Kingsport: The New Mystery Collection

Last time I mentioned I was working on a new collection that was a bit of a mystery. Here are a few images and interesting tidbits from this “new” collection.

Which brings me to the question, can something from 1922 really be new? “Previously unprocessed collection” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Before I get too into the S. A. Dorsett Papers (my temporary title) I just want to remind readers that you can subscribe to this blog by clicking on Subscribe above and you will receive an e-mail reminder when there is something new, you can click on the Twitter icon to the right and follow to receive updates, or you can click on the RSS icon (hey, did you hear Google Reader is being discontinued?).

This collection was brought to the archives last summer as a STACK of papers! The donor said he found them among his wife’s things and that was all the information he provided. Brianne sorted the papers into like piles and put them in acid-free folders. I am going through the folders and removing all of the metal enclosures, recording dates, and reading the papers for content and relevance to Kingsport’s history.

This was the number of nails I removed from just one stack of checks. Yes, my tetanus shot is up-to-date,

What can the financial papers of one private citizen reveal about the history of a town? Well, a lot really. His business ventures document the rise and fall of railroad commerce, interest in constructing the airport, and even recover memories of smaller local businesses that no longer exist. And as the Spoden Collection revealed an unusual barter system in 19th century Kingsport, Mr. Dorsett’s papers illustrate just how heavily business people relied on maintaining customers through the establishment of individual “accounts.” This practice of “I’ll just put that on your account” is not a part of today’s economy and Dorsett’s papers demonstrate why.

I look forward to finding out more about how the creator of the collection and Dorsett were connected and what his role was in Kingsport’s history. Until then, I thought you’d like to see just who the owner of phone number 72 was in 1927.

Dr. Appt

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