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East Tennessee State Normal School



  • Usage: 1911 - 1925

Historical Note

East Tennessee State Normal School (ETSNS) was one of four Tennessee normal schools (three for white students, one for black students) authorized by the General Education Act of 1909. Five East Tennessee counties competed for the location of the school and Johnson City in Washington County won with a bid of $75,000 in county bonds, $75,000 in city bonds, free lights and water, a promise of paved walkways and streetcar lines to the school grounds, and 120 acres donated by industrialist George L. Carter. The Normal school opened on October 2, 1911 with an enrollment of about 150 students.

The school offered two courses of study: a four-year Academic Course that was open to students who had finished elementary school; and a two-year Normal Course that was open to students who had finished high school. Tuition was free for Tennessee residents and twelve dollars per term for non-residents. The first campus buildings were the main academic building (now Gilbreath Hall), a women’s dormitory, a dining facility, a heating plant, and the president’s residence.

Effective in the fall of 1925, the three Tennessee normal schools for white students were converted to teachers’ colleges and East Tennessee State Normal School became East Tennessee State Teachers College. Sidney Gordon Gilbreath served as the president of ETSNS from 1911 until his resignation on March 15, 1925.

Found in 10 Collections and/or Records:

Franklin P. Baxter Papers

Identifier: AppMs-0175
Scope and Contents The Franklin P. Baxter Papers include numerous commercial publications in several different languages, legal documents, correspondence, reports, pamphlets, and a periodical documenting the diverse collecting activities and interests of Franklin Baxter during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In addition to these documents there are several miscellaneous records that were incorporated into the Baxter Collection by the staff of the B. Carroll Reece Museum prior to the...
Dates: 1797-1931

Elma Lillian Rankin Beeson Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AppMs-0165
Scope and Contents

The Elma Lillian Rankin Beeson Papers contain newspaper clippings, class record books, and photographs pertaining to her teaching career at East Tennessee State Normal School. Also included are extensive photographs, postcards and a diary of her 1913 trip to Europe. The papers also contain part of the Rankin family history and several certificates and awards resulting from Beeson's activities involving Tusculum College and various ladies civic clubs.

Dates: 1904 - 1973

Nora C. Carter Papers

 Collection — Box B (Small Collections)
Identifier: AppMs-0099
Scope and Contents

The Nora C. Carter Papers consist of documents relating to her early teaching experience in East Tennessee.

Dates: 1923-1924

Burr Harrison Photographs

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AppMs-0064
Scope and Contents The Burr Harrison Photographs consist of 380 photographic images (prints and negatives) depicting Johnson City and environs circa 1881-1958. The collection represents only a portion of Harrison's work, as much of it did not survive. The collection centers on photographs of commercial buildings in downtown Johnson City; industries, residences, apartment houses and churches in the city; buildings and activities at Mountain Home; and buildings at East Tennessee State Normal School (ETSNS). Some...
Dates: 1881-1958

Alta Elizabeth Pardue Keirn Papers

 Collection — Box 1
Identifier: AppMs-0513
Scope and Contents

The bulk of the Alta Elizabeth Pardue Keirn Papers consists of photographs from the early twentieth century, including numerous photographs taken at and near East Tennessee State Normal School where Keirn was a student from 1911-1914. The photographs mainly depict other students and school activities, such as sports and theater. There are also several documents, including a brief biographical sketch of Keirn by an unknown author.

Dates: 1914-1948

Nola and Robert Kemmer Certificates

Identifier: UnivRec-0394
Scope and Contents

The Nola and Robert Kemmer Collection consists of subject certificates and diplomas from East Tennessee State Normal School and East Tennessee State College. The diplomas and subject certificates were signed by Normal School President Sidney G. Gilbreath and Dean C. Hodge Mathes. Also included is a United States Food Administration Certificate signed by Gilbreath and by Herbert Hoover, United States Food Administrator; and a State of Tennessee, Department of Education certificate.

Dates: 1911-1928, undated

Lester Moore clippings - in Vertical File

Identifier: AVF-Johnson City (Tenn.)-History-Founding
Scope and Contents

The Lester Moore documents consist of a single file folder of photocopies of newsclippings about Henry Johnson and the founding of Johnson City.

Dates: 1930 - 1978

Bethany Mackey Scrapbook

 Collection — Box 1
Identifier: AppMs-0865
Scope and Contents The Bethany Mackey Scrapbook documents some of the on- and off-campus activities of Bethany Mackey of Cleveland, Tennessee, a 1921 East Tennessee State Normal School (ETSNS) graduate. The scrapbook includes photographs of friends, family, teachers, travels, and campus buildings. Many of the photographs are identified, including a photograph of an African-American woman labeled "Aunt Lizzie, the maid 1918-1920." There are several images of an outing to Cranberry, North Carolina. ETSNS...
Dates: 1919-1921, undated

C. Hodge Mathes Family Papers

Identifier: AppMs-0856
Scope and Contents This collection consists of documents, photographs, and sound recordings of, about, or created by the family of Charles Hodge Mathes. Most are from the 1920s – 1970s, though the earliest materials date back to the 1840s. Most of the content relates to Charles Hodge Mathes himself and concerns his writing/academic career and travel. There are also significant amounts of material relating to his daughter, Mildred Mathes Dalton, and his granddaughters, Betty and Diana Dalton. Other than the...
Dates: 1848-2017, undated

Pearl Templin Rankin Photograph Albums and Diploma

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AppMs-0836
Scope and Contents This collection consists of Rankin's photograph album which includes photographs taken while she attended East Tennessee State Normal School (ETSNS) and during her subsequent teaching career at Piedmont school. The photographs are of classmates, faculty, staff, students, and scenes of ETSNS and Johnson City. The album contains several unidentified and undated photographs of landscapes, buildings, and people though all appear to be from the same period. This collection also contains...
Dates: 1919-1924, undated