2.1 cu. ft.
Organization & arrangement of materials
Organization: Three series: I. Family; II. Business; III. Social life;,Arrangement: generally chronological.
Materials housed in Special Collections Division of the Main Library, Nashville Public Library.
Restrictions on Access
In library use only. Available by appointment.
Abstract: Photographs, news clippings, letters, and a scrapbook documenting the personal, professional, and social lives of Elizabeth and Bill Weaver of Nashville, Tennessee. The dates of the materials are 1858-1996 with the bulk being from 1940-1975.
Scope and content: Series I. Family (1858-1970, 1996) - contains photos, clippings and letters concerning the Weaver family and the Craig family of Nashville, Tennessee. This series comprises approximately half of the collection. Although mostly focusing on the Weaver and Craig families of Nashville, Tenn., a portion of this series also concerns the Morgan family, the maternal grandparents of Bill Weaver. Among the latter items are typescripts of letters written between 1892 and 1897 by Dr. W.H. Morgan, Dean of the Vanderbilt Department of Dentistry, and grandfather of Bill Weaver. There are a few photocopies of letters dating as early as 1858. Chief among the items relating to the Weaver and Craig families are photographs showing family baptisms in Nashville; holiday family gatherings and family trips; family homes in Nashville, such as Seven Oaks, and Giles County, including the country house of the Wade (Craig) family, "Brookside," in Pulaski; images of the Weaver family at the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly and fishing at the farm in Pulaski. Also included are photos of Bill and Elizabeth's parents and grandparents, as well as photos from Elizabeth Weaver's time at Smith College and her diploma. These materials end in 1970, but two oral histories conducted in 1996 by Elizabeth McAlister (Elizabeth Weaver's granddaughter) supplement these materials. One interview is with Elizabeth Weaver and covers her life, her work as a volunteer and her experiences as the first woman mayor of Belle Meade, Tennessee. The other oral history is with Jean Ewing Love, first cousin of Elizabeth Weaver's husband, Bill Weaver. Jean speaks mostly about her childhood with cousin Bill in the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly and her time as a student at Vanderbilt.
Series II. Business (1940-1979) - contains photographs and clippings documenting various aspects Bill Weaver's involvement with National Life and Accident Insurance Company, the Grand Ole Opry after it left downtown for the Nashville suburbs, and Opryland theme park. Materials include photos from business and board meetings at National Life as well as the National Life Building and its dedication, and numerous clippings about the business compiled by P.D. Martin. Also present are a number of significant photographs from the 1970s relating to events in country music history, such as the 50th anniversary of the Grand Old Opry; the opening of the new Grand Ole Opry building and Opryland theme park; the flooding and subsequent reopening of Opryland in 1975; and the visit of President Richard Nixon and his wife to the opening of the new Grand Ole Opry building in 1974, where he famously played with a yo yo and played the piano. There are also numerous photos of Bill Weaver and his father-in-law, Edwin Craig, entertaining country music stars backstage at the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry.
Series III. Social Life (1934-1975) – contains mostly photographs, with some other materials, documenting social activities such as dances, parties, charitable fundraisers, and international travel. Items include a scrapbook from the debutante year of Elizabeth Weaver in 1938, which contains party invitations, dance cards, photos, and clippings about parties in Nashville and who attended. There are photographs of several family weddings, including many of Bill and Elizabeth (Craig) Weaver's marriage in 1940, which was the first wedding to be held in the newly-built West End United Methodist Church in Nashville. Numerous photographs taken by the Weavers during trips to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Russia are also included, especially in Morocco, as well as images of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Craig and Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Henry traveling throughout Portugal, Spain and Egypt. One folder from 1970 contains documents and clippings relating to Elizabeth's activities with the Garden Club of America.
Preferred Citation of Described Materials
Cite as: [Folder identification], [Series title], Elizabeth and Bill Weaver Papers, Special Collections Division, Nashville Public Library
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code). Nashville Public Library does not have intellectual property rights to these materials.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Elizabeth McAlister;,Gift;,2014.,Acc. 2014.016.
Location of Other Archival Materials
Related materials: An audio-recorded interview with Elizabeth Wade Craig Weaver Proctor and her second husband, David Proctor in 1994 is part of the Cornelia Fort Papers in the holdings of the Special Collections Division of the Nashville Public Library.
Biographical or Historical Data
Elizabeth Wade Craig was born June 1, 1918 in Nashville, Tennessee to parents Elizabeth Wade Craig and Edwin "Ed" Wilson Craig. Her father was a founder of the National Life and Accident Insurance Company. She and her family often visited relatives in Pulaski, Tenn., including her maternal grandparents, the Wades, who lived at a home known as "Brookside." Elizabeth had two younger siblings, Margaret Ann Craig (later, Robinson) and Cornelius Abernathy Craig II. She was married in 1940 to William "Bill" Cheatham Weaver, Jr. and they had two children, William "Bill" Cheatham Weaver, III in 1941, and Elizabeth "Becky" Craig Weaver (later, Lane) in 1944. Elizabeth (Craig) Weaver went on to become the first woman mayor of the city of Belle Meade in 1986. Her main interests were the Garden Club of Nashville and Vanderbilt University Medical Center for whom she worked tirelessly. After the 1979 death of her husband, Bill, she married her longtime friend and childhood sweetheart, David Young Proctor, Jr. in 1987. David died in 2001. Elizabeth died in Nashville in 2014 at the age of 96.
Biographical or Historical Data
William "Bill" Cheatham Weaver, Jr. was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1912 to parents Dempsey and Irene Morgan Weaver. The Weavers were founding members of the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly and had a home there. Young Bill grew up spending summers there, along with his cousin, Jean Love. As a young man, Bill began working at his family's general store, McWhorter-Weaver on 2nd Avenue North and continued doing so until he met his wife, Elizabeth. After their marriage in 1940 he began working for her father's family business, The National Life and Accident Insurance Company. He rose through the ranks and eventually became the Chairman of the Board for National Life and was pivotal in the creation of WSM television in 1950; Opryland theme park in 1972; and The Grand Ole Opry building in 1974. He died in 1979.
Biographical or Historical Data
The National Life and Accident Insurance Company had its beginnings when brothers Cornelius Abernathy Craig and Edward Burr Craig purchased the National Sick and Accident Company for less than $20,000 at auction on the Davidson County courthouse steps on December 27, 1901. It was renamed a few weeks later in January 1902. The company grew to become one of the largest insurers and businesses in the region, and played an enormously influential role in Nashville's overall growth and development throughout the twentieth century. In the 1950s and 1960s, National Life feuded with the city of Nashville regarding corporate taxes, threatening to move elsewhere, but the matter was ultimately resolved to the company's satisfaction. They then set about building a new corporate headquarters in downtown Nashville, which would be known as the National Life Center, dedicated in 1970, and for a time, the tallest building in Nashville. In 1968, NLT Corporation was formed as a holding company for National Life and Accident and Third National Bank, although Third National was forced to divest shortly thereafter due to a change in Federal regulations. In 1982, American General Corporation, based in Texas, purchased NLT, then valued at $1.5 billion.
Biographical or Historical Data
WSM began as a way to market the National Life and Accident Company on the new medium of radio in 1925. The radio station was owned by National Life and operated in the basement of the headquarters at 7th and Union in Nashville. WSM is the acronym for the National Life motto,"We Shield Millions." The company built an 878 foot radio tower in in 1932 which transmitted 10,000 watts- making it the tallest and most powerful in the nation at the time. It then began to broadcast many radio shows including the country music show "The Grand Ole Opry". In 1943, due to the popularity of the show, which drew large crowds, the insurance company purchased the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. In the late 1960's due to the urban decay of downtown and the disrepair of the aging Ryman, the company purchased land in the Pennington Bend area, near Donelson, Tenn. and built the new Grand Ole Opry House. Land adjacent to it became the theme park, Opryland U.S.A. The opening ceremony of the Opry in 1974 was attended by President Richard M. Nixon, who also performed. The radio show continued to be recorded at the new venue, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors. WSM-TV (later WSMV) was started in 1950 and was Nashville's first television station.
Ownership and Custodial History
In possession of Elizabeth Wade Craig Weaver Proctor at time of her death, and donated to the Nashville Public Library Special Collections Division by Proctor's granddaughter, Elizabeth McAlister in 2014.
Process;,2016;,Elizabeth McAlister, volunteer.
Accumulation and Frequency of Use
No further accruals are expected.