Our History: Writings on Johnson City

Since Johnson City's founding in 1869, more than a dozen authors have written valuable histories of the city. From Samuel Cole Williams's first published history of Johnson City in 1940 to the Johnson City Press's 2019 book celebrating the city's sesquicentennial, numerous writers have brought their individual perspectives to bear by highlighting significant people and events from the city's past.

This exhibit draws attention to three published histories of the city written as theses for graduate degrees in Tennessee: Ophelia Cope Daniels's 1947 thesis at Tennessee A&I State College, Harold Handy's 1980 thesis at ETSU, and Mary Alexander's 2001 thesis at ETSU provide valuable new information about Johnson City's history and civic development. Highlighting the social, economic, educational, and political history of the city, with special attention to the role of Black citizens in advancing the city's standing, these works represent valuable perspectives from community members.

This exhibit features the complete theses of Daniels, Alexander, and Handy, along with brief biographical introductions to the authors.  A bibliography of additional resources provides recommendations for further study on Johnson City's history and development.


curated by Nick Shaner