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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 6 Collections and/or Records:

Elma Lillian Rankin Beeson Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AppMs-165
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

Burr Harrison Photographs

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AppMs-64
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-513
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

Bethany Mackey Scrapbook

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: AppMs-865
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 are identified, including a photograph of an African-American woman labeled only "Aunt Lizzie, the maid." There are several images of an outing to Cranberry, North Carolina. ETSNS president Sidney Gilbreath and...
Dates: 1919-1921, undated

C. Hodge Mathes Family Papers

Identifier: AppMs-856
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-836

The pages of the first album were removed from the album cover and placed in original page order in folders. Loose photographs are grouped together in one folder. The second album was in good condition and remains intact.

Dates: 1919-1924, undated