1 cu. ft.
Organization & arrangement of materials
Organization: Organized into four series by genre: I. Essays; II. Poems; III. Photographs; IV. Songs and music. The Essays series is subdivided into two subseries: A. Individuals; B. Schools;,Arrangement: Alphabetical, by name of author or submitter.
Materials housed in the Special Collections Division of the Main Library, Nashville Public Library.
Condition note: Most submissions have a large pen stroke across them; this was a notation made by staff at the Tennessean.
Restrictions on Access
In library use only. Available by appointment.
Restrictions on Access
Residential street addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses were redacted by Nashville Public Library staff, since this information was not published in the newspaper or on the Tennessean's website. A photocopy with redactions was placed in the publicly-accessible research collection. Original submissions containing this information reside in the Gannett/Tennessean donor file; are divided into "Essay" and "Poetry" series, just as they are within the research collection; and are closed to the public, as a policy of the Special Collections Division of the Nashville Public Library.
Scope and content: Readers of the Tennessean sent in essays, poems, songs, and other items to the newspaper concerning their thoughts and feelings about the one year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Some reflected on how their feelings have changed since that time; others wrote about their experiences on that day. Submissions came from communities throughout Middle Tennessee, although the majority of submissions were from the Nashville metropolitan area. A few submissions came from out of state. Several schools made group contributions to the project. Although the Tennessean requested submissions of children's artwork, these materials were not included in the donation to the Special Collections Division. However, occasionally children's writings will be accompanied by illustrations, and the entire submission from St. Joseph School in Madison, Tenn. consists of both brief essays and crayon illustrations, predominantly from third graders.
The essays and other materials provide an interesting snapshot of America and Middle Tennessee when the nation was still grieving its losses from the year before. Daily life had resumed some sense of normalcy, but was still punctuated by warnings, scares, and a mix of fear and optimistic confidence. These materials provide a unique view of America during a specific time in the "War on Terror." Military action had been underway for nearly a year in Afghanistan, but had not yet been authorized in Iraq. At the time most of these essays were written in Aug. and Sept. 2002, government officials were stating that Iraq posed an immanent threat to the United States, both at home and abroad. Congress would pass a joint resolution authorizing military force against Iraq on Oct. 11, 2002.
Most submissions speak directly to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, including recollections of individuals' experiences on that day. In a few instances, people submitted writings which dated from the time period of the attacks. Regardless of when they were written, a number of submissions detail where people were and what they were doing on Sept. 11, 2001. In some cases, they may have lost friends or relatives in the attack, or they write about family members who are in the military, or members of police, fire, or medical teams. Some individuals write about being in mid-flight and having their airplane suddenly grounded at an unexpected location, being stranded in airports in the United States, or their experiences traveling abroad at that time. In addition to individuals' accounts about their experiences on Sept. 11, 2001, many submissions also reflect on events that had transpired in the year since that time.
The content and subject matter of the submissions varies widely. Many persons express fear and concern for their loved ones and their country, while remaining confident in their nation's strength, fortitude, and endurance. Some individuals express moral judgments about events, leaders, the United States, foreign countries, religion, and other subjects. Some submissions contain words of grief, loss, and solace; others are strident in their desire for revenge; yet others long for a world free from hatred and violence. Some individuals talk about the burst of patriotism after the attacks, or write about the economic impact of the events. Some essayists write about their visits to New York City and the World Trade Center before or after the attacks. A few individuals note that Sept. 11 has other, personal meanings for them, as it was already a birthday, anniversary, or other significant date for them.
Religion is one of several prominent themes. Military action, politics, and patriotism are also prominent subjects. Comparisons are made to earlier wars and difficult times in our nation's history. Numerous writers recall or compare the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941 with the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Topics such as "patriotism" and "heroes" are especially popular subjects, and often make special mention of firefighters, police officers, medical practitioners, military personnel and ordinary Americans like those who perished in the Sept. 11 attacks. Writers often tell about how their lives or their outlook upon life has changed. Some changes are emotional, such as feeling closer to family; other changes are concrete aspects of daily life, such as encountering new security procedures at airports.
A wide range of individuals participated in the project. Numerous submissions from children reveal their hopes and fears, and their interpretations of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Parents and others wonder about the future for their children and their nation. A significant number of submissions also come from teachers. Older persons write of their confidence in their country, with the experience of having been through hard times before.
Preferred Citation of Described Materials
Cite as: Tennessean Tribute to America Collection, Special Collections Division, Nashville Public Library.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Copyright retained by Gannett Satellite Information Network Inc. /The Tennessean.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gannett Satellite Information Network Inc./The Tennessean;,Gift;,2002.,Acc. 2002.071.
Biographical or Historical Data
The Nashville Tennessean newspaper was begun in 1907 by Luke Lea. Known by a variety of names in the early twentieth century, due to mergers and acquisitions, by the Depression of the 1930s the paper was struggling. By 1933, the Nashville Tennessean was placed into receivership, administered by Lit J. Pardue of Ashland City. By 1937 the paper's circulation had increased by more than 50,000. In 1937, Silliman Evans became publisher. He and Nashville Banner publisher James Stahlman formed Newspaper Printing Corp. to serve as business agent for both newspapers, becoming a model for the newspaper industry throughout the country. As part of the agreement, the Nashville Tennessean ceased publication of its afternoon editions, and the Nashville Banner ceased Sunday publication. Silliman Evans, Jr. became publisher when his father died in 1955, and when the younger Evans died in 1961, he was succeeded by his brother, Amon Carter Evans. In 1962, John Seigenthaler became editor, and reporters Nat Caldwell and Gene Graham received the Pulitzer Prize for their story about "undercover cooperation" between mine management and the United Mine Workers. In 1972, the newspaper dropped Nashville from its title, becoming simply The Tennessean to reflect its statewide coverage. Seigenthaler was named as publisher in 1974, became chairman and chief executive officer in 1989, and at his retirement in 1991, was named chairman emeritus. The Evans family continued as owners until July 6, 1979, when the paper was sold to Gannett Co. Inc. for around $50 million.
Cumulative Index/Finding Aids
Finding aid available in repository;,item level control.,https://assets.library.nashville.org/documents/finding-aids/Special_Collections_Division_Finding_Aid_TnssnTribAmerica.pdf.
Ownership and Custodial History
In August 2002, the Tennessean newspaper asked its readers to submit essays, notices of special events, and children's artwork related to the one year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Some of these submissions were published in a special commemorative section in the newspaper on September 11, 2002, and many appeared on the Tennessean's website. These materials, excluding children's artwork, were obtained by the Nashville Room from the Tennessean in October 2002.
Process;,2007-2008;,Linda Barnickel, Alice Swanson;,Towns have been added by staff to items when a submission did not have this information, but an accompanying envelope did. Envelopes were discarded.
Accumulation and Frequency of Use
No further accruals are expected.