Custom House Chronicles

Stories, historical tidbits, and musings from the East Tennessee History Center staff.
 Cherokee intermarried white, 1906

New to the collection is the series Cherokee intermarried white, 1906. These records were transcribed by Jeff Bowen from the National Archive film M-1301, Rolls 305-307 and include 288 intermarriage claims between Cherokees and non-Cherokees. These are official records that contain detailed genealogical information that may not be otherwise available. Application information in the form of sworn testimony can include ages, dates of birth, Cherokee names, dates of death, childrens' and parents' names and residence.

Barbara Adair McClung, wife of Calvin M. McClung, donated her husband's collection of history and genealogy books to the library after his death in 1919. That collection is the foundation of the current McClung Historical Collection. So, who was Calvin McClung?

Progressive Knoxville 1903

New to the McClung Digital Collection is the pamphlet, Progressive Knoxville, 1903. This fascinating pamphlet, subtitled "The Metropolis of East Tennessee:  A pictorial review of the city showing photographic reproductions of the streets, parks, residences, public buildings, schools, churches and industries," includes a short overview of Knoxville and almost 60 pages of pictures.

Ace news reporter and long-time WBIR-TV personality Jay Beeler managed to capture the 1963 Riviera Theater fire on Gay Street in Knoxville with his trusty 8mm home movie camera as it happened. The late Mr. Beeler filmed several historic news events over the years, and his amazing film collection has just been preserved by the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound, thanks to his daughter Kristi Beeler. The classic film Jason and the Argonauts, then a first-run feature, was playing at the Riviera at the time of the fire.


Sam Orleans

Remembering Knoxville Filmmaker Sam Orleans on the 50th anniversary of his death, July 9th, 1964.

This film clip features the Singing Randolph Family, popular performers on local radio stations WNOX and WROL during the 1940s.  Local filmmaker Sam Orleans captured them in his motion picture studio, located on West Cumberland Avenue in Knoxville. This 16mm print was used to introduce the family band before rural gigs in small movie houses across the south and is one of few surviving productions of the prolific and talented Sam Orleans. 


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