Presented in Partnership with Humanities Tennessee, Chapter 16 and Vanderbilt University Press
2023 Spring Season
Look for Summer and Fall Season Announcements Soon
Readings and discussions take place in the Digital Learning Center at the Tennessee State Museum. All events include an opportunity to purchase books through the Museum store and get them signed by the author.
Saturday, March 11, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Mary Ellen Pethel, Ph.D.: Title IX, Pat Summitt, and Tennessee’s Trailblazers: 50 Years, 50 Stories (University of Tennessee Press)
In Title IX, Pat Summitt, and Tennessee’s Trailblazers, Mary Ellen Pethel introduces readers to past and present pioneers—each instrumental to the success of women’s athletics across the state of Tennessee and the nation.
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Mary Ellen Pethel, Ph.D. is from Rome, GA and earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She later completed a master's in education from Berry College and a PhD in history at Georgia State University. She teaches in the honors program at Belmont and leads a new program called Global Leadership Studies. In 2018, Pethel finished a post-graduate certificate in Digital Humanities from George Mason University, which led to the launch of NashvilleSites.org. Sponsored by the Metro Historical Commission Foundation, Nashville Sites offers 30+ free and accessible walking and driving tours of Nashville, which can be taken in-person or virtually. Pethel's academic research focuses on women's history, urban studies, and cultural history—including her current writing project on the life of Minnie Pearl. She's written five books including Athens of the New South: College Life and Making Modern Nashville.
Saturday, April 8, 2023 - 11:00 - 12:30 p.m.
Yasmine S. Ali, M.D.: Walk Through Fire: The Train Disaster That Changed America (Kensington Books)
A gripping and meticulously crafted work of narrative nonfiction, Walk Through Fire: The Train Disaster That Changed America (on-sale February 21, 2023) reconstructs the events of a horrific explosion in 1978 that can still be felt today. The explosion of a tank car full of liquid propane devastated the small town of Waverly, Tennessee, shocked the nation, and led to the creation of transformational laws and regulations which have since been adopted by countries around the world as a template for disaster management. This horrendous conflagration – the result of multiple errors, missteps, miscommunications, and poor regulations – prompted the immediate overhauling of the US railroad industry from top to bottom; resulted in the implementation of new standards for hazmat handling, containment, and training; and served as a new model for firefighter and first-responder training across the globe.
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Yasmine S. Ali, M.D., is a cardiologist and former president of the Vanderbilt History of Medicine Society. She graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University’s College of Arts and Science with a BA in molecular biology and history, and graduated with multiple honors from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Ali grew up in Waverly, Tennessee, and still lives nearby. She personally knows the survivors of the Waverly Train Disaster.
Saturday, May 13, 2023, 10:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
Elizabeth Elkins: We Should Soon Become Respectable: Nashville's Own Timothy Demonbreun (Vanderbilt University Press) and R. Scott Williams: The Accidental Fame & Lack of Fortune of West Tennessee's David Crockett
Join us as we explore biographies — each with a unique approach — of two legendary Tennessee figures, David Crockett and Timothy Demonbreun. In We Should Soon Become Respectable: Nashville's Own Timothy Demonbreun, Author Elizabeth Elkins sorts through the legends and nails down the facts in order to present the true story of "Nashville's First Citizen." In The Accidental Fame and Lack of Fortune of West Tennessee’s David Crockett, Scott Williams uncovers what propelled Crockett’s fascinating journey, while also examining the birth of Tennessee during one of the most fascinating periods in American history.
Chapter 16 Review of We Should Soon Become Respectable: Nashville's Own Timothy Demonbreun.
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Elizabeth Elkins is a professional songwriter and writer. She is the author of We Should Soon Become Respectable, a Vanderbilt University Press history of Nashville’s Timothy Demonbreun as well as a co-author of the best-selling Hidden History of Music Row. She has served as President of Historic Nashville, Inc. and on the Board of Governors of the National Academy for Recording Arts and Sciences (the Grammys). As a songwriter, she has written several Billboard country hits and her songs have appeared on more than 50 television programs. She is half of Granville Automatic, a band praised by USA Today, The New York Times, Rolling Stone Country, American Songwriter and The Bitter Southerner – and who received the prestigious Seaside Institute (Fla.) writing residency. A military brat, she has a Master’s in Journalism from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor’s in English and History from Emory University. She has written for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Art & Antiques and many others. In previous lives, she was a Marketing Director, magazine editor and punk rock front person.
Scott Williams is the president and CEO of Discovery Park of America, a 100,000-square-foot museum and 50-acre heritage park, in Union City, Tenn. Previously, he served as president and COO of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. and vice president of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. in Memphis. He currently serves on the Tennessee Tourism Committee of the Department of Tourist Development for the State of Tennessee, the boards of the Obion County Chamber of Commerce and Hospitality Tennessee, the advisory board of the UT Martin College of Business and Global Affairs and the Northwest Tennessee Arts Center Advisory Board. His third book, “The Accidental Fame and Lack of Fortune of West Tennessee’s David Crockett,” was published in 2021. Williams is also the author of “An Odd Book, How the First Modern Pop Culture Reporter Conquered New York" and "The Forgotten Adventures of Richard Halliburton: A High-Flying Life from Tennessee to Timbuktu."
Saturday, June 11, 2022 - Leigh Ann Gardner, To Care for the Sick and Bury the Dead (Vanderbilt University Press) in conversation with Natalie Bell.
Thursday, June 30, 2022 - Marissa R. Moss, Her Country (Henry Holt) in conversation with Jewly Hight, WNXP editorial director and NPR music reporter. Watch Video.
Saturday, July 9, 2022 - Rachel Louise Martin, Hot, Hot Chicken (Vanderbilt University Press) in Conversation with Khalil Ekulona, host of This is Nashville on WPLN. Watch Video.
Saturday, August 13, 2022 - Learotha Williams, Ph.D., I’ll Take You There (Vanderbilt University Press) in Conversation with Steve Haruch. Watch Video.
Saturday, September 10, 2022 - Jeff Zentner, In the Wild Light (Crown/Random House) in Conversation with Stephanie Koehler. Watch Video.
Saturday, October 15, 2022 - Southern Festival of Books, Nashville Public Library Commons Room - Tara Stringfellow, Memphis (Penguin Random House) in conversation with Kashif Andrew Graham.