Calendar of Events

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Friday & Saturday, November 6-7, 2015


The Tennessee Great War Commission is planning a two-day event for its first annual commemoration of Tennesseans in the war. This year will focus on Tennesseans involved in the war before the U.S. intervention in 1917. Events include a rededication of World War I monuments at Percy Warner Park on November 6, a symposium day at the Nashville Public Library on November 7, and other events at the Tennessee State Museum, Tennessee State Library and Archives, and Bicentennial Mall.

Sunday, October 11, 2015 (9:00 - 4:30)


Memorial Concert at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Pigford Mansion on the Chevy Chase estate. The concert will be followed by a tour of the Pigford Mansion, now called Memorial Hall. Clarence E. Pigford, the editor of The Jackson Sun, bought the estate in 1912 . In 1951, his widow Sarah “Sally” Pigford, donated the house and a portion of the Chevy Chase estate to the church. After a new sanctuary, Memorial Carillon, Fellowship Hall, and Education Building were added to the site, the church moved to new location in 1953.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


The Great War Commission meeting at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Tennessee, 1:00 p,m. The meeting is open to the public. Interested persons are very welcome. FPC in Jackson features a Memorial Carillon dedicated to the men and women who served in World War I and World War II.



Symposium Program


Fall 2016 Great War Commemoration: Feeding, Clothing, Transporting, and Arming the Troops: The Home Front in Tennessee




ART EXHIBIT Germantown -- October 1 – November 15

Germantown Community Library, 1930 Germantown Road South, Germantown

World War I Propaganda Posters, 1917-1918 (Andy Pouncey collection)


HISTORICAL EXHIBIT Jackson – November 1 – 30

Jackson Madison County Public Library, 433 E Lafayette Street, Jackson

World War I Exhibit – Jackson and Madison County in the War



Union University, G.M. Memorial Chapel, 1050 Union University Drive, Jackson

7:15PM Dr. Sean Mc Meekin, "The War of 1914: An Avoidable Catastrophe"


DIGITIZATION PROJECT – Jackson – Thursday, November 3, 2:00 – 7:00 PM; and Friday, November 4

9:00-11:30 AM, at Jackson Madison County Public Library, 433 East Lafayette Street

TSLA will be recording local artifacts from World War I. For more information, check Over Here, Over There: Tennesseans in the First World War


Participation in Over Here, Over There: Tennesseans in the First World War is open to all individuals who are interested in preserving Tennessee's World War I history through the digitization of historic materials.





First Presbyterian Church, 1573 N. Highland Ave., Jackson


5:00 PM: Welcome - Dr. Michael Birdwell, Tennessee Great War Commission Chair

Invocation - Rev. John White, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church
Jackson City Mayor Jerry Gist

5:30 PM: "The Battle of the Somme" - Dennis Dudley, Bagpipe

5:35 PM: World War I in Madison County - Alice-Catherine Carls

5:45 PM: Carillon Concert - Kathleen Huneycutt, Carillonneur
Cody Blue Miller, Carillonneur

6:00 PM: Reception - Memorial Hall


WORLD WAR I SYMPOSIUM -- Jackson – Saturday, November 5


Casey Jones Railroad Museum -- 30 Casey Jones Lane, Jackson


8:30 AM: Registration/Welcome

9:00 AM: Welcome and Recognitions - Andy Pouncey

9:10 AM: “Herbert Hoover, the US Food" - Dr. George Nash Administration, and Dr. J. A. H. Morgan

10:15 AM: "Old Hickory Powder Plant in World War I" - Dr. Tara Mielnik

11:00 AM: Special Recognition of Dr. Charles W. Crawford - Sen. Ed Jackson, Dr. Nancy Parrish

11:20 AM: "Black Communities in Tennessee" - Professor Linda Wynn

12:00 PM:Lunch in the museum

12:15 PM: Period Trains Exhibit - Jimmy Bailey, Richard Gonzales, Andy Pouncey

1:00 PM: “The Trains of Tennessee in the Great War" - Richard Gonzales

1:30 PM: Exhibits and Reenactment - Tim Poole


Bemis Museum, 2 N. Missouri Street, Jackson


3:00 PM: Welcome - Joel Jackson

3:15 PM: “The Bemis Mill in the Great War” - Dr. Nancy Parrish

3:45 PM: Concluding Remarks - Dr. Michael Birdwell

4:00 PM: Visit of the town of Bemis, at leisure


LIVING HISTORY PERFORMANCE -- Dresden – Sunday, November 6


Courthouse, 1 Courthouse Square, Dresden


2:00 PM: Welcome - The Hon. Tommy Moore

2:15 PM: "Dresden's First Volunteer -- Lieutenant Herbert J. Jones"




March 3: History Fair, Knoxville, featuring Living History, literature about the TGWC, etc.


March 4-5: Memphis Mid-South Military History and Civil War Show at the Agri-center Showplace Arena, 105 South Germantown Road.


March 18, 2:00 p.m. E.S.T.: “Forgotten Heroes: Cherokee Code Talkers and the First World War,” presented by Pat Gang at the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, Vonore, Tennessee.


March 24-25: Annual black powder match at the Alvin C. York Historic Site.


“Rising Tide and Rising Fears: The Tennessee River Flood of 1917,” Michael E. Birdwell, Chattanooga Times-Free Press (March 26, 1917).

March -June

“Send Me Away With a Smile: Nashville and the Great War,” Metro Archives Exhibit featuring documents from their collection, and pertinent artifacts, TGWC Commissioner Ken Fieth, curator.


“Tennessee National Guard Medal of Honor Recipients in the Great War,” exhibit at Houston Barracks, 3401 Sidco Drive, Nashville, Major Darrin Haas, curator.


April 1: TGWC Commissioner Dr. Michael Birdwell will be speaking to the Chattanooga Area Historical Association at the Mountain City Club (Scott Seagle’s invitation) “Chattanooga and the First World War.”


April 1, 10:00-5:00: “World War I Comes to Belle Meade” at Belle Meade Plantation, hosted by Jesse Williams.


April 1, 6:00-8:00 p. m.: “Nerd Night: Remembering World War I,” Belle Meade Plantation, hosted by Jesse Williams.


April 6: Several events focusing on the 100th anniversary of Woodrow Wilson’s Declaration of War. Venues include the National Cemetery, Chattanooga; East Tennessee War Memorial, Knoxville; War Memorial Courtyard; Memphis Doughboy Statue; Belle Meade Plantation; Blount County War Dead Memorial, Maryville, Jackson, and the Alvin C. York Site. Keynote speakers include Dr. Vejas Liulevicius of UT’s Center for the Study of War and Society, and Robert Rennie.


April 6: Over There, Over Here, TSLA Digitization Project, Franklin, Williamson County Archives.


April 6: Newspapers across the state will reprint the war declaration


April 7 (Friday) 1:00-3:00 p.m.: First Friday Open House at McClung Museum on the UT Knoxville campus. The event is devoted to the First World War, and hosted in cooperation with the UTK Center for the Study of War and Society.


April 8: Overton Park, Memphis event hosted by commissioners Andy Pouncey, Dr. Alice-Catherine Carls, and Richard Gonzales concerning the reactions in West Tennessee to President Wilson’s war declaration and special guest Chester Berryhill who was appointed to the American Battle Monuments Commission by President George W. Bush.


April 14-15: Tennessee Military Collectors Association Spring Meeting at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs Conference Center, featuring the life of World War I Medal of Honor recipient Buck Karnes.


April 21: TGWC Commissioner Dr. Michael Birdwell, guest speaker at the DAR annual convention in Nashville, “A Fight from the Start: Tennesseans in World War I”


April 22: World War I Film Series begins in Chattanooga with the screening of Charlie Chaplin’s Shoulder Arms and Buster Keaton’s Doughboys.


April: (Date yet to be determined), Publication of a historic study of the World War I memorial fountain in Jackson.


April 28-29: Fentress County Historical Society History Fair. Events will take place at York Institute on the 28th and at York Elementary on the 29th and feature exhibits and presentations to commemorate the First World War. Dr. Michael Birdwell is the keynote speaker at 6:00 p.m. at York Institute, “Alvin York: America’s Reluctant Hero.”


Living History programs throughout the year working in conjunction with Tennessee State Parks. (e.g. Hobart Akin portrays Chattanoogan Ellsworth Brown.)

April - June, Erlanger Hospital; September -November, Bessie Smith Center

“African American Doctors in WWI with a Tennessee connection,”panel discussion at the opening with Doug Fisher and Joann Buckley, etc. Of the 104 African American doctors who served in WWI, over half were from Tennessee or went to medical school in the Volunteer State. This exhibit will travel across the state through 2019.


“The Other Five: Forgotten Tennesseans who Earned the Medal of Honor (MOH),” Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Center, Charles Googe and James J.W. Scott, curators. This is a new exhibit that will travel after its designated time in Chattanooga through November.


May 18-20: Tennessee Preservation Trust Annual Conference in Jackson. “Preservation in Crisis,” featuring sessions on World War I and Tennessee’s commemoration of the Great War and preserving its history in the Volunteer State.


Date to be determined, Over There, Over Here, TSLA Digitization Project, Johnson City Public Library.


June 5: One hundred years ago the first draft went into effect, for all men between the ages of 21 and 31 required to register. Newspapers across the state should reprint period articles of the reactions across the state.


June 10-11: “Camp Greenleaf” exhibit at Fort Oglethorpe, Louis Varnell, curator.


Teachers’ Workshop, “World War I and Tennessee: From the Homefront to the Battlefield and Back,” led by Lisa Oakley, East Tennessee Historical Society, Kelly Wilkerson, Tennessee State Library and Archives, and Dr. Michael Birdwell. Venue to be determined, possibly Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga. The 3-5 day workshop will be open to teachers across the state, and capped at 25 participants.


August 18, 4:00-7:00: “On the Homefront: Life in Nashville During World War I,” a kid-friendly event at Belle Meade Plantation, hosted by Jesse Williams.


August 19: East Tennessee History Fair, Knoxville. It will include living history, presentations, media, etc.


Printable Fall 2017 Event Calendar


September 15 -17: Living History event at the Alvin C. York Historic Park, Pall Mall.


September 17: “World War I Centennial Event: Over There,” War Memorial Building, Dickson, Tennessee, featuring Amelie de Gaulle, Lt. General Keith Huber, Jerry V. Smith, Esq., and Dr. Michael E. Birdwell, Tennessee Great War Commission.


September 7 - November 30: In the Footsteps of Sergeant York Exhibit, 6th Cavalry Museum, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.


September 23: Middle Tennessee Engine and Tractor Association Meeting in conjunction with TTU Agriculture Department’s Fall FunFest in Cookeville, Hyder Burks Facility, TTU, featuring Alvin C. York’s restored tractor and representatives of the Tennessee Great War Commission.


October 6 - March 1: World War I and the Great Migration, exhibit at Fisk University’s Carl Van Vechten Gallery; It features works by Romare Bearden, Malvin Gray Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, William Edouard Scott, Albert E. Smith, and Henry Ossawa Tanner, curated by Nikoo Paydar.


October 6 - November 30: Fisk University and the Student Army Training Corps, World War I, 1917-1918, exhibit at Fisk University’s Special Collections on the 2nd floor of the John Hope and Aurelia E. Franklin Library, curated by Nikoo Paydar.


October 6 - January 21: “World War I and American Art,” Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, a limited exhibit appearing only in Philadelphia, New York and Nashville, featuring John Singer Sargent’s epic canvas “Gassed.”


October 6: “Mr. Sargent Goes to War,” presented by Richard Ormand, CBE, Frist Center for the Visual Arts Auditorium, 6:30pm.


October 9: “Behold the Mask: World War I, Plastic Surgery and the Modern Beauty Revolution,” presented by David M. Lubin, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Fine Art, Wake Forest University, Vanderbilt University, Cohen Memorial Hall, Room 323 (1220 21st Ave. South), Nashville.


October - November: Special Exhibit, “WWI Trench Art,” Vanderbilt Fine Art Gallery, Nashville, curated by Margaret Walker and featuring the collection of Dr. David McCoy


Month of October: Tennessee and the Great War exhibit, Tennessee State Library and Archives, in Nashville.


October 8: 99th anniversary of Alvin C. York’s battle near Chatel-Chehery that resulted in his Medal of Honor, Alvin C. York State Historic Park, Pall Mall. 1-2pm, “Alvin York’s Battle Map and The Fight in the Argonne,” and 2-3pm “The Face of the Enemy: A Tour of the Trenches.”


October 20 - 21: “The Music of World War I,” concert narrated by Michael Lasser, with performances by Cindy Miller and Alan Jones, 6:30 p.m., Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville.


October 26: WORLD WAR I REMEMBERED: The work of UTK's Center for the Study of War and Society presented by Dr. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, 7:00pm, The University of Tennessee at Martin -- Phillip Watkins Auditorium

View the livestream of this event.


October 29: Campground Cemetery, Martha Washington, Tennessee, 2:00 p.m., 100th Anniversary of George N. Ashburn’s wounds suffered near Luneville, France. On that date, 100 years ago, Ashburn fell from wounds suffered to his head, making him the first American soldier wounded in the First World War.


November 1-2: “Over There and Over Here: Digitization of World War I artifacts, Chattanooga Bicentennial Library; Wednesday, 2 - 6:30 p.m., Thursday: 9am-12pm.


November 1: “Tennessee’s African American Medical Corps,” presented by Linda Wynn, Erlanger Hospital Public Conference Room, 10:30am - 1pm.


November 1: World War I Poetry Readings, sponsored by the John Ross Chapter of the DAR, Chattanooga Downtown Public Library Conference Room, 6:00-8:00, p.m.


November 2: James McGrath Morris, “An End to the Age of Innocence: How the Great War Forever Changed American Literature,” an evening with James McGrath Morris, author of The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and Friendship Made and Lost in War, 6:30 p.m. UTC Signal Mountain Room.


November 2: World War I Remembered: of Mules, Horses, and War in Tennessee presented by Dr. Alice-Catherine Carls, 12pm, Jackson Madison County Public Library – 433 E. Lafayette Street, Jackson, TN 38301


November 2-3: Display of French and American World War I Posters open for Browsing from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. George Connor Special Collections Reading Room (4th Floor, Room 439) UTC Library, 600 Douglas Street, Chattanooga.


November 3: Teachers Workshop at GPS.


November 3: Living History, GPS.


November 3: A Question-and-Answer Session with Ernest Hemingway Biographer James McGrath Morris, Speaking on A Farewell to Arms, 11-11:50 a.m., Southern Writers Room (4th Floor) UTC Library, 600 Douglas Street Chattanooga.


November 3: (TBD) Historic Walking Tour of Chattanooga and the Great War, Maury Nicely.


November 4: Living History, GPS, Chattanooga


November 4: World War I Symposium, GPS, Chattanooga, 9am to 4pm. Featuring presentations by Pat Gang, Will Thomas, Michael Birdwell and others.


November 4: A Symposium on Graduate Student Research on the Great War, East Tennessee Historical Society Auditorium, Knoxville, for additional information contact Robert Rennie, coordinator of the event,


November 5: Living History and World War I commemoration at the Williamson County Archives, Franklin, Tennessee, 1- 4pm.


November 10-12: Sergeant Alvin C. York Historic Park, Pall Mall, Tennessee. Living history, period music,vintage planes and vehicles, screening of Sergeant York and guest speakers


November 13: Free public screening of Valor: The Story of Kiffin Yates Rockwell and the Lafayette Escadrille, a film by Dr. Marc McClure, 7:00 p.m. E.S.T., Blount County Public Library, 508 North Cusick St., Maryville, Tennessee. For additional information contact Jackie Glenn, Tennessee Great War Commission, (865) 380-4295, or


The rededication of the African-American cemetery in the park is scheduled on Wednesday, November 29th at 11am to celebrate the park’s 80th Anniversary. Visitors will be able to view the park’s Smithsonian Waterways exhibit that shows the clearing of the cemetery and the resetting of some graves, two of which belong to veterans from WWI. For more information contact Bob Holliday I Park Manager,


December 8: Screening of Sergeant York, Frist Center for the Visual Arts Auditorium, 6:30-9:00 p.m., with commentary by Dr. Michael Birdwell and Deborah York.



World War I Memorial Fountain in Jackson, TN

Dr. Alice-Catherine Carls has received a $ 2,000.00 matching grant toward the restoration of the World War I Memorial Fountain in Jackson, Tennessee, as one of the first 50 recipients of such grants. The grant is part of a program entitled “100 Cities, 100 Memorials” that was initiated by the Pritzker Military Museum and Library with the United States World War I Centennial Commission. The World War I Memorial Fountain will be designated as an official World War I Memorial. The dedication of the restored fountain is scheduled for the 2018 Veterans Day weekend. A podcast about this project is available at: go directly to Minute 40:25




February 2018: “Winter in the Trenches,” Living history event at the Alvin C. York Site. Exact dates yet to be determined.


March 2018: American Legion Exhibit commemorating its 1st Caucus (March15,1919) Paris, France. Organized by Theodore Roosevelt Jr., and Luke Lea, several Tennesseans were in attendance including General Lawrence Tyson, Colonel Cary Spence, Colonel Harry Berry, Sergeant York, etc. Sergeant York Memorial Black Powder Shoot, both events at the Alvin C. York Historic Site.


April 2018: World War I Film Festival in the Barn at the Alvin C. York Historic site and a new exhibit featuring the George Patullo’s Saturday Evening Post article that launched York’s fame “The Second Elder Gives Battle.”


Living history at the Bicentennial Mall with the Ebony Doughboys.


Concurrent exhibit at Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet School re. African Americans in World War I.


May 2018: Re-dedication of the Wolf River Bridge, to be christened the World War I Centennial Bridge; kick off Poppy Program with World War I period music in the barn at the Alvin C. York Historic Site.


May 20-31: "Remembering the Western Front 1914-1918 – A travel study to England, Belgium, and France." UTMartin (Drs. Alice-Catherine Carls and Ricky Garlitz) and Union University (Dr. Stephen D. Carls) are organizing a Travel Study experience. Academic preparation during the spring semester will climax with a 13-day trip to England, Belgium, and France that will include visits to the main battle and memorial sites of the Great War. Costs, Itenerary, and General Information


June 7: Special hike to Wedding Rock on the anniversary of Alvin C. York and Gracie Williams wedding.


June 12: Special exhibit on the anniversary of Sister Cities Pall Mall, Tennessee and Chatel-Chehery, France.


July 4: Independence Day celebration and “Sergeant Alvin York: World War I Hero,” one-man play starring Randy Springer, written by Lisa Soland.


August 2018: Tennessee Day for all World War I Veterans in conjunction with a newTennessee Home Front Exhibit.


September 2018: Ceremony laying new wreaths upon the graves of Sergeant Alvin C. York (December 13, 1887 - September 2 1964) and Gracie Williams York (February 7, 1900 – September 27, 1984).


October 8, 2018: 100th anniversary of Sergeant Alvin C. York’s action in the Meuse Argonne near Chatel-Chehery, France.


November 1-3: World War I symposium, exhibits and period music at Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville.


November 9-11, 2018: 100th anniversary of the Armistice, International Veterans Day Ceremony and three-day Living History Commemoration with WWI Trenches and re-enactments at Sergeant York’s Home in Pall Mall

WWI Places of Interest in West Tennessee

Research - Hanna Baker, UTM Student

Graphics Prepared by Ann Funkhouser