Panel Discussion on the James Robertson Papers on April 23

Detail of Letter – William Blount to James Robertson, 1793 April 14. Box 1, Folder 8. James Robertson Papers, MSS.0366. Vanderbilt University Special Collections

The James Robertson Papers 

April 23, 2021, Noon-1pm

Please join us for this panel discussion on newly-available collections from the libraries.

Vanderbilt’s Special Collections is home to the James Robertson Papers, composed of original letters and documents belonging to the early settler. The papers date from between 1784-1814 and were given by Robertson’s son Dr. Felix Robertson to the University of Nashville. In 1779, James Robertson and a small group of frontiersmen travelled across the Cumberland Mountains to French Lick. The group connected with the Donelson party and established Fort Nashborough. Over the years, the settlers were exposed to numerous raids by the Chickamaugas. The Robertson Papers contain accounts of their interactions with Native Americans and efforts to establish a local government.

In 2021, Vanderbilt’s libraries digitized and transcribed the collection, making the materials available to the public through JSTOR Community Collections. Please join us for this discussion about the legacy of James Robertson and the role the papers play in suggesting new perspectives for Nashville’s early history. Dr. Brandon A. Owens, Sr., Director of Library Services and Adjunct Lecturer, John Hope and Aurelia E. Franklin Library and School of Humanities and Behavioral Social Sciences, Fisk University, will moderate a panel including Mary McSparran, a student in the School of Information & Library Science at Indiana University, Bloomington, who transcribed the papers,  Zach Johnson, Curator of Special Collections, State Historian and Director of the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University Dr. Carroll Van West and  Daniel H. Usner, Jr., Holland N. McTyeire Professor of History at Vanderbilt University.


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