This story originally appeared in the Fall 2022 print edition of the Tennessee State Museum Quarterly Newsletter.
Ruth Goodson Lane Collection, mid-1900s
A collection of photographs, newspapers, sheet music, and uniforms related to the service of Ruth Goodson Lane was recently acquired by the Tennessee State Museum. Lane, a Nashville resident, studied nursing at Nashville General Hospital and trained as a World War II Cadet Nurse. The Cadet Nurse Corps, created in June 1943 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, was a federal program for the training of American nurses to help the wartime nursing shortage. Following the completion of her program and the end of the Cadet Nurse Corps, Lane worked as a nurse at Nashville General Hospital. This collection provides an in-depth view into the personal story of a Tennessee woman’s military service.
Uniform, coat, and photograph, Tennesse State Museum Collection (2022.18.13, 2022.18.11, 2022.18.4)
Goingback Chiltoskey Goose Carving, mid to late 20th century
The Museum recently acquired a wood carving of a goose made by renowned Cherokee artisan Goingback Chiltoskey. Also known as GB, Chiltoskey was a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and began woodcarving at an early age, learning from his father and brother. He attended Haskell Institute and the U.S. Indian School in Santa Fe, NM. His education in woodworking and other areas of craft continued throughout his life. Chiltoskey returned to the Qualla Boundary and became one of the founding members of the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc. This organization was designed to preserve Cherokee crafts and promote the artists who make them.
Goose wood carving, Tenessee State Museum Collection (2022.31.2), Photograph of Goingback Chiltoskey, courtesy of Museum of the Cherokee Indian Collection
William Edmondson Sculpture, 1930s to 1950
William Edmondson is one of Tennessee’s best-known craftspeople, internationally celebrated for his limestone carvings since becoming the first Black artist featured in a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1937. A previously unexhibited sculpture by Edmondson was donated to the Museum this summer from the Nashville family who originally purchased the work from Edmondson himself. Depicting a cat-like “critter” in a sphinx-like pose, this piece displays Edmondson’s unmistakable style in its charismatic personality. Joining six other Edmondson sculptures in the Museum’s collection, this generous donation will continue to enrich our understanding and appreciation of one of the state’s most significant artists.
William Edmondson Sculpture, Tennessee State Museum Collection (2022.34)
Saber, owned by Lt. Thomas Herron Drake, 12th Tennessee Infantry, C.S.A., 1861 to 1865
A Model 1860 Light Cavalry Saber carried by Lt. Thomas Herron Drake of the 12th Tennessee Infantry, C.S.A., during his service in the Civil War, has come into the collection. Drake was born December 17, 1835, in Carroll County, Tennessee. He graduated from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky in 1857, receiving a degree in teaching. When the Civil War began, Drake enlisted in Co. I, 12th Tennessee Infantry with the rank of third lieutenant in Jackson Co., Tennessee on May 1, 1861. He served with the regiment throughout the war, including during the battles of Shiloh, Stones River, Chickamauga and Chattanooga, the Atlanta Campaign, Franklin and Nashville. Following the war, Drake returned to Jackson, Tennessee, and became the principal at Madison College in Spring Creek, Tennessee. He died on May 25, 1916.
Lt. Thomas Herron Drake Saber, Tennessee State Museum Collection (2022.40)
Silver Cup, 1854
Mark Robertson Cockrill, born December 2, 1788, owned a large farm of 5,600 acres, called “Stock Place,” in the area where Nashville’s present-day Centennial Park is located. In 1851, Cockrill purchased a herd of Merino sheep for wool production. The quality of the product was so fine that he was awarded the first-place prize for wool quality at the 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition in London, England. In 1854, the Tennessee General Assembly awarded Cockrill a gold medal, also in the Museum collection, and this silver cup, stamped on the bottom, “Premium of the AGL&M SOC of D CO TENN 1854.” Cockrill was elected to the Tennessee Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1944.
Mark Robertson Cockrill Silver Cup, Tennessee State Museum Collection (2022.39)