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The Gilded Age spans the years 1870 to 1900. The term for these years is taken from a satirical novel by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner titled, The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today. Published in 1873, the novel depicts a post-Civil War America as an age of corruption populated by robber barons, corrupt politicians, and dishonest bankers.
This era also sees the rise of a middle class, many of whom sought to improve their own lives and those of their children through education. Explore the resources below for primary and secondary sources on this era. Additional resources can be found through the library catalog, the Collections Guides database, and by working with one of your course librarians.
Scope and Content
This collection contains contains photographs, negatives, clippings, and correspondence from Charles Garr, a Vanderbilt student and football player in the early 1900s.
1880 - 1923
Scope and Contents
This collection contains materials related to Florence Teague, and her family. It contains the original 1883 handwritten essay by Mary Summers Conwell, her school certificates, and a newspaper clipping regarding her prize. Florence Teague wrote the family biography.
1883 - 1968
Scope and Content Note
The Papers of James Hampton Kirkland, the second chancellor of Vanderbilt University, are composed of eighteen cubic feet of material that represent Kirkland’s life, particularly his tenure at Vanderbilt (Professor of Latin, 1886 - 1893, Chancellor, 1893 - 1937, Chancellor Emeritus 1937 - 1939).
1859 - 1939
Scope and Contents
The Landon Cabell Garland Papers (1830-1993) includes correspondence, diaries, speeches, sermons, a report to the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust, and personal and biographical materials. These are personal papers of Chancellor Garland and are not to be confused with his university papers. This collection is a small snapshot of Chancellor Garland's personal life, with the family correspondence providing the main interest.
1830 - 1958
Scope and Content
This small collection consists of 0.63 linear feet of materials relating to the founding of the Vanderbilt Aid Society, or the Ladies Aid Society for the Students of Vanderbilt University as it was called at the beginning. The collection contains correspondence, brief historical notes about the Society by various people connected with it, and the records that have been kept concerning the Treasurers’ reports and the loan fund reports, as well as the minutes from the meetings, 1894 - 1950.
1894 - 1950
The planned institution called in these documents Central University was organized later in 1873 as Vanderbilt University.
Includes a historical sketch of the work so far toward the establishment of Central (i.e. Vanderbilt) University), "taken from the Address issued by the Board, at its meeting in Iuka, Miss., August, 1872"; the text of the Charter of the Central University, certified Aug. 19, 1872; proceedings of a meeting of the Board of Trust, held Jan. 16, 1873; and an Address of the Board, dated Jan. 17, 1873.
Since its founding, Nashville has been a center of black urban culture in the Upper South. Blacks--slave and free--made up 20 percent of Fort Nashborough's settlers in 1779. From these early years through the Civil War, a growing black community in Nashville, led by a small group of black elites, quietly built the foundations of a future society, developing schools, churches, and businesses. The Civil War brought new freedoms and challenges as the black population of Nashville increased and as black elites found themselves able--even obliged--to act more openly. To establish a more stable and prosperous African-American community, the elites found that they had to work within a system bound to the interests of whites. But the aims of this elite did not always coincide with those of the black community at large. By 1930, younger blacks, in particular, were moving towards protest and confrontation. As democratization and higher education spread, the lines distinguishing Nashville's black elite became blurred.
Between 1870 and 1900, the United States' population doubled, accompanied by an unparalleled industrial expansion, and an explosion of wealth unlike any the world had ever seen. The Old Money titans found themselves besieged by a vanguard of New Money interlopers eager to gain entrée into their world of formal balls, debutante parties, opera boxes, sailing regattas, and summer gatherings at Newport. Into this morass of money and desire stepped Caroline Astor. Mrs. Astor, an Old Money heiress of the first order, became convinced that she was uniquely qualified to uphold the manners and mores of Gilded Age America. Wherever she went, Mrs. Astor made her judgments, dictating proper behavior and demeanor, men's and women's codes of dress, acceptable patterns of speech and movements of the body, and what and when to eat and drink. The ladies and gentlemen of high society took note. Cecelia Tichi paints a portrait of New York's social elite, from the schools to which they sent their children, to their lavish mansions and even their reactions to the political and personal scandals of the day.
A pictorial survey of the Vanderbilt campus from 1873 up to 1978. There are 25 brief essays on aspects of the campus, an alphabetical list and identification of persons for whom buildings are named, and a chronological list of buildings with their principal architects.
In an extensive study of records from the period, William Preston Vaughn traces the development -- the successes as well as the failures -- of the early attempts of the states to promote education for African Americans and in some instances to establish integration. While public schools in the South were not an innovation of Reconstruction, their revitalization and provision to both races were among the most important achievements of the period, despite the pressure from whites in most areas which forced the establishment of segregated education.
In the 1890s Nashville, Tennessee had already developed into a bustling center of trade and industry. NASHVILLE IN THE 1890s is a memento of that era. An outgrowth of the Vanderbilt Oral History project, established in 1950, this book tells the events large and small--the cataclysms and commonplaces--that distinguished life in the nineties. From mumblety-peg to the Centennial, from a "storebought" jacket to the Panic of 1893, from filling coal boxes to the Spanish-American War, this book recreates the aura of Nashville's elegant era.
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