As we progress through Congress Week, we think it is important to give a brief history of the Albert Gore Research Center and its importance to congressional studies.
Here at the Albert Gore Research Center, our name clearly borrows from the former congressman to Tennessee, Albert Gore, Sr. How did we get the name and better yet, how did we get Albert Gore, Sr.’s congressional papers? Dr. David Grubbs, formerly of the Political Science department, along with Dr. Norman Parks, also formerly of political science, spoke with Albert Gore, Sr. about donating his papers to MTSU since he was an alumnus. The papers arrived at MTSU. Dr. Jim Neal, of the history department, started archiving the papers. Needing more space, the papers were moved to the Learning Resources Center in 1992.
In 1993, the Albert Gore Research Center officially opened its doors with Dr. Neal serving as the first director. At this time, the center began to acquire more collections, political, regional, and university in nature. However, as the AGRC began continued to expand, space was running low. Andrew L. Todd Hall was recently renovated and provided a new location for the AGRC. The Albert Gore Research Center’s holdings and staff moved into the building in spring of 2005 and held an official Open House on April 15, 2005. Al Gore spoke at the rededication and Open House ceremony about his father’s papers as well as the importance of institutions, such as MTSU, that allow for individual growth and achievement.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the thoughtfulness and dedication, the time, energy and hard work that have all gone into this rededication event today, to the maintenance of the collection of my father’s papers, to the hosting of innumerable scholars who have come from around the world to study the materials that are collected here…This rededication today is an opportunity to reflect upon what this institution meant to my father’s life and to remark as well that what it meant to him is symbolic of what it means to so many students who come here with native intelligence and energy and creativity and good will and find at MTSU an opportunity to develop their talents—to become exposed to the universe of knowledge that is accessible here at this great university, the fastest growing institution of higher learning in the state of Tennessee.
Dr. Lisa Pruitt, the director after Dr. Neal retired in 1999, oversaw the move of the center from the Learning Resources Center into its new space in Todd Hall. Dr. Jim Williams became the third director of the Albert Gore Research Center in 2008. The Albert Gore Research Center continues to seek materials related to political, university, and regional history. The Albert Gore Research Center will continue to be a vital part of the MTSU community.
How does the Albert Gore Research Center fit in with Congress Week? Firstly, not only does the AGRC have the House and Senate papers of Albert Gore, Sr., we also have numerous other papers from congressman, at both the state and federal level. On the federal side, we have papers from Bill Boner (an MTSU alumnus), Bart Gordon (an MTSU alumnus), Jim Cooper, and Zach Wamp. The AGRC also has many holdings related to members of the Tennessee General Assembly who include LaMar Baker, John Bragg, Jim Cummings, Buford Ellington, John Hood, and Andy Womack. The Albert Gore Research Center continues to promote congressional study through these collections. Secondly, the Albert Gore Research Center is a member of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress, the organization promoting Congress Week. The ACSC is an assemblage of similar institutions and centers with a shared desire to continue to promote congressional study.
The staff at the Albert Gore Research Center look forward to continuing to assist you in your research!