Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


November 28, 2011

State Library and Archives hosting pair of Civil War lectures Dec. 10

CROSSVILLE — The Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) will host two free lectures Dec. 10, one by a Fulbright scholar from Canada who has spent months digging in the archives in Nashville and the other by a local couple who recently co-authored a book.

The first lecture will be conducted by Traci Nichols-Belt and Gordon Belt, authors of the book, “Onward Southern Soldiers: Religion and the Army of Tennessee in the Civil War.” They will discuss the role of religion in sustaining and unifying troops. The event will be held in the TSLA auditorium from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. The authors will use primary source material such as diaries, letters, journals and sermons from members of the Army of Tennessee to illustrate how important religious practices were in the lives of enlisted men.

Traci Nichols-Belt is an ordained and licensed minister and holds a master’s degree in history from Middle Tennessee State University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Anderson University. Gordon T. Belt is an information professional specializing in local archives, historical research, government and public policy. He currently works as the library manager for the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.

The second lecture will take place in the TSLA auditorium from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. The speaker will be Dr. Nelson Ouellet, an associate professor at the University of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada and a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Ouellet, a social historian, will discuss his study of the lives of Freedmen, former slaves, and the records of the Freedmens’ Bureau. Dr. Oulette’s research goal is to bring light to experiences of these citizens who left no diaries, correspondence or memoirs and to demonstrate that important new stories are buried deep in historical records. These records can provide fresh and valuable insights that add context to the lives of Tennesseans from the Reconstruction era.

The State Library and Archives building is located at 403 Seventh Avenue North, just west of the State Capitol in downtown Nashville. Parking is available around the building.

Because seating in the auditorium is limited, those wishing to attend these workshops must contact TSLA to make reservations. Reservations can be made via e-mail at or via telephone by calling (615)741-2764. There is no registration fee

The TSLA is a division of the Office of the Secretary of State. TSLA is the state’s primary repository of books and records of historical, documentary and reference value. Those resources are available at the State Library and Archives building or online at

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