published Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Tennessee state archives looking for Civil War heirlooms

by Andy Johns
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• What: Tennessee State Library and Archives artifact search

• Where: Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View, Chattanooga

• When: 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday

For more information: 615-253-3470 or visit

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is hoping to expand its collection of Civil War photos, letters and other documents by asking local residents to bring family heirlooms to be digitized.

On Tuesday at the Hunter Museum of American Art, archivists will scan the documents and post them online in hopes that researchers can use them to better understand the war in the Volunteer State.

Jami Awalt, an archivist with the state agency, said its tour already has made stops in 16 communities around Tennessee before coming to the Hunter. In each stop, they've been amazed at the battle flags, diaries and other items people have brought in, she said.

One family brought in a boot worn by an ancestor during the war, and another brought in a vest from the early Ku Klux Klan.

"We've seen a lot of swords and guns," she said. "We have collections of letters that have never been read outside of the family."

And some of those letters, she said, contain descriptions, dates, places and even hand-drawn maps that could be a boon to historians. Most of the items will be included in the archive's "virtual gallery," which will be available for viewing online.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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A vest from the KKK? Well, ya almost forgot this is SE Tennessee and North Georgia.

July 23, 2011 at 8:13 p.m.
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