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Divine Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-2555

This collection houses correspondence, day books, photographs, legal and financial materials, newspaper articles, genealogical materials, and other items documenting the Divine family of Tazewell and Johnson City, Tennessee. Over half the items present pertain to Major Paul E. Divine; the remainder were created by Lulu Belle (Milburn) Divine, W. E. F. Divine, Florence Ella (Williams) Milburn, Blaine Milburn, and Milburn Sis Divine.

Series I: Paul E. Divine houses legal and financial materials, correspondence, published materials, and portraits documenting Major Paul E. Divine. Much of the correspondence was written between Divine and various family members, U.S. Representative Walter P. Brownlow, and other Tennessee lawyers. Some of these letters are divided by correspondent, including those to Josefina, Paul Divine's Spanish-speaking lover in Puerto Rico. Two of the three folders housing other documents contain military papers created in Puerto Rico, where Divine was stationed during and after the Spanish-American War.

Series II: Lulu M. Divine houses legal and financial documents, correspondence to family, friends, and colleagues, maps, and other writings. Many of the legal and financial papers document Paul E. Divine's death.

Series III: Divine Family Papers and Series IV: Milburn Family Papers include documents pertaining to Milburn Divine, Florence Divine, W. E. F. Milburn, and Blaine Milburn. Materials documenting Milburn Divine include correspondence, two books (including her 1937 wedding guest and gift registry book), drawings, and certificates. Materials documenting the Milburn family include Florence (Williams) Milburn's confirmation certificate, correspondence, examinations that Blaine Milburn completed at the University of Tennessee, and other materials.

The majority of Series V: Newspaper Articles has been organized by year. Of particular interest are the items in the first two folders, which document Lulu (Milburn) Divine's 1938 murder trial.

Series VI: Photographs houses a number of images pertaining to the Milburn and Divine families, including a photograph of Paul E. Divine at six months of age and one image encased in glass (broken but glued to the picture) from around the turn of the 19th century.

Series VII: Genealogical Research Materials houses research into the Milburn, Divine, and other families.

Series VIII: Other Materials houses correspondence between Mrs. Maude Lamb and Chas. F. Herms, a reception invitation, a card from Hotel Broadway in Louisville, Ky., an unused 1948 calendar, and other materials.

Series IX: Oversize contains materials that are too large to be stored with standard sized materials.

Dates

  • 1871-1989 (bulk circa 1890-circa 1939)
  • Majority of material found within 1890 - 1939

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

6.25 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection houses correspondence, day books, photographs, legal and financial materials, newspaper articles, genealogical materials, and other items documenting the Divine family of Tazewell and Johnson City, Tennessee. Over half of the items pertain to Major Paul E. Divine; the remainder were created by Lulu Belle (Milburn) Divine, W. E. F. Divine, Florence Ella (Williams) Milburn, Blaine Milburn, and Milburn Sis Divine.

Biographical/Historical Note

Major Paul Eave Divine was born to Dr. John Washington and Mary Adelaide "Ada" (Newlee) Divine in 1871. He was one of nine children. Divine began his career working for Walter P. Brownlow during his first term in office as a U.S. Representative from Tenn. (1897-1901). Divine went on to work with the National Soldiers' Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Jonesboro, Tennessee. He formed the legal firm Guinn and Divine with David M. Guinn in Johnson City, Tennessee on May 20, 1911. Paul Divine passed away in 1935 and is buried in Greene County, Tenn.

On September 27, 1906 Paul Divine married Lulu Belle Milburn (1881-1955), daughter of William Elbert Franklin and Florence Ella (Williams) Milburn. She was one of three children, including Frank Emily (Milburn) Miller (1885-1952) and Blaine (1887-1939). Lulu worked as the postmistress at the Johnson City (Tenn.) Post Office. Paul and Lulu Divine had three daughters: Josephine (Divine) Brandt (1908-1971), Milburn Adelaide Sis (1909-2001), and Florence Ellen (Divine) Miller (1916-1997). Milburn Divine married Reginald M. Randall on August 2, 1937 in Johnson City, Tennessee. Randall abused Milburn physically, which prompted her mother, Lulu (Milburn) Divine, to shoot and kill Randall on July 21, 1938. Milburn Divine returned to her maiden name and did not remarry. She became a certified air traffic controller in 1943 and served as a control tower operator in the WAAC during World War II. After the War, she worked as an analyst for the Armed Forces Security Agency before returning to Johnson City and involving herself in historical and genealogical pursuits. Milburn Divine died on February 4, 2001 and is buried alongside her parents in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Arrangement

This collection consists of six boxes divided into nine series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Paul E. Divine, 1890-1937
    • Sub-series A: Correspondence, 1890-1935
      • Section 1: General, 1890-1935
      • Section 2: Family Correspondence, 1890-1935
      • Section 3: Walter P. Brownlow Correspondence, 1890-1906
    • Sub-series B: Legal Documents, 1890-1934
    • Sub-series C: Financial Materials, 1890-1937
      • Section 1: Financial Documents, 1890-1937
      • Section 2: Account books, Wallets, Etc., 1890-1900
    • Sub-series D: Writings, 1890-1908
    • Sub-series E: Diaries and Notebooks, 1891-1934
    • Sub-series F: Published Materials, 1890-1930
    • Sub-series G: Portraits, undated
    • Sub-series H: Miscellaneous, 1890-1900
  2. Series II: Lulu M. Divine, 1882-1939
    • Sub-series A: Correspondence, 1882-1935
    • Sub-series B: Financial and Legal Documents, 1930-1939
    • Sub-series C: Miscellaneous, 1906-1935
  3. Series III: Divine Family Papers, 1931-1962
    • Sub-series A: Milburn Sis Divine, 1935-1962
    • Sub-series B: Florence Divine, 1931
  4. Series IV: Milburn Family Papers, 1882-1920
    • Sub-series A: W. E .F. Milburn Correspondence, 1882-1920
    • Sub-series B: Blaine Milburn, 1907-1911
  5. Series V: Newspaper Articles, 1890-1970
  6. Series VI: Photographs, 1871-1954
    • Sub-series A: Photos and Envelopes, 1871-1954
    • Sub-series B: Photos with Negatives and Envelopes, 1940-1950
    • Sub-series C: Negatives with Envelopes, 1940-1950
  7. Series VII: Genealogical Research Materials, 1963-1989
  8. Series VIII: Other Materials, 1925-1948
  9. Series IX: Oversized Materials

Acquisition Note

Special Collections purchased these materials in August 2004.

Related Archival Materials

Interested researchers may also wish to consult:

Missing Title

  1. MS.0908: Milburn Divine Letter to LaReine Warden Clayton and And This Is Our Heritage Chapters
  2. MS.2361: Paul Divine Papers
  3. MS.3659: Major Paul E. Divine Materials
  4. MS.3789: Divine Family Correspondence

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480