Browse Exhibits (13 total)

A Soldier's Letters Home - World War II


John David Goodin was born May 1, 1917.  He volunteered for service in the United States Army and received his acceptance letter June 28, 1941. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1942 and assigned to B Co. 3rd Armored "Spearhead" Division as tank platoon leader/commander.  He served in England, France, Germany and Belgium in some of the hardest fighting and was wounded twice, once during the Battle of the Bulge.  He earned the European Theater Ribbon with five battle stars and was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster.  A monument was dedicated in his honor August 2006 at War Memorial Plaza in Nashville.

Having graduated from UT Law School before entering service, Goodin was an eloquent writer.  He faithfully wrote letters to his mom and dad keeping them informed, as much as censoring allowed, of his general location and situation. 

This exhibit highlights selections from the 300+ letters, as well as photographs and memorabilia, in the John Goodin Papers housed in the Archives of Appalachia.

An Introduction to the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival Recordings

The Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival (originally known as the Delaware Bluegrass Festival) began on Labor Day Weekend in 1972 in Bear, Delaware. Founded by Ralph Stanley and Bill Monroe, along with Carl Goldstein, Mike Hudak, and Sheldon Sandler from the newly established Brandywine Friends of Old Time Music, it was to be the first bluegrass festival in the northeastern United States. The festival remained in Bear until 1990, when it moved to the Salem County Fairgrounds near Woodstown, New Jersey. Early on, the festival's producers began incorporating old-time, country, and other roots music artists, establishing the festival as one of the most significant and distinctive folk music events in the nation.

The current exhibit provides a curated introduction to the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival Recordings (1972-2018), held by the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University, with special attention given to the festival's first decade.

The exhibit features portions of digitized recordings, provided by the Archives of Appalachia for the purposes of research and education. Any commercial uses of the materials or any uses that exceed the limits of fair use and other relevant statutory exceptions require the permission of the Archives of Appalachia and the copyright holder(s). It is the user's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials. The Archives of Appalachia makes every effort to adhere to all known copyright and rights of privacy, publicity, or trademark of these materials. If you are a rights holder of material on this site and believe that inclusion of this material violates your rights, please contact

Appalachian Outreach Program (1979-1981)


In 1979, the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University received a grant of $23,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to produce a series of nine multi-media outreach programs, based on materials held by the Archives. The programs were presented to the public for free throughout east Tennessee and its surrounding areas.

An additional NEH grant in 1981 for $41,000 enabled the program to expand throughout southern Appalachia and allowed the Archives to design study guides to accompany a selection of the programs. In 1988, the Archives converted the slideshows to Umatic and VHS tape, and in 2009 the Archives created digital surrogates of the programs.

This exhibit contains the digital surrogates of each of the nine programs, along with all available supplementary materials: scripts for all nine programs and study guides for the six programs for which such material was created. Additionally, it includes a range of press releases, program descriptions, newspaper reviews, and advertisements.

All materials in this exhibit are drawn from the Archives of Appalachia’s collection #0237, “Archives of Appalachia and University Archives Records.”

Common Threads


In the 1960s, a time of turbulence and change in America, a group of women who had made it their life's mission to serve others, would find themselves irrevocably entwined with a people in the region of Appalachia. Little did they know, a life altering choice would have to be made in order to maintain established relationships and continue this passionate work. The Federation of Communities in Service would be the result of hard choices made by these women. 

When the Glenmary Sisters began working with the Appalachian people, first in Chicago with those who had migrated to find work, an unexpected thing happened: they discovered a common thread.  Anyone who has ever envisioned and created a work of art: made a quilt, knitted a sweater, painted a picture, sculpted clay, written a song, played an instrument, or realized an idea, understands the meaning of a common thread.  Webster defines common as belonging equally to the community at large, and thread as a fine cord composed of strands of silk, cotton or nylon.  The communities of FOCIS, and the communities of Appalachia, would discover a common thread and blend diverse backgrounds, personalities, skills and talents, to become one equal community woven together by the strong thread of common ground.

This exhibit is a "sampler" of the extensive 71 box Federation of Communities in Service (FOCIS) Records, held by the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University. The records include historical data, interview recordings, transcripts, photographs and film that highlight the valuable contributions and organizations forged by the perseverance and hard work of a dedicated group of determined women.

Highlights from the Leon McIntyre Collection

This exhibit highlights live recordings of bluegrass performances from the 1970s and 1980s, featuring recordings from the Leon McIntyre Collection in the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University.

The recordings showcase important shows, venues, and performers in bluegrass history.

International Students at East Tennessee State University


International students have enrolled at East Tennessee State University since at least the 1940s, arriving from all over the world in search of a top-tier education from an American university. This exhibit focuses on the years between 1946 and 1960 in order to evaluate connections between the Cold War and the countries of origin for those international students who enrolled at East Tennessee State University (known at the time as East Tennessee State College). It examines ETSC's goals in admitting international students and the role that federal and state governments played in this process. 

Regional Old-Time Music of the Timothy F. Woodbridge 78 rpm Record Collection


The Timothy F. Woodbridge 78 rpm Record Collection primarily focuses on old-time, country, and swing recordings of the 1920s and 1930s. This exhibit examines old-time or "hillbilly" recordings from musicians from the southeastern United States.  

These recordings served many purposes for those who heard them in the early part of the twentieth century: they were an old-time elixir evoking memories of home and nostalgia for a simpler time, and they were also pure entertainment.

Today, these recordings often serve as "source" material for fledgling musicians to study regional performance styles, and they are often referenced at informal jam sessions and on modern recordings.

Rich-R-Tone Recordings in the Lewis Deneumoustier Collection


This exhibit focuses primarily on RICH-R-TONE recordings found in the Lewis Deneumoustier Collection in the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University.

RICH-R-TONE recordings are regionally and historically significant in their relationship to the early beginnings of bluegrass recordings and the onset of a smaller "cottage recording industry" in Johnson City. These early pioneers of small record labels were noteworthy in their approach to recording and making available bluegrass records in the 1940s and 1950s. 

Regionally, RICH-R-TONE recordings give listeners insight into local and regional music from the early days of bluegrass. The performers who recorded were eager to record and the owner of RICH-R-TONE, Jim Stanton, provided an outlet for their ambitions.

Lewis Deneumoustier was an avid collector and fan of old-time, bluegrass, and country music. His collection spans over one hundred years of country and traditional music history and includes nearly 25,000 recordings along with photographs, posters, sheet music, magazines, and other memorabilia.

Simplicity and Sentiment: Le Roy Reeves and the Tennessee State Flag


"I enclose herewith a draft of a bill for the adoption of a State flag for Tennessee, which I would be glad to have you introduce and give your support and influence.  This design is the result of considerable thought and experiment, and is intended to combine simplicity and sentiment."
~ letter from Le Roy Reeves to Representative S.E. Miller, January 27, 1903 ~

In 1903, Johnson City’s Le Roy Reeves began a quest to accomplish his long-held dream of seeing the state of Tennessee adopt his design as its official flag.  The legislation passed two years later, on April 17, 1905, but it was more than five decades until the flag was in common use at the state Capitol.  This exhibit, drawn from the Le Roy Reeves Papers held by the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University, tells the story of Reeves’ quest.

Tennessee’s Mountain Heritage (1983 radio series)


In 1982, the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University received a matching grant from the Tennessee Committee for the Humanities to produce a series of three radio programs based in part on materials from the Archives’ holdings.  The series was intended to provide an entertaining and educational overview of various aspects of the social history and folklore of southern Appalachia.  Margaret Counts and Richard Blaustein wrote and produced the three programs, which aired on three separate Sunday evenings on the WETS radio station in May of 1983.

This exhibit contains audio of each of the three programs, along with versions of each respective approved script.  Additionally, it includes a guide for conducting oral history interviews and a bibliography for those interested in studying program topics in greater detail, both of which were created by original project staff in 1983.  Finally, the exhibit includes a number of related materials: press releases, newspaper reviews, and advertisements.

All materials in this exhibit are drawn from the Archives of Appalachia’s collection #0237, “Archives of Appalachia and University Archives Records.”

Vogue Picture Discs in the Lewis Deneumoustier Collection


Between May 1946 and April 1947, the Vogue Picture Record label produced around eighty 78rpm discs.  While today the discs are best known for their colorful artwork, in the 1940s they were also respected for their innovative use of vinyl, instead of the more common shellac.  This resulted in a high quality recording with very little surface noise.  The label recorded a wide range of musical styles: from country to jazz to children’s music to Latin music.

Vogue discs sold for around one dollar each (three dollars for multi-disc albums), which was more than twice the average price of material from competing labels.  Combined with Vogue’s difficulty in signing leading popular performers of the day, this contributed to its short lifespan.

This exhibit highlights the five Vogue discs that are among the more than 25,000 recordings in the Archives of Appalachia’s Lewis Deneumoustier Collection at East Tennessee State University.  The exhibit includes scans of each disc, brief excerpts of each respective recording, and additional information including background context and suggestions for further study.

Voices of Coal


This exhibit highlights musical perspectives on life in the coalfields, featuring recordings from the Lewis Deneumoustier Collection and other collections in the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University.

Extractive industry in Appalachia began in the late 1800s when new roads gave access to untapped resources such as coal and timber. Expansion of the railway system made coal a greater commodity, bringing about the need for more and more mines. Iron mills were some of the main consumers of Appalachian coal during World War II. Once the war ended, the market was flooded with coal, and mines began closing, leaving miners without jobs.

Many of the musicians in the Deneumoustier Collection represent Appalachia. Some personally felt the effects of extractive industry on their families and throughout their childhoods.  In this way, young artists grew to become the voices of the coal communities, becoming advocates for their mountains, forests, and streams. 

Lewis Deneumoustier was an avid collector of old-time, bluegrass, and country music history. Over several decades, he acquired a significant collection of magazines, booklets, concert programs, and festival flyers. He also compiled a large amount of correspondence with fellow collectors looking to obtain recordings. The core of the Deneumoustier Collection, though, is the nearly 25,000 recordings, in a range of formats, that document the history of old-time, bluegrass, and country music. Through this extensive collection, we can see not only the history of Appalachian music but also the impact the coal industry had on the Appalachian region.

Significant Moments in Appalachian Coal Mining History

1870s – Railroads came to Appalachia

  • Established a need for more coal
  • Allowed access to previously hard to reach areas to mine resources
  • Coal production in Appalachia skyrocketed

1890s – Initial establishment of large mining companies in the mountains of Appalachia

  • Mining communities were started

1910s – Many large coal companies were established in the mountains of Appalachia

  • The market was flooded, the price of coal plummeted and caused a recession
  • Miners lost their jobs, caused out-migration to urban areas for better job opportunities

1960s – Surface mining techniques for coal extraction gained prominence

  • Nearly 7,000 miles of streams were damaged by mountaintop removal (MTR) and strip mining practices
  • Caused more out-migration

World War II News Maps

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This exhibit highlights six specific World War II Newsmaps held by the ETSU Sherrod Library's Government Documents, Law and Maps Department, along with WWII-related materials held by ETSU's Archives of Appalachia. The newsmaps summarize weekly developments of military action abroad, while the newspaper articles, photographs, correspondence, and other materials draw attention to specific stories of the war's impact on residents of east Tennessee.

Published by the U.S. Army Information Branch, World War II Newsmaps were poster sized informational maps published weekly from 1942 until 1946 and were designed to motivate and inform American military personnel. Not intended for general distribution, the posters were distributed to military installations, government and civilian groups working on War Department projects, and federally-designated depository libraries such as East Tennessee State University's Sherrod Library, which became a federal depository in 1942.