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English 198: Chancellor's Honors Writing I

Special Collections

General Information

  • Special Collections is located on Hodges Library’s first floor (above OneStop, below The Commons).
  • We’re open from 9:00 to 5:30, Monday through Friday.
  • If you have questions, call 974-4480 or email We’re happy to help.


  • To support English composition projects, we’ve made teaching collections. They are available for your reading room use whenever we’re open.
  • Many of our primary sources have been digitized. You can see what’s available here.
  • Read the descriptions of the materials available in the teaching collections. Make note of which collection and which box you are interested in. Some of the teaching collections are large and cover many topics, so focus your search before you arrive.
  • Give yourself plenty of time for your visit: primary sources can take a while to work with.

While You’re Here

  • Bring a photo ID to register at the front desk.
  • Bring a camera/smartphone to photograph pages for later reference
  • Because our materials are one-of-a-kind, visitors may not have food, drink, pens, or bags.
  • Put bags and coats in the lockers provided.
  • Be sure to record the citation information for anything you might use. The standard format is:

[Identification of Item], [Title of Collection, AR.#### or MS.####]. University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville, Special Collections.

(Note: square brackets aren’t part of the actual citation.)

  • Ask any questions you have – our staff members are here to help.

Teaching Collections

Special Collections has chosen a variety of collections for use in English 102 classes that wish to gain research experience with physical primary materials.  With the exception of the Modern Political Archives collections, the teaching collections are housed at Hodges and do not require students to request materials ahead of their visits.

Teaching Collection Topics (click for more info)

Civil War (Diaries and Correspondence): Contains diaries and letters written by soldiers and civilians during the American Civil War (1861-1865).  The collection contains two diaries, one from a Confederate civilian (Eleanora Williams Diary, MS.2940) and one from a Confederate soldier (E.H. Rennolds Diaries, MS.0170).  The collection also contains two letters, one written by a Union soldier from Ohio describing the Battle of Fort Sanders (John Watkins Letter from 1863 December 15, MS.1161), and the other written by a Union officer during the Siege of Knoxville in 1863.

World War II (Correspondence): Presents the points of view of six soldiers and reservists representing different U.S. Armed Forces branches, including Army and Navy.  The collection covers when soldiers entered the military through enlistment or the draft after the U.S. entered the Second World War in 1941, through their experiences in post-war America after Victory over Japan (V-J) Day in 1945.  Primary sources include correspondence between soldiers and their loved ones, military and government documents, and soldiers’ memoirs written after the war.

Great Smoky Mountains/Appalachia: Features photographs of the Smoky Mountains and the people and events in them.  It documents the area both before and after the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, rural life, education and missions, and several early industries.  In addition to photographs, this collection includes diaries, letters, and scrapbooks.

Knoxville/East Tennessee History: Showcases a variety of topics, formats, and eras in local history.  The Charlie Daniel Editorial Cartoons (1950s-2010s), our digital format, includes Knoxville and Tennessee politics and events in daily life.  The Turnley Collection (1763-1920) is concerned with business, land, and the Confederacy.  Laura Elliot’s typed diary (1917-1919) tells of her work in publishing, as well as personal activities and observations.  The Nolichucky Dam photo album (1913-1914) documents the process of building the dam, and includes helpful captions.  The Technical Society of Knoxville (1921-2011) includes oral histories and work in education, health, and much more.

Student Life/Archives: Includes images, manuscripts, and publications that touch on all areas of the University, from administration and history, to athletics and student activities.  There are records of current and previous buildings, articles and papers by faculty and students, yearbooks and football programs, and a wealth of other topics and formats.

Theatre and Performance:  Offers papers and photographs about acting, directing, running a theatre, and various off-stage antics from the mid-19thcentury until 2013.  Materials come from Owen Fawcett, a 19th century actor, comedian, and writer; James Dobson, raised in Greeneville, TN and an actor of stage, screen, and television; Clarence Brown, a very successful film director; and the UTK Theatre program.

Modern Political Archives: Desegregation:Correspondence from citizens, politicians and others with varying opinions on the issues of desegregation. (Housed at the MPA; appointment required).

Modern Political Archives: Comics and Juvenile Delinquency: Papers from Estes Kefauver’s collection concerning fears about comic books, juvenile delinquency, and the morals of young people. (Housed at the MPA; appointment required).