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Progressive Era and World War I


1897 Centennial Exposition

1897 Centennial Exposition


In 1897, Tennessee held a six-month celebration to mark the one-hundredth anniversary of statehood.  The Tennessee Centennial Exposition was held in Nashville from May 1 until October 30, 1897, although the state’s actual centennial occurred in 1896.  The materials in this collection primarily depict the array of buildings and individuals involved with this celebration.


Alvin C. York Collection

Sergeant Alvin C. York Collection



Alvin Cullum York (1887-1964) was one of the most decorated soldiers of the First World War.  A recipient of the Medal of Honor and the French Legion of Honour, York is considered one of the greatest of Tennessee’s native sons.






Puryear Family Photograph Albums, 1890-1945

Puryear Family Photograph Albums, 1890-1945

This collection documents the careers in the United States Army Air Service during and after World War I of two brothers from Gallatin, Tennessee.

The Saloon and Anarchy: Prohibition in Tennessee

The Saloon and Anarchy: Prohibition in Tennessee

It was the constitutional amendment that tried — often unsuccessfully — to put Americans on the path to sobriety and in the process created a booming market for Tennessee's providers of illegal moonshine whiskey. The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which launched the Prohibition era in 1920, was called the country's "noble experiment." That experiment ended 13 years later with the ratification of the 21st Amendment — the only amendment to repeal another amendment — which halted Prohibition and brought imbibing back out of the shadows.

Remember the Ladies: Women Struggle for an Equal Voice

"Remember the Ladies!": Women Struggle for an Equal Voice

Tennessee played a pivotal role in gaining women the right to vote and this exhibit will show you how the state became the “Perfect 36.”

The Volunteer State Goes to War: A Salute to Tennessee Veterans

The Volunteer State Goes to War: A Salute to Tennessee Veterans is an online exhibit that chronicles the exploits of heroic Tennesseans who have served in the military during wartime.

Several sections in this exhibit relate to this theme including:

Spanish American War
Phillippine Insurrection
World War I

Tennessee in World War I

30th Infantry Division Radio Operators

The photographs in this online exhibit, selected from the Frierson-Warfield Papers and Karl Kleeman World War I Photographs, provide a thoughtful look at the Western Front during World War I from an American perspective. The photographs present a visual history of the 30th (Old Hickory) Division. Those researching this collection may find some of the images disturbing, especially the ones of dead soldiers. Some of the pictures were taken by individuals fighting in the war, while others were made by the U.S. Army Signal Corps and mass produced. Both types are striking in their portrayal of the horrors of the Great War.