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Howard A. Bridgman Diary

 Collection
Identifier: MS-2698

The Howard Bridgman Diary chronicles the daily activities of a TVA mailroom worker during the first few months of 1936. This handwritten diary of about 56 pages (approximately 13,000 words) records important events in TVA's history, such as the opening of Norris Dam and the decision in the George Ashwander case against the agency, while documenting the mundane details of working in the TVA mailroom. Bridgman also discusses the southern labor movement, the Communist Party, and the Highlander Folk School. The diary equally describes his social activities, such as hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains and a trip to the Highlander Folk School, and mentions his TVA colleagues, the most important being Appalachian Trail founder Benton MacKaye.

Also included in the collection is a full transcription of the diary.

Dates

  • 1936

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

0.2 Linear Feet

Abstract

The Howard Bridgman Diary chronicles the daily activities of a TVA mailroom worker during the first few months of 1936. This handwritten diary of 56 pages (approximately 13,000 words) records important events in TVA's history, such as the opening of Norris Dam and the decision in the George Ashwander case against the agency, while documenting the mundane details of working in the TVA mailroom. Bridgman also discusses the southern labor movement, the Communist Party, and the Highlander Folk School. The diary equally describes his social activities, such as hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains and a trip to the Highlander Folk School, and mentions his TVA colleagues, the most important being Appalachian Trail founder Benton MacKaye.

Biographical/Historical Note

Born in Brookline, Massachusetts on August 25, 1911, he grew up in central Massachusetts near the town of Fitchburg. Bridgman attended Fitchburg High School and graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1929. He enrolled in Amherst College, majored in history, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1933.

From 1933-1935, he worked for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) in North Carolina supervising Worker's Education programs. He then worked two years, 1936-1937, for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as a messenger in the mailroom. In 1937 he began work for the Eastern Cooperative League in New York City and a year later enrolled at Harvard University completing a master's degree in economics. After serving in the Pacific during World War II, he returned to Harvard to complete a PhD in economics.

During the 1950s Bridgman testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) about his brief membership in the Communist Party during the late-1930s. Bridgman taught economics at Brown University, Tuft University, and Southeastern Massachusetts University (which later became the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth). He died in 1996.

Arrangement

Collection consists of two folders.

Acquisition Note

This collection was donated to Special Collections in January 2006.

Repository Details

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

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