Local History

In a sense, all history is local. The Archives documents nearby history, telling the story of the individual, the family, the community, as well as the region.

The Comet
Cy H. Lyle, Editor & Publisher
Johnson City, Tenn.



Click titles to view collection inventories.

John Biggs Alderman

The "Pat" Alderman papers contain material related to Alderman's researches into local history on such topics as early East Tennessee, the Cherokees, genealogy, Unicoi County, Tenn., pioneer life, conservation, and natural history. Included are clippings, notes, typescripts of books and articles, photographs, drawings, and audio recordings.

John Fain Anderson

This collection of scrapbooks includes material (1861-1925) on East Tennessee history, politics and government, and prominent figures like Andrew Johnson, the Brownlows, the Taylors, T. A. R. Nelson, and Andrew Jackson.

Bumpass Cove-Embreeville

The collection presents an example of how specific topics in local history can be examined- in this case, questions on the environment and pollution in the controversial debate over a landfill in the Bumpass Cove-Embreeville area of Washington County, Tenn. in the 1970s. Consists of material relating to this issue and the Bumpass Cove Citizens Group, formed to seek closure of the landfill operation.

Embree Family

Consists of articles, family history, and correspondence (1780-87) by or about members of this prominent early East Tennessee family of Quaker industrialists. In addition to family information, the material touches on such subjects as the Society of Friends, the abolitionist movement of which the Embree's were leaders, newspaper publishing, and Washington County, Tenn. history.

Faw Family

An example of the many family-related collections in the archives, these papers focus on the Faw family of Washington County, Tenn. during the years 1830-1974 and includes correspondence among family members, land transactions, wills of family members, and Faw genealogy. Material on the related DeVault family (of the DeVault Tavern) is included.

Holston Methodist Conference

This collection provides an example of numerous church and denominational records available to researchers. Consists of minutes of the annual Holston Conference of the Methodist Church (1833-40), as well as published pamphlets dealing with the Methodist faith, and the magazine Monthly Miscellany.

Johnson City Foundry and Machine Works

Founded in 1883, this major steel and aluminum fabricator played an important part in the early industrial development of the region. Consists of company documents related to operations from 1902-83 and includes ledgers, journals, shop orders, purchase invoices, pamphlets, correspondence, office files, union contracts, board minutes, photographs, and other company records. It is an example of the many collections of area businesses and industries available for research.

Johnson City Press

Collection consists of newspaper articles clipped from the Johnson City Press (and its forerunners) between 1936-87. It covers all aspects of life in the region as reported in the local newspaper.


City of Johnson City

An extensive collection of municipal documents. Material includes administrative and judicial records of the city from c. 1890. Material would be useful for the study of city government, politics, taxation, street, school, and other construction projects, city planning, municipal finance, education, judicial procedures, and city history.

Jonesboro Women's Christian Temperance Union

An example of the many social and civic organizations for which records are available, the WCTU collection consists of early records related to this Jonesboro temperance group and includes a ledger containing the organization's original constitution, newspaper clippings, and minutes (1895-99).

Shelby Family

Consists of historical material related to this prominent early Tennessee family and includes information on Evan Shelby, Jr., his son John, brothers Moses and John Shelby, and nephews, Moses, Jr. and John, Jr.

Washington County (Tenn.) Court

Administrative and judicial records (1777-1960s) touch on many aspects of life in Tennessee's first county, including local history, politics and government, road construction, judicial procedures, education, court cases, law enforcement, etc.

Washington County (Tenn.) Historic Structures Survey

Consists of survey forms, photocopies of selected photographs, computer disks, and newspaper clippings related to information gathered between 1983-86 on historic homes and buildings in Tennessee's oldest county. Information includes name and address of current property owner, date of construction, construction details, building plan, and architectural style. Over 5,000 pre- 1931 structures were identified.

Watauga Historical Association

Consists of historical documents gathered by the association related to the history of Carter County, Tenn. Material includes articles of agreement, bills of sale, bonds, declarations, judgments, juror lists, court minutes, petitions, oaths, orders, notices, writs, promissory notes, etc., 1796-1866.

Samuel Cole Williams

Judge, educator, and historian, Williams' papers here include a copy of manuscript notes taken from various sources for his work entitled "Early Emancipation Movement in Tennessee."



Below is a small sampling of recent titles. 
For further reading, search the Sherrod Library Catalog.

Binnicker, Margaret Duncan. Erwin, Tennessee: transformation of work and place in an Appalachian community. 1900-1960. F443.U5 B56 1999a

Bohannon, Teresa Thomas. The ladies and their library: the history of the Johnson City, Tennessee Public Library as revealed through the Monday Club archives. Thesis B634l 1998

Calhoun, Ross. Lost heritage: the people of old Butler, Tennessee, and the Watauga Valley: a documentary of the communities, institutions, and families displaced or otherwise affected by the Tennessee Valley Authority Watauga Reservoir. F444.B87 C35 1998

Campbell, James L. North American Rayon Corporation: a company history as told by the reporters and editors of the Watauga Spinnerette. HD9929.5 .R34 N67 1999

Cox, Bob L. Remembering Johnson City. F444.J67 C69 2008

Depew, Michael. Old Butler. F444.B89 D47 2005

Hardy, Michael C. A short history of old Watauga County. F262.W34 H37 2005

Haskins, Sonya A. Johnson City. F444.J67 H37 2005

Henderson-Alexander, Mary. Black life in Johnson City, Tennessee 1856-1965: a historical chronology. Thesis Henderson-Alexander 2001

History of Washington County Tennessee: a contribution to the bicentennial celebration of Tennessee.   F443.W3 H568 2001

Laughlin, Jennifer Bauer. Roan Mountain: a passage of time. F262.R39 W55 1999

Lee, Tom. The Tennessee-Virginia Tri-cities: urbanization in Appalachia, 1900-1950. HT123.5.A67 L44 2005

Patrick, Sherman L. The desegregation of the Kingsport City School System. Thesis P275d 1997

Stevens, Mark A. Unicoi County. F443.U5 S74 2008

Stone, George. Bristol. F444.B8 S75 2008

Taylor, Gary Alan. A history of the Navy V-12 program at Milligan College, July 1, 1943-June 30, 1945. Thesis Taylor 2000