Who wants yesterday’s papers?

I do. As a journalist working through an era that may see the end of the newspaper as we once knew it, I find myself even more intensely interested in old newspapers. It’s an enthusiasm I have had since childhood, when I was scrounging in my grandfather’s attic and found a Nashville Banner extra with the headline, in type four inches high: “FDR DIES.” I have spent many happy afternoons browsing microfilm of old Nashville papers at the library, and I own a couple of dozen bound volumes of local papers dating from 1884 to the 1930s.

I’m creating this site as a single access point for the many copies, scans and transcriptions of old Nashville news that I have put online in the course of historical reporting for NashvillePost.com and the Nashville Scene, as well as lots of other images derived from my garage-full of bound volumes, from microfilm I have copied while doing research and from other sources.

I make no promises about what this blog will accomplish, but all who share my love of local history are welcome to peruse it. I hope it will prove interesting and useful to fellow researchers.


About Tom

I'm an old news man, any way you look at me. Not as old in years as some local journos I much admire, but committed to bringing old news from Nashville's deeper past back to life.
This entry was posted in Nashville history - general and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Who wants yesterday’s papers?

  1. Jan Bertram says:

    I have several old newspapers that my Dad (died at 87 in 2004) collected over time. They, unfortunately, are from the Detroit Windsor area. I was pleased that you found old newspapers interesting and important to keep. I hope I can find someone in the Detroit Windsor area that feels the same. Maybe you network with other persons with this interest. Good luck with your passion. Jan

  2. Jean Roseman says:

    I have a bound volume of Tennesseeans for January 1935 that I would like to sell.

  3. Hello Tom:
    I enjoy reading your posts about the old news, as told by the old generation of great Nashville journalists. My grandfather, T.H. Alexander, wrote for The Nashville Tennessean during this fascinating era of news. He started as a “cub” with the paper, right out of Vanderbilt University, back in 1913. He was what they called the publicity point man for former Tennessee Governor Austin Peay throughout all his terms in office (Peay died while serving in office, in fact). In modern terminology, he would have been called a press secretary to the governor. Granddaddy began syndicating a column called “I Reckon So” in 1927 & it was carried by papers across the south up until his early death, at age 49, in 1941.
    Some of the most interesting artifacts that I have from his early days as a journalist include: several unfinished manuscripts; some old photos and correspondence; and my favorite: his Press Pass to get into the Scopes Monkey Trial at Dayton, Tennessee in the summer of 1925. By the way, sparks flew when he read the trash being sent out of Dayton by the famous H.L. Mencken, who was there covering the trial for the Baltimore Evening Sun. Their relationship was only mended, finally, when they met up again in 1928 on the Dixie Flyer passenger train, covering the presidential campaign of Al Smith.
    Sorry for rambling….but please keep up the good work!!
    Hudson Alexander
    Franklin, Tennessee

    • Tom says:


      Thanks for your note with its great anecdotes. I have lots of bound volumes of Tennesseans from the 1920s, so I’ll watch for his name.

      One of those volumes includes Scopes trial coverage. I hope to scan and post pages from there one of these days. The ads were full of bad puns about evolution! I’d love to have a scan of the press pass to include in that posting.

      All best,

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