The East Tennessee History Center, in downtown Knoxville, is a treasure trove for history buffs. It includes one of the premier research libraries in the region, the Calvin M. McClung Collection, with one of the South’s largest collections of genealogical information. While in Knoxville, visit the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, a repository of African-American history and research.
Elsewhere in East Tennessee, you will want to see the Hughes Free Public Library in Rugby, with its 7,000-plus volumes of Victorian books, and the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Harrogate, repository of a top collection of Lincoln and Civil War artifacts. President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library in Greeneville is another historic treasure.
In Middle Tennessee, stop by the main Nashville Public Library, which includes the Civil Rights Reading Room and the Nashville Banner Archives. And don’t forget the granddaddy of them all, the Tennessee State Library and Archives, with historical information and services for genealogical and other research. Another site of interest is the T.S. Stribling Museum and Library in Clifton, once the home of the Southern literary maverick and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist.
In West Tennessee, visit the fabulous Cossitt Branch Library on the riverfront. The Lane College Historic District includes the J.K. Daniels Library, with its excellent collection of African-American historical documents.