Kingsport: Spotlight on Nancy

While searching the Kingsport Archives collections recently for artifacts for an upcoming exhibit, I had reason to search KCMC 309; the Nancy Necessary Pridemore Collection. Everyday since, I have found an excuse to plunk myself onto the floor in front of that collection and look into just one more box and just a few more folders. Is it possible for a collection to be charming?

Nancy Pridemore applying make-up to an actor.

Nancy Pridemore applying make-up to an actor.

Nancy Jean Necessary was born 20 August 1919 in Clinchport, Virginia, to Henry and Georgia Butler Necessary. She came to Kingsport to teach English, speech, and drama at Dobyns-Bennett High School in 1946 and did so for 39 years. The Little Theater at Dobyns-Bennett is named for Nancy, today.

DBHS 1950 production of "Mother is a Freshman"

DBHS 1950 production of “Mother is a Freshman”


What I really want to do in this post is highlight the collection. One can find biographical information on Mrs. Pridemore numerous places online, so I am only including a little background about this marvelous educator whose work had an impact on so many students. According to Kingsport City directories, Nancy commuted from Virginia for her first few years at DB. In 1959 she married William Howard Pridemore. The couple originally made a house on Watauga Av their home but by 1984 they had taken up residence on Catawba St.

Nancy, herself, donated the collection to the archives in 1995. She passed away in April of 2003. The collection features one large box of trophies and awards and one of audio tapes. The contents of four regular-sized archival boxes contain programs, ticket stubs and miscellaneous items in one and scripts in the other three. Two other boxes contain rather delicate scrapbooks full of wonderful photographs of student productions, news clippings, and even some fan mail.

An example of one of the many scripts in the collection.

An example of one of the many scripts in the collection.

Most of the scripts  are filled with notes and directions written in Nancy’s own hand. What a treasure!

A scene from The Devil and Daniel Webster

A scene from The Devil and Daniel Webster

DWebsterInside2PrThis script from MacBeth lists the DB cast members’ names.

Jack Dickinson, Gary Kilgore, Jane Evans, Kathy DeNobrego, Joan Barnett, Bill Wray, Bill Knockel, Marilyn Wotton, ? Armstrong, Jenny Martin

Jack Dickinson, Gary Kilgore, Jane Evans, Kathy DeNobrego, Joan Barnett, Bill Wray, Bill Knockel, Marilyn Wotton, ? Armstrong, Jenny Martin

The pages of the scrapbooks were so delightful, I wanted to scan every page. Here is the cast photo from The Importance of Being Earnest. Look at that adorable vicar!

earnestPridemore

Cast in playbill order: Steve Moriarty, Dale Hickam, John Hubbard, Jane Wilson, Betsy Powers, Pearl Smawley, Anita Dyer, and Roger Evans.

Nancy’s students did very well in state speech and drama competitions.

Janice Gruber, contestantr in the National Forensic Tournament in Washington, Rep. James Quillen, and Nancy Pridemore

Janice Gruber, contestant in the National Forensic Tournament in Washington; Rep. James Quillen; and Nancy Pridemore

Lastly, here is my favorite photograph taken from the inside cover of one of the scrap books.

editedInsidecoverPridemore
Follow these links to learn more:
Obituary
Radford University Tribute
DBHS Hall of Fame

Feature image: A 1965 student production

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One Response to Kingsport: Spotlight on Nancy

  1. Kathleen Fueston says:

    I just read one of my professor’s blogs this weekend and it was a tribute to his favorite teacher, mentor and the person that influenced him in such a way that he changed trajectory of his life. Ultimately as mentioned, my professor pursued education and became a teacher. Your post is a beautiful tribute to one of those influential teachers – the kind of teacher I would have loved to be a student in their classroom and enjoy the adventure of learning. Gratefully, I can look back and find similar examples of teachers who made me a better person, stretched me, cared about me and have had life long influence on me. My professor ended his blog with the following quote by Henry B. Adams: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” So true! Thanks for the post Kari!

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