Written by Donna Baker, University Archivist
It’s Women’s History Month and the Albert Gore Research Center has many collections that celebrate women’s history. One part of our mission is to collect materials relating to the lives and contributions of local women. We do this with the Archive of Middle Tennessee Women. While many of these collections are related to other subjects in which we actively collect, the Archive of Middle Tennessee Women specifically highlights collections about women’s lives and accomplishments. Both organizations and individuals are included in this section. Here are the links to the finding aids and a brief description for several of the women’s papers in the Archive of Middle Tennessee Women.
The American Association of University Women-Murfreesboro Branch Papers include materials from the inception of the Murfreesboro branch in 1957 through 2001. Items include meeting agendas, minutes, officer’s reports, budgets and other paperwork important to the day-to-day functioning of the branch. Also included are materials from the Tennessee State Division, the Southeast Central Region, and National Organization.
The Business and Professional Women’s Club-Murfreesboro Chapter Records pertain primarily to the club’s final years of activity. Also included are a bound history of the organization, resolutions demonstrating the national organization’s ideals, and a 1988-1989 year book detailing the club’s activity during those years.
The Craddock Study Club Papers include organizational records, scrapbooks, and yearbooks pertaining to the Murfreesboro literary society formed in honor of Mary Noailles Murfree, pseudonym Charles Egbert Craddock. These papers are a valuable research source for topics such as Murfreesboro clubs, female societies, literary societies, and Middle Tennessee State University history.
The Zadie Key Papers include scrapbooks, letters, clippings, newspapers, photographs, cookbooks, and commemorative items chronicling Mrs. Key’s life and political career. Ms. Key participated in the activities of political and community organizations such as the Rutherford County Democratic Committee, the Chamber of Commerce, the United Way, and the Rutherford County Historical Society, and presided over the Rutherford County Democratic Women’s Club as its president.
Jean Kiger worked as an administrative assistant at the Smyrna Air Force Base during World War II. These papers include materials from her time there, as well as personal materials from her days attending Hume Fogg High School in Nashville. Kiger’s nephew, Richard Kiger, states in a letter included as part of the collection that Kiger’s papers do two things. One is “to shed some light on daily life at the air base and to identify some of the men and women who worked there or who passed through on their way to other assignments.” The other is that the “items that relate to daily life in Nashville are the kind of ephemera that are usually trashed after a while, and so while they are commonplace, they may give an idea as to what life was like in the late 1920s and early 1930s that would be hard to find elsewhere.”
The papers of Adeline King, a well-educated and well-published Middle Tennessee woman. They document her life and career in Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Smyrna. Of particular interest are her Smyrna Bulletins, written bi-weekly during World War II to local servicemen serving overseas.
The Middle Tennessee Women’s Studies Association was formed in 1986 as a study and support group for regional faculty, graduate students, and others interested in women’s studies. The records of the association include correspondence, membership rosters, meeting minutes, newsletters, and financial records.
These materials were collected by Vickie L. Riggan as part of her research interest in World War II American women in uniform. These papers are not only demonstrative of female involvement in World War II, but also the manifestation of the war in American culture as well.
Tennessee College for Women had an active student body. This collection paints a picture of what life at Tennessee College must have been like. Campus newspapers, magazines, and various college programs give an accurate portrayal of social and cultural life in Murfreesboro during the first three decades of the twentieth century.
These are the administrative records of the Murfreesboro Women’s Club. These documents demonstrate the normal functions of the Murfreesboro Women’s Club and their activities.
These are not the only women’s collections that the Albert Gore Research Center maintains. Among our political papers are the League of Women Voters of Murfreesboro Papers, with materials dating from 1957 and includes correspondence, reports, membership lists, clippings, minutes, and surveys. In University Archives we have the papers of former staff and faculty members, including Ruth Bowdoin, Buleah Davis, Ortrun Gilbert, Dot Harrison, Elizabeth Schardt, and Anne Sloan. There is an ongoing effort to collect similar types of collections in order to provide more content and scholarship regarding the lives of Middle Tennessee women.
For more information about these and other materials at the Albert Gore Research Center, please contact our staff.