Nashville / Community History

Stockell

What is ephemera?

What is "ephemera"? And how do you pronounce it, anyway? Ephemera (pronounced: "i-FEM-ur-uh"), refers to anything short-lived. Today we may be more familiar with the adjective, "ephemeral," used to describe fresh-cut flowers, a misty morning, or the rapidly changing colors of a fading sunset. But the noun, used in a library or archives setting, more often refers to two-dimensional objects, usually made out of paper, designed for limited use, often for just one day.

Pass to Gunnery School

Crowdsourcing History

I often marvel at how amazing it is that we have letters from Civil War soldiers, store ledgers from the 1900s, and interviews with people that lived through the Great Depression.

detail of a marriage certificate note

Solemnizing Marriages Not-So-Solemnly: Humor from a Justice of the Peace

When two people got married in Nashville during the 19th century, it was not unusual for the officiant to write something like, “I hereby certify that I solemnized the rights of matrimony between the above named” on the back of the marriage certificate, and sign it. Some of these notes are wordy and elaborate, some are short and sweet. In the case of Justice of the Peace Willie Barrow, the notes also contained flashes of dry wit and sarcasm.

Tennessee State Fair cookbook, 1906

Things Good and Wholesome: A Culinary Adventure at the Archives

One of our most prized possessions at the Metro Archives is a rare cookbook compiled for the first Tennessee State Fair, held in Nashville at the fairgrounds in 1906. There are few of these left, and it's an artifact that marks a tradition that has been part of Nashville's history for over a century.

Nashville and Selma

Watching the new movie Selma was like seeing Nashville's Civil Rights "All Stars": James Bevel, Diane Nash, C.T. Vivian, John Lewis, Bernard LaFayette are all depicted in the film.

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