Sarah Foster Kelley genealogical papers
(Document/manuscript/pamphlet/archival material)

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Special Collections - Closed Stacks  1 available
Map room drawer L-5
Special Collections - Closed Stacks  1 available
Workroom range 5 section 1
Special Collections - Closed Stacks  1 available
Workroom range 5 section 2


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Special Collections - Closed StacksMap room drawer L-5Library Use Only
Special Collections - Closed StacksWorkroom range 5 section 1Library Use Only
Special Collections - Closed StacksWorkroom range 5 section 2Library Use Only

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LC Subjects
Architectural surveys -- Tennessee -- Nashville.
Architecture -- Tennessee -- Nashville.
Architecture, Domestic -- Tennessee -- Nashville.
Barrow family.
Bates family.
Beck family.
Bicentennial Mall (Nashville, Tenn.).
Bolling family.
Bosley family.
Brown family.
Buildings -- Tennessee -- Nashville -- Photographs.
Buntin family.
Butts family.
Charlotte Avenue (Nashville, Tenn.).
Childress family.
Cockrill family.
Craighead family.
Dakota Avenue (Nashville, Tenn.).
Davis family.
Dillingham family.
Dunn family.
Dwellings -- Tennessee -- Nashville -- Photographs.
Elkins Avenue (Nashville, Tenn.).
Floyd family.
Foster family.
Frontier and pioneer life -- Tennessee.
Fulghum family.
Gann family.
Garland family.
Genealogy -- Tennessee.
Generals -- Tennessee -- Biography.
Gower family.
Harrington family.
Harris family.
Harville family.
Hickman family.
Hill family.
Historic buildings -- Tennessee.
Idaho Avenue (Nashville, Tenn.).
Indians of North America.
Jordan family.
Kellerhal family.
Kelley family.
Mays family.
McCaleb family.
Napier family.
Nashville (Tenn.) -- Biography.
Nashville (Tenn.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
Nashville (Tenn.) -- History -- Sources.
Nashville (Tenn.) -- Social conditions.
Nashville (Tenn.) -- Social life and customs.
Nashville and Davidson County (Tenn.) -- History.
Neighborhoods -- Tennessee -- Nashville.
Nevada Avenue (Nashville, Tenn.).
Overton family.
Park Avenue (Nashville, Tenn.).
Peach family.
Pioneers -- Tennessee -- Nashville -- Biography.
Read family.
Reed family.
Reid family.
Robertson family.
Robertson, Charlotte Reeves, -- 1751-1843.
Robertson, James, -- 1742-1814.
Scots-Irish -- United States.
Taliaferro family.
Tennessee -- Biography.
Tennessee -- Centennial celebrations, etc.
Tennessee -- History -- Sources.
Tennessee, Middle -- History -- Sources.
United States -- Social life and customs.
Utah Avenue (Nashville, Tenn.).
West Nashville (Nashville, Tenn.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
West Nashville (Nashville, Tenn.) -- History -- Sources.
Women genealogists -- Tennessee -- Nashville.
Women in nonprofit organizations -- Tennessee -- Nashville.
Wyoming Avenue (Nashville, Tenn.).

More Details

Document/manuscript/pamphlet/archival material
Physical Desc
49 cu. ft.


Organization & arrangement of materials
Organized into twenty-seven series: I. Fulghum, Gower and Jordan Families; II. Unpublished Manuscript of Book: Mays Family of Middle Tennessee; III. Bosley Family Records; IV. Records on Book: Children of Nashville by Sarah Foster Kelley; V. Scotch-Irish Origins of Gen. James Robertson; VI. John Randolph & Mary (Gower) Robertson Family Tree; VII. Hickman, Barrow and Childress Families; VIII. Cockrill Family Records; IX. Harville and Dillingham Family Records; X. Bates, Floyd, Harrington, Kelley and McCaleb Family Records; XI. Bolling, Brown, Davis, Foster, Gann, Garland, Harris, Kellerhal, and Overton Family Records, Etc.; XII. Research Files on "The Saga of General James Robertson: Founder of Tennessee;" XIII. Reid/Read/Reed Family; XIV. Miscellaneous Robertson Research; XV. Miscellaneous Family Research and Correspondence; XVI. "Buffalo" Charles Robertson, Elijah Robertson, Mark Robertson, Brothers of General James Robertson Including Associated Families; XVII. Beck, Craighead, Buntin, Hill and Taliaferro Families; XVIII. Children and Kinsmen of General James Robertson; XIX. General James Robertson; XX. Posters and Maps; XXI. Various Notebooks Compiled by Sarah Foster Kelley; XXII. Miscellaneous Files and Large Prints of Robertson Coat-of-Arms and Gen. James Robertson's Travellers' Rest; XXIII. Research on Old West Nashville Homes Showing Date of Construction and Original Owner; XXIV. Permission Letters for Books Entitled "Children of Nashville" and "West Nashville: Its People and Environs;" XXV. Artwork and Miscellany; XXVI. Materials for Printing Book: "West Nashville: Its People and Environs;" XXVII. Materials for Printing Book: "Children of Nashville;,Arranged chiefly in alphabetical order, preserved in the original order used by the author-historian in her research and publication.
General Note
Materials housed in the Special Collections Division of the Main Branch, Nashville Public Library.
Restrictions on Access
In library use only. Available by appointment.
Scope and content: The collection contains material relating to the historical research and book publications of author-historian Sarah Foster Kelley, a seventh-generation descendant of General James Robertson and Charlotte Reeves Robertson. Includes numerous records about Robertson family history and research files on many of the families that were among the earliest settlers of what is now Nashville, Tennessee, such as the Cockrills, Dunns, Mays, and Napiers. The collection contains genealogical research files, biographical subject files, correspondence, photographs, and additional evidential sources that Kelley collected during a period of more than thirty years of research and historical publications, including a large volume of correspondence with other descendants and researchers. Also present in the collection is a portion of Kelley's research for her book, "West Nashville: Its People and Environs," relating to building property research files about West Nashville homes.
Preferred Citation of Described Materials
Cite as: Sarah Foster Kelley Genealogical Papers, Special Collections Division, Nashville Public Library.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Nashville Public Library retains intellectual property rights to this collection.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift;,Sarah Foster Kelley;,2002;,Acc. RT-110.
Location of Other Archival Materials
Sylvan Park Survey, housed in the Special Collections Division of the Nashville Public Library, contains the core of Kelley's research on West Nashville for her book "West Nashville: Its People and Environs."
Location of Other Archival Materials
Nashville Public Library also has several of Sarah Foster Kelley's published works, including family histories, biographies, and regional histories.
Biographical or Historical Data
Sarah Foster Kelley (1939-2002) was a seventh-generation descendant of James and Charlotte Robertson through their youngest daughter, Lavinia Beck Craighead. She was born May 25, 1939, the fourth of five children born to Jesse Paul and Lavinia Hill Foster of West Nashville. She attended West Nashville schools and earned a B.S. degree from Nashville's George Peabody College for Teachers. Married to Ernest Starnes Kelley, they raised a son, Ernest Starnes Kelley, Jr.
Biographical or Historical Data
In the late 1960s, Sarah Foster Kelley began to record the history and genealogy of the James Robertson family, as well as documenting and corresponding with descendants extensively. In 1971, Kelley chartered the General James Robertson Descendants and Kin Association and served as the first chairman on the board of directors. She organized the West Nashville Founders' Museum Association in 1986, with co-founder Ralph Cohen, for the purpose of reconstructing the James Robertson log house that was constructed in H. G. Hill Park in West Nashville in 1996.
Biographical or Historical Data
Sarah Foster Kelley was the author of many books, including "Children of Nashville: Lineage of James Robertson," (1973), based on the author-historians' correspondence with Robertson descendants across the United States and her research of numerous old deeds, marriage books, census records and cemetery records.
Biographical or Historical Data
Additional books by Kelley include the following: "Scotch-Irish Origins of General James Robertson"; "West Nashville: Its' People and Environs"; "The Family of Captain James Bosley: Nashville Pioneer and Trader"; "The Family of Ellen Mordant Davis: Wife of Dr. Peyton Robertson, Nashville Physician"; "The Family of Ann Robertson Johnson Cockrill: Nashville's First School Teacher"; "The Dillingham Family of Middle Tennessee"; and "The Linton Family of Linton, Tennessee." Kelley's opus also includes a 639-page computer-generated publication entitled "The Saga of General James Robertson: Father of Tennessee" that she copyrighted in 1998.
Biographical or Historical Data
Kelley's opus also includes a 639-page computer-generated publication entitled "The Saga of General James Robertson: Father of Tennessee" that she copyrighted in 1998.
Biographical or Historical Data
Sarah Foster Kelley passed away on July 16, 2002, after her eight-year battle with cancer. She was interred at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Nashville. In 2007, she was memorialized with a pink dogwood and a brass marker at the reopening of the refurbished James Robertson House, as an original co-founder of the West Nashville Founders Museum.
Cumulative Index/Finding Aids
Finding aid available in the repository;,folder level control.
Ownership and Custodial History
Generated, collected, and organized by Sarah Foster Kelley over her years of research, the materials were donated incrementally to the Nashville Public Library by Sarah Foster Kelley and her estate.


APA Citation, 7th Edition (style guide)

Kelley, S. F. Sarah Foster Kelley genealogical papers .

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation, 17th Edition (style guide)

Kelley, Sarah Foster. Sarah Foster Kelley Genealogical Papers. .

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities (Notes and Bibliography) Citation, 17th Edition (style guide)

Kelley, Sarah Foster. Sarah Foster Kelley Genealogical Papers .

MLA Citation, 9th Edition (style guide)

Kelley, Sarah Foster. Sarah Foster Kelley Genealogical Papers

Note! Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy. Citation formats are based on standards as of August 2021.

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