It’s been a long year to be sure, and I for one am ready for 2012 to be in the books and lost in the “discard” stacks.
Many apologies for the lack of blog posts over the past several months. When things go wrong in one’s personal life, many interests tend to fall by the wayside, and this blog was no exception. (In fact, I had started a modest blog on baseball card collecting on Jan. 31–another one of my passions–that was also a casualty in the wayside department.) It’s been a trying year both personally and professionally. The company which I worked for folded early on, leaving me among the millions of other Americans seeking employment. Job opportunities in my fields of experience and interest have been few.
In the meantime, I started a small publishing business called BrayBree Publishing. In addition to reprinting my previous titles, I also published a well-researched book of local interest on the robbery of the Union Bank of Tennessee in Jackson and the murder of its clerk in 1859. It’s very much a niche company specializing in books on Tennessee history, so sales have been meager thus far.
Once I added some new material to a previously published biography of Adam Huntsman and republished it this fall, I found myself looking for a new writing project. I have a few different subjects in mind, but I haven’t fully committed to one yet.
I intend to write more posts about my writing projects, interests, and random musings as 2012 closes. There will be a few speaking engagements this winter and spring which I’ll announce in the coming weeks. Thank you to everyone who has supported my books over the past year!
Originally posted on March 29, 2011
One of Tennessee’s underappreciated treasures is the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville. I’ve enjoyed spending many Saturdays looking at microfilm or pouring through books for various projects over the years. When I was a college student living in Jackson, it was a big deal for me to make a trip to the Archives. One of the reasons I love living in Middle Tennessee is being only an hour’s drive from it. (My wife kids me about spending so much time there on Saturdays!) Over the past 20 years, this repository has held the secrets of my family history and subjects of books I’ve written. I couldn’t have written them without it.
I love having access to so much of our state’s history, but if proposed 2011-2012 state budget cuts are as deep as they appear to be, public access would be greatly limited. This past weekend, Mark Cheatham raised the alarm that TSLA’s public access could be reduced from 60 hours to 37.5, eliminating seven full-time positions. Gordon Belt at The Posterity Project confirmed the building would be closed on Mondays and hours would be reduced Tuesday-Saturday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. effective July 1, 2011. (The Archives is normally open until 6 p.m.)
Times are tough and money is short in state government, and I applaud Gov. Haslam’s efforts to trim excess from the budget. But as a longtime patron of TSLA, I cannot condone limiting public access to state records in order to save money. I would argue that more would be lost if historians, genealogical researchers, and graduate students were denied the time needed to investigate their particular areas of historical research.
I would urge everyone impacted by this measure to contact their legislators, Gov. Haslam, and Secretary of State Tre Hargett, and politely express your disapproval. Mark Cheatham has provided ways to make contact and make your voices heard.