THS Fall 2020 Membership Programs

You are invited to join the Tennessee Historical Society at its fall membership programs.

All lectures will be hosted on Zoom. To receive the Zoom link and password, you must reserve your free tickets from Eventbrite. If you have trouble accessing the links, please email Membership & Programs Director Nikki Ward.

“As Do the Ladies in Tennessee”: Exploring Early 19th Century Fashion Through the Winchester Women

Tonya Staggs Executive Director, Historic Castalian Springs | Wednesday, December 9, 2020 | 5:30 pm CT / 6:30 pm ET

A letter from General James Winchester to his daughter Maria in 1814 revealed the young woman’s desire to hear about fashion in other parts of the country, in particular Spanish influenced Mobile. Fashion in early 1800s America was a direct reflection of politics, culture, and the still new democratic republic of the United States. As wealthy and privileged white women, Susan Winchester and her daughters Maria and Selima, had access to the latest fashions. What did they wear? What did their choices say about their lives as women in the New Republic? Explore the fashions of early 19th century America through the lives of three Tennessee women, Susan Winchester, Maria Winchester Breedlove, and Selima Winchester Robeson.

Tonya Staggs is the Executive Director of Historic Castalian Springs. Historic Castalian Springs is made up of the three Tennessee state historic sites of Cragfont, Wynnewood, and Hawthorn Hill. Tonya spent nearly 18 years at Historic Travellers Rest where her love of early 19th century fashions grew. She is an amateur fashion historian and seamstress. She has conducted historic fashion shows at area historic sites and presented at the annual symposium of the Costume Society of America.

The Diary of Serepta Jordan: A Southern Woman’s Struggle with War and Family, 1857–64

Dr. Minoa Uffelman, Professor of History, Austin Peay State University | Wednesday, November 18, 2020 | 5:30 pm CT / 6:30 pm ET

Discovered in a smokehouse in the mid-1980s, the diary of Serepta Jordan provides a unique window into the lives of Confederates living in occupied territory in upper middle Tennessee. Written in a sturdy store ledger, the diary records every day from the fall of 1857 to June 1864. In this abridged version, Jordan reports local news, descriptions of her daily activities, war dispatches, and social life. Orphaned at twelve, Jordan lived in bustling New Providence, Tennessee, on the banks of the Red River. Well educated by private tutors, Jordan read widely, followed politics, and was a skilled seamstress interested in the latest fashions.

This one-of-a-kind volume not only adds a distinct female voice to the story of the Civil War, but also a picture of the slow but steady disintegration of slavery.

Dr. Minoa Uffelman, professor of history at Austin Peay State University, teaches the US South and Women. Her publications include Nannie Haskins Williams: One Southern Woman’s Life of Rebellion to Reconstruction and articles, “Teaching Rural History in an Urban Age” in History of Rural America, “Tomato Clubs as Salvation” in Tennessee Women in the Progressive Era, and “Homer Plessy, Civil Rights Activist,” in The Human Tradition in the Civil Rights Movement. She is currently editing Volume 2 of Tennessee Women in the Progressive Era.

Patriot Paths

Presented by Chuck Sherrill, State Librarian and Archivist, Tennesee State Library and Archives

Wednesday, October 28, 2020 | 5:30 pm CT / 6:30 pm ET

This lecture has concluded. Please view the video to learn more about Patriot Paths.

The TSLA launched Patriot Paths in 2019, using Revolutionary War pension records to map the paths that these soldiers took before and after their service. Pension files have yielded the dates and places where the soldiers were born, married, enlisted, and died. That information was added to a database and then coordinated with GIS mapping software. Historians and genealogists can use Patriot Paths to search for veterans and study patterns of migration. Come learn about the website and some of their discoveries.

Chuck Sherrill was named State Librarian and Archivist of Tennessee by Secretary of State Tre Hargett in 2010. This appointment followed ten years of service to the City of Brentwood, where he was the director of one of Tennessee’s premier public libraries. Prior to that he was head of the research section of the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Lecture 2: Patriot Paths with TSLA

Overton Park: A People’s History

Presented by Brooks Lamb, Author | Wednesday, October 14, 2020 | 5:30 pm CT / 6:30 pm ET

This lecture has concluded. Please view the video to learn more about Overton Park.

At the heart of Memphis lies Overton Park, a 342-acre public space that contains the Memphis Zoo, an old-growth forest, a famed amphitheater, and the Brooks Museum of Art. Founded in 1901, the park has been at the center of both celebration and controversy. A site for public performances and playgrounds, everyone from Elvis Presley to local children have visited there. During the Civil Rights era, desegregating the park became a major goal of local activists, and the park’s Greensward was the scene of protests against the Vietnam War. Late in the 1960s and throughout the 1970s, when the proposed route of Interstate 40 threatened the park, concerned citizens banded together to fight the plan and conserve this space. Brooks Lamb’s book Overton Park: A People’s History offers a history of the park from the perspective of those who lived it. Mr. Lamb will discuss several of the interviews he conducted while writing his book and share historic photos and maps of Overton Park. He will also explain why folks who cared for the park in the past can serve as exemplars of stewardship in the present and future.

Brooks Lamb grew up on a small farm in the community of Holt’s Corner, Tennessee. A 2016 Truman Scholar and a 2017 graduate of Rhodes College, Brooks is currently pursuing his master’s degree at Yale School of the Environment. Before beginning his graduate studies, he worked with The Land Trust for Tennessee, helping farmers and other landowners permanently protect their land from development. You can learn more about Brooks at his website:

Lecture 1: Overton Park