WTHS monthly meeting presentations offered through video. As we collect more recordings, they will be posted to this page to be enjoyed again and again. There is no limit regarding these videos on who may view or download them, thus making them available for educational purposes and general enjoyment. Videos since December 3, 2012 are crafted and gifted by member Justin Thompson. Judge Jon McCalla’s presentation crafted by Gary Witt.
- Andrew Jackson Southerner
- “The Oldest High School Band in America”
- Surviving the Research Blues
- Pop Up Museums
- 2013 Shelby County Award Dinner
- “Map Man” Murray Hudson
- MEMPHIS: GOING THROUGH CHANGES, 1890-1929
- Memphis and the Superflood of 1937: HighWater Blues
- History of Bemis, Tennessee
- “The University of Memphis Digital Repository: Historic Publications and Images Online”
- An Illustrated History of the People and Towns of Northeast Shelby County and South Central Tipton County
- THE BOLTON – DICKINS FEUD
- Frances Wright – the History of Germantown
- The Memphis 13
- BATTER UP! 50 YEARS OF MEMPHIS BASEBALL
- Let’s Go to the Movies!
- Unconditional Surrender: The Dover Hotel
Descriptions and links follow:
WTHS February Meeting – Andrew Jackson Southerner
Many Americans view Andrew Jackson as a frontiersman who fought duels, killed Indians, and stole another man’s wife. Historians have traditionally presented Jackson as a man who struggled to overcome the obstacles of his backwoods upbringing and helped create a more democratic United States. In his compelling new biography Andrew Jackson Southerner, Mark R. Cheathem argues for a reassessment of these long-held views, suggesting that in fact “Old Hickory” lived as an elite southern gentleman.
Dr. Mark R. Cheathem earned his B.A. in history from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, his M.A. in history from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, and his Ph.D. in history from Mississippi State University. After teaching at Mississippi University for Women and Mississippi State University, he moved to Manchester, New Hampshire, in 2004 to serve as an assistant professor of history at Southern New Hampshire University. In 2008, Cheathem returned to his undergraduate alma mater as an associate professor of history. He also serves as history program director.
Please click HERE to enjoy this presentation.
WTHS Meeting January 2014 – “The Oldest High School Band in America”
The January Meeting of the WTHS featured a presentation by the Christian Brothers High School Band of Memphis and Patrick Joseph Bolton, band director, of Christian Brothers High School who presented the story of our nation’s first High School Band.
Please click Here to enjoy this presentation.
WTHS Meeting December 2013 – Surviving the Research Blues
Featuring the University of Memphis’ Freshman Honors class, led by Dr. Pam Dennis. Students learned about the Delta region while conducting their research using a variety of sources, from Google searching of scanned historical documents to physical primary documents, and presentations by Jimmy Ogle and Willy Bearden. They presented their findings.
Please click HERE to enjoy this presentation
WTHS Meeting at Davies Manor September 2013 – Pop Up Museums
A presentation on Pop Up Museums was presented by Dr. Robert P. Connolly, Associate Professor University of Memphis and Director, Chucalissa Museum. The meetings agenda also included a tour of the Davies Manor.
Please click here to view presentation.
2013 Shelby County Award Dinner
The Shelby County History Awards Dinner was held Wednesday, August 7 at Hillwood Hall at Davies Manor Plantation. The evening’s speaker, Tre Hargett, Secretary of State, State of Tennessee spoke to the importance of preserving history especially as regarding National History as a tool to educate our students to the history of Tennessee. Dr. Susan O’Donovan University of Memphis and Coordinator of West Tennessee History Day presented the West Tennessee Regional History Day winners awards. Dr. Donovan shared her experience of the effect of this program that began as a one-day event held on the campus of Case Western University in Ohio in 1974. In the closing remarks of the evening, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell praised the program and Dr. Donovan’s efforts.
Presentations of awards were made by West Tennessee Historical Society, Tennessee History Day, Davies Manor Assoc., N. B. Forrest Camp 215, Descendants of Early Settlers of Shelby and Adjoining Counties, Gen. Forrest Historical Society, Shelby County Historical Commission
Click on this link to view some of the evening’s speakers and presentations.
WTHS Meeting July 2013 – Map Man Murray Hudson
It is well worth the effort to visit this extraordinary collection. Visit Hudson’s website: http://www.murrayhudson.com
WTHS Meeting June 2013 – Memphis: Going Through the Changes 1890 – 1929
Mr. Joe Lowry is a 5th generation Shelby Countian, who has spent a life time of service with the Memphis and Germantown Fire Departments and Emergency Management. His enthusiasm for history has resulted in a 38 plus year research of Memphis city government, police and fire departments. He is the author of Memory Lanes and contributor in three of the WKNO Memphis Memoirs series: Beyond the Parkways, At the Movies, and Downtown.
WTHS Meeting December 2012 – Flood of 1937
Patrick O’Daniel is the author of Memphis and the Superflood of 1937: HighWater Blues and co-author of Historic Photos of Memphis and Remembering Memphis with Gina Cordell. To view his presentation at the WTHS meeting December 3, 2012, please click here Patrick O’Daniel – 1937 Flood
WTHS Meeting March 2013 – Bemis
A presentation of the history of Bemis, Tennessee. Joel Jackson, founder of the Bemis Historical Society shared the remarkable story of this company town and its influences on the area at the WTHS March 2, 2013 meeting on location in Bemis.
In 1900, Judson Moss Bemis chose 300 acres south of Jackson, Tennessee, to build a 21,000-spindle cotton mill. Bemis Bro. Bag Company would produce cotton cloth for Bemis bags. To produce high quality cloth, Mr. Bemis needed skilled workers to move to the village and stay long-term to work in his mill. To accomplish this goal he embarked on a great socio-economic experiment to ensure worker satisfaction in both the workplace and the community, and in doing so, touched almost every aspect of the mill workers’ lives. The experiment was a great success for over 70 years, creating a heritage of family, community, outstanding work ethic and service.
Please click here to view an interview with Joel Jackson.
WTHS Meeting April 2013 – The University of Memphis Digital Repository: Historic Publications and Images Online
Featuring a look at historic iconographic resources scanned from the holdings of the UM Libraries Special Collections/Mississippi Valley Collection Department. Presented by Ed Frank and Jennifer Schnabel at the WTHS April Monthly Meeting, April 1, 2013.
Everyone looks for a way to preserve their family history. Family pictures, letters, documents, and home movies are not easy to protect from deterioration. It has not been that long since acid free paper and proper UV storage has been available for home storage, but even with those advantages, physical items have a limited lifespan. Now with the advancement of digital archiving, those that are reluctant to give up their personal treasures to museums and libraries can find satisfaction in having their items scanned and placed in a digital archive, thus retaining the originals. Universities, libraries, and museums utilize digital archives not only to add information to their collections but to build an archive for research. Countless items, through digital archives, take a fraction of storage space compared to physical items, are easily accessible, and may be shared through computer data bases such as those at the repository at the University of Memphis, the digital collections of the Memphis Public Library, and the Tennessee State Library and Archives, just to name a few.
Please click here to enjoy this presentation.
Edwin G. Frank is Preservation and Special Collections Librarian and Associate Professor of Libraries at the University of Memphis. Mr. Frank has served three terms as president of WTHS, has been a member since 1990, WTHS Papers editor in 1991 and 1992, and currently serves as WTHS treasurer. Mr. Frank has also served as Chair of the Local History Committee of the History Section of the American Library Association, and made multiple contributions to the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Jennifer Schnabel is Assistant Professor at the University of Memphis and serves as a board member of the WTHS.
WTHS Meeting December 2010
A presentation recounting the development of the book, An Illustrated History of the People and Towns of Northeast Shelby County and South Central Tipton County – Salem, Portersville, Idaville, Kerrville, Armourtown, Bethel, Tipton, Mudville, Macedonia, Gratitude, Barretville, and Rosemark, Tennessee, how it was compiled, and some of the material within the chapters was given by Judge Jon McCalla to the West Tennessee Historical Society on December 6, 2010.
Please click on the link to enjoy this presentation. Judge Jon McCalla Presentation
WTHS Meeting May 2013 – The Bolton – Dickins Feud
Presented by Vincent Astor and Donald Harrison May Monthly Meeting, May 6, 2013
Please click here to enjoy this presentation.
In July of 1869, Thomas Dickins shot Wade Bolton at the west gate of Court Square, before witnesses. Bolton died several days later. Dickins was shot and killed by an unknown assailant in July of the following year.
The most famous blood feud in Shelby County history took place between the Bolton and Dickins families. In 1850 patriarchs of both clans formed a partnership for buying and selling slaves. The strife began when James McMillan of Kentucky, a well-known trader, sold to Washington Bolton, in 1857, the unexpired term of a free African apprentice, 23 years of age. The apprentice was brought to Memphis and sold by Isaac Bolton as a slave for life. The apprentice engaged lawyer, Frazer and Jones, and secured his freedom, thus convicting Isaac Bolton of a felony. Later in the same year, Wade Bolton asked McMillan to bring to the office “Fancy Boy”, a slave, whom Wade wished to buy for his wife. McMillan arrived to find in the office not Wade Bolton but Isaac Bolton and Patrick Duffy. Isaac demanded a refund of the price of the free apprentice whom Washington had purchased and Isaac had sold. McMillan replied that he did not have such a sum of money nor a bank account. Duffy left the room and Isaac shot McMillan who told details of his story before he died.
Vincent Astor (Wade Bolton) is a native Memphian and has been involved in local history since his teens. He was an early visitor to the Woodruff-Fontaine home in the 1960s, and a very early docent at the Mallory-Neely house in its first years under the DAR. He was also organist and historian of the Orpheum Theatre from the mid-seventies until 1987, the only employee retained when Malco sold the theatre (because he knew where all the skeletons and the fuses were).
Donald Harrison (Thomas Dickins) first developed his interest in history in his home town of Amory, Mississippi. He graduated from Mississippi State University and moved to Memphis in 1973 where he began a 38 year career with the BNSF Railroad. He has been involved in several Living History and Costume Tours researching, writing and portraying numerous characters at Forest Hill and Elmwood Cemeteries as well as other locations. He has been an Elmwood Cemetery volunteer since 2004 and is also a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the West Tennessee Historical Society.
WTHS Meeting July 2014 – Frances Wright and the History of Germantown
Presented by George Andrew Pouncey
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With a special love for history, Mr. Pouncey has worked to recognize Frances Wright for her time and contributions to Germantown and the nation, and the gathering of documentation on the City’s general history.
Mr. Pouncey’s contributions and dedication to history are best described by Rep. Stephen Fincher‘s address to the House of Representatives in Nashville, March 6, 2014, with the following:
”Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Mr. Andrew Pouncey on being selected as the 2014 Citizen of the Year by the Lions Club of Germantown, Tennessee. This public recognition is well deserved and stands in support of the career of Mr. Pouncey, who has consistently strived for the betterment of others. After graduating from both Rhodes College in Memphis and Mississippi State University, Mr. Pouncey began his career in both Planning and Landscape Architecture. Beginning in 1990, Mr. Pouncey served in numerous capacities for the city of Germantown, Tennessee. From Chief Planner to the Director of Economic and Community Development, Mr. Pouncey helped the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, the government of Germantown, and its residents enjoy this wonderful city. Additionally, the Riverdale Nature Garden, Civic Club Plaza, GPAC, Code of Ordinances, Urban Growth Boundary, and Smart Growth have been touched by the work of Mr. Pouncey. This dedication to preservation also found itself in the non-governmental life of Mr. Pouncey. Serving as the President of the Memphis Belle Memorial Association, board member of the Tennessee Preservation Trust, and the Germantown Museum, he spent numerous years saving our Tennessee heritage for future generations. Mr. Pouncey has selflessly left his mark on safeguarding the history of the United States of America. On behalf of Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District, I congratulate Mr. Pouncey on being the 2014 Citizen of the Year. I wish him the best of luck for all future endeavors.”
WTHS Meeting June 2014 – The Memphis 13
The June meeting of the WTHS featured Daniel Kiel who presented Lessons of the Memphis 13. Mr. Kiel is professor at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis. In 2011, Kiel built upon his work on school desegregation in Memphis through an oral history project that culminated in The Memphis 13, a documentary film he wrote and directed sharing the stories of the first students to desegregate public schools in Memphis. The film premiered at the National Civil Rights Museum on the 50th anniversary of that historic event and has been featured at film festivals, universities, and museums across the country.
In 1961, seven years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racially segregated schools — “separate but equal” — were unconstitutional; Memphis City Schools were still just that.
Until Oct. 3, 1961, when 13 African-American first-graders were enrolled in all-white Bruce, Gordon, Rozelle and Springdale elementary schools. No more than four students per school and only one per class. That first step toward city school desegregation, taken 50 years ago by children too young to comprehend the significance, went forth with little advanced news coverage or public discussion.
Please enjoy the documentary “The Memphis 13” by clicking HERE
WTHS Meeting May 2014 – Batter Up! 50 Years of Memphis Baseball
Presented by John Guinozzo and Jimmy Ogle
Longtime friends and fellow Metro Stats Crew operatives, John “JJ” Guinozzo and Jimmy Ogle, Shelby County Historian, present more than fifty-years of Memphis Baseball History. Mr. Guinozzo has been the Official Scorer for the Memphis Redbirds and previous professional baseball teams here since 1971, and one of the only eight scorers in Memphis professional baseball history since 1877! He has been compiling and annually updates his “Memphis Baseball Encyclopedia” with all sorts of facts & figures, classic photos & trivia, and the general history of Memphis’ legacy and continuing presence in the Great American Pastime.
Please click here to enjoy this presentation
WTHS Meeting April 2014 – Let’s Go to the Movies
Vincent Astor is a native Memphian and local historian with a special fondness for movie houses. He has warm memories of the cinema when theatres had only one screen and of working at the Malco/Orpheum Theatre. His presentation relives those wonderful days of the beautiful large and small movie houses of Memphis.
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Unconditional Surrender: The Dover Hotel
A Presentation of
U.S. Department of the Interior