Nashville." We plan to open the exhibit on March 28, 2017, and it will run until the end of May. More details TBA.

The Tennessee Great War Commission will meet in the Commons Room of the Nashville Public Library (Main Branch) on February 22, 2017 from 12:00-2:00.

As 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War I, the Metro Archives will host an exhibit in the second floor art gallery depicting Nashville's involvement in the "war to end all wars." More details TBA.

We have just finished processing an addtion to the Davidson County Court Loose Records.This fascinating addition includes records documenting the building of the Davidson County Asylum and a wealth of information from the Bridge and Railroad Committees. Materials date between 1879 and 1958.

We have also processed the Raymond Whittaker Papers, a collection of personal letters belonging to a soldier stationed in Fort McClellan, Alabama during World War II, where he helped to organize the 92nd Infantry Negro Division. Most of the correspondence consists of Raymond Whittaker's letters to and from his fiance (and later his wife), Jane Dean. The materials in this collection give a unique perspective of Nashville and military history during World War II, as well as a great love story.

Our director, Metropolitan Archivist Ken Fieth, gave a brief talk on December 7th in honor of the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. You can check out the video here!

We have a new web page for Nashville Cemetery information under our Nashville History section! We have included transcribed cemetery records for Central State Hospital and Mount Ararat cemeteries, as well as Nashville City Cemetery information and records from the Davidson County Cemetery Survey.

Thanks to our wonderful interns, practicum students, and volunteers, we have processed several new collections! We have three manuscript collections now on the website, including:

The Anita Williams Papers - personal papers belonging to Anita Williams (1898-1995), once President of the Tennessee League of Women Voters.

The Doug Drake Collection - a manuscript collection documenting history of the Hollingsworth and Drake families, with special attention to the United States Spanish-American War Veteran Auxiliary.

The Margaret Clardige Gray Collection - the personal and family papers of Margaret Claridge Gray, longtime history teacher at North Nashville High School.

We also have a new inventory of over 300 Architectural Drawings found within the Metro Archives collections. For access to any original drawings, please contact us.

We have also processed the Nashville Public Library Collection, a huge and fascinating collection that documents over 130 years of the Library's amazing history.

Transcriptions of the Nashville City Cemetery Deeds to Lots have been posted to the website with our City of Nashville Records. We have both Volume I and Volume II available!

Older News:
Please see the Nashville Public Library's video on its audio visual conservation program, which was founded in 2015 in order to conserve, preserve, and make accessible the moving image and sound collections under the care of the Nashville Public Library.

Please be aware that the parking garage at the Main Library will be undergoing construction from June 20, 2016 to March 17, 2017. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

The Nashville History section of our website now has a page forAfrican-American history, which includes links to research guides, an index to Nashville Globe Obituaries, and Mt. Ararat Cemetery records. More research will be added as time permits.

The Nashville Public Library Foundation has given us a generous donation to fund our "Picturing Nashville in Rotogravure, 1926-1933" project. The Metro Archives has the only full run of nashville newspapers in existence, and we are in the process of creating an online collection of digital copies of the unique weekly photo sections from these newspapers. the selected pages span 1926-1933 and employ the rotogravure printing process, which offers fine detail and subtle variations in tone while allowing for rapid mass production. Not only are these prints rare and beautiful, they also showcase our city's rich visual heritage during the years of economic prosperity and struggle. Special thanks to Joon Powell for her work on this project.

A newspaper ready to be scanned with our book scanner.