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James Buchanan as a young man

Buchanan Family Collection

This collection documents the family of James McGill Buchanan (1919-2013), MTSU alumnus and 1986 winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics. His family has deep roots in middle Tennessee, including an 18th-century settler of Nashville and 19th-century Governor. Mr. Buchanan earned his B.S. at Middle Tennessee State Teachers College in 1940, followed by his M.A. in Economics at UT-Knoxville and his Ph.D. at the Hi,University of Chicago.

man holding ear of corn

Cannon County (TN) Collection

This collection includes photographs of agricultural activities in Cannon County, TN that were taken by W.L. Clement, District Conservationist for the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, and his assistants between the mid-1940s and mid-1970s. They document the daily work of the farm families in Cannon County and the agricultural techniques promoted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the period.

yellow flower

Cedar Glades Studies Collection

Cedar glades are an endangered ecosystem that are globally rare. These extremely rare habitats are found primarily in Middle Tennessee and a few localities in other southeastern states. The karst topography of the glade also supports an underlying cave network home to many extraordinary species. This digital collection documents historical research into the ecology of cedar glades and individual rare species found in the glades.

African American boys standing side by side

Cemetery, a Freedmen's Community, Rutherford County, Tennessee

This collection provides public records, newspaper articles, photographs, an interactive map, and other sources that document the people and land of a large post-emancipation community located north of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, near Stones River National Cemetery. This rural, African American community began to form after the Civil War as formerly enslaved men and women resettled the area and soldiers who had served in the U.S. Colored Troops decided to put down roots where they mustered out.

Forrest Hall protest sign that reads 'Change the Name'

Forrest Hall Protest Collection

The Forrest Hall Protest Collection exists in order to collect, preserve, and provide access to the documents, accounts, and history of the individuals and organizations involved in the debate over the name of Forrest Hall and other Confederate symbols on MTSU's campus.

close up of cursive writing

Freedmen's Bureau Collection

The Freedmen's Bureau digital collection currently includes records for Rutherford County, TN, and surrounding areas that are located in the following series of National Archives Record Group 105: Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands: M816, Freedmen's Savings & Trust Co., 1865-1874, Registers of Depositors; M1000, Records of the Superintendents of Education, Tennessee, 1866-1870; M1911, Records of Field Offices, Tennessee, 1865-1872; T142, Record of Field Offices, Tennessee, 1865-1872.

Orange Dress

Historic Clothing Collection

The Historic Clothing Collection (1790-1990) is a project of the Textiles, Merchandising and Design (TXMD) program at Middle Tennessee State University. The program is part of the Department of Human Sciences and this collection is intended for TXMD faculty, students and the general public.

thumbnail for Marvin Hedrick Audio collection; photo of four men singing, one with mandolin and one with guitar

The Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection

The Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection includes historically and culturally significant recordings of bluegrass and country artists made by influential documentarian Marvin Hedrick in Brown County, Indiana between 1954 and 1973. Most of the recorded performances took place at the Brown County Jamboree in Bean Blossom, Indiana, which has also been the home of the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival since 1967. The recordings capture performances by many of the genre’s most significant figures during a crucial time of transition for the music and its broader cultural context.

log cabin

Middle Tennessee Historical Theses and Dissertations

This growing collection features theses and dissertations completed at MTSU that explore diverse aspects of the history of middle Tennessee.

Midlander yearbook cover


Midlander was the student yearbook of the University from 1926 to 2004. This collection offers a complete digital copy of almost every issue. Each volume is fully searchable. Note: Because these are large files volumes may be slow to load.

stained manuscript

Milton Collection

A collection of 19th century documents from the Milton community in eastern Rutherford County, most associated with the Bilbro family. Importantly, the ledgers of Dr. Bilbro document many names of families who lived in and near Milton in the mid-19th century. All documents are in a private collection.

students on the steps of the KOM

MTSU Memory

Created to commemorate the University's centennial in 2011, this digital collection contains photographs, memorabilia and other materials that document the critical role played by MTSU within the broader community during its first century. Please note that two separate collections also document MTSU History: The Midlanders collection contains complete digital copies of the Midlander yearbook from 1926 to 2004. The Sidelines collection contains digital copies of a nearly-complete run of Sidelines, the student newspaper of the university, from 1938 to 2011. MTSU Memory is a collaborative project of the Albert Gore Research Center and the James E. Walker Library.

canaan school building

Places, Perspectives

This collection documents the histories of communities that are the focus of Places, Perspectives: African American Community-building in Tennessee, 1860-1920, a collaborative partnership initiative funded through a matching grant from the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area to Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Geosciences and James E. Walker Library in partnership with the Center for Historic Preservation.

African American Nurses-- Rutherford County Health Department Collection

Rutherford County Health Department Collection

This digital collection, a collaborative project of the Rutherford County Archives and the MTSU’s James E. Walker Library, includes photographs that document public health conditions and services in Rutherford County in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as Maud Ferguson’s account of the first public health nursing service in Rutherford County. Learn more about the collection.

old image of house

Rutherford County Historical Society Publications

This collection provides digital copies of the occasional publication of the Rutherford County Historical Society. The collection includes Vol. 1 (1973) through Vol. 39 (200?). the digital reproduction the Publication has been done with permission of the Rutherford County Historical Society

young women

Rutherford County Schools Collection

This collection currently includes photographs of students, teachers and schools in Eagleville, Tennessee and surrounding communities (e.g., College Grove, Rockvale).

locket with portrait of young woman

Shades of Gray and Blue

In Tennessee, we have all heard stories of life and death on the state’s Civil War battlefields, but what happened to the men, women, and children who stayed at home? Their stories, seen through the lens of the objects that were a part of their daily lives, reflect the ways Tennesseans adapted, coped, and thrived during a war whose reverberations are still felt today.

sidelines title page


Sidelines is the editorially independent newspaper of the students of Middle Tennessee State University. Digital images have been created from microfilm reels covering the years from 1938, when our campus was known as Middle Tennessee State Teachers College, to 2011. Each issue is provided as a fully searchable PDF file.

white farmhouse with front porch

Southern Places

Southern Places is a project of MTSU's Center for Historic Preservation and the James E. Walker Library. This database includes images and documents from the Center's major programs, such as the Tennessee Rural African American Church Project and the Tennessee Century Farms Program.

group photo of cadets

Tennesseans and World War II

The Tennesseans and World War II Collection contains a curated set of documents, photographs, ephemera and objects related to the Tennessee maneuvers, home front, and wartime activity overseas. These items come from several archival collections housed at the Albert Gore Research Center.

map showing Lascassas and Twelve Corners

Tennessee Schools

This project will include digitized maps from the book A Study of Local School Units (1937). The book has three maps for each of 59 Tennessee counties: pupil distribution, bus routes, and road conditions. Each map has a symbol for African American and white schools.

African American woman holding american flag

Trials, Triumphs, and Transformations

This collection explores African-American Tennesseeans' search for citizenship, community, and opportunity between the end of the American Civil War (1865) and the end of World War II (1945). The project was a collaboration between MTSU's Center for Historic Preservation and the James E. Walker Library, in cooperation with many partner institutions across Tennessee.

Gateway to Other Collections

Native American Woman

American Women's History

This collection explores African-American Tennesseeans' search for citizenship, community, and opportunity between the end of the American Civil War (1865) and the end of World War II (1945). The project was a collaboration between MTSU's Center for Historic Preservation and the James E. Walker Library, in cooperation with many partner institutions across Tennessee.