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Seymour Family Papers

Identifier: MS-2706

  • Staff Only

This collection consists of correspondence, speeches, reports, receipts, manuscsripts, publications, photographs, and clippings documenting the activities of various members of the Seymour family of East Tennessee between 1903 and 1989.

Series I: Correspondence, 1915-1956 consists primarily of correspondence to and from Charles Milne Seymour, Sr., although many of the later letters are written to or from Charles Milne Seymour, Jr. Letters to or from Charles Seymour Sr. generally relate to Knoxville city planning, legal issues, St. John's Episcopal Church, or awards. Letters to or from Charles Seymour Jr. generally relate to matters regarding the Episcopal Church, in which he was a priest. Because neither man regularly signed his name with the suffix, it is frequently very difficult to tell which person wrote which letters.

Series II: Charles Milne Seymour, Sr., 1903-1959 is composed of material relating directly to Charles Milne Seymour, Sr. Most of this material deals with Seymour's involvement with the Knoxville City Planning Commission and specifically his participation in riverfront development and the planning and the construction of the Henley Street bridge (Sub-Series B), his participation in the Tennessee Electric Power Company's 1938 lawsuit against the TVA (Sub-Series C), and his 1924 trip to Europe to participate in the First World Power Conference and the American Bar Association's visit to London (Sub-Series D). This series also contains materials relating to Charles Seymour Sr.'s family and life (Sub-Series A), various of Seymour's speeches dealing with city planning, law, and religion (Sub-Series E), as well as photographs of Seymour (Sub-Series F). As with Series I, many of the speeches in Series II, Sub-Series E appear to have been written and delivered by Charles Milne Seymour, Jr. rather than Charles Milne Seymour Sr., but because none of them are signed in full, it is impossible to discern which man wrote which speech.

Series III: Genealogy, 1952-1989 is composed primarily of manuscripts for a book entitled The Seymour Family, which documents Seymour family history and reproduces many original documents, particulary clippings and correspondence, relating to family members. It begins in approximately 1600 with the Seymour family in England, and ends with Charles Milne Seymour, Sr. Digby Gordon Seymour wrote the original manuscript in 1969, and it was revised in 1989.

Series IV: Publications, 1937-1968 is composed of published material documenting various members of the Seymour family.

Series V: Clippings, 1906-1982 consists of newspaper clippings and transcriptions of newspaper clippings dealing with the Seymour family.

Series VI: Oversized Materials contains large items in the collection, such as an exhibit poster and a map.


  • 1903-1989 (bulk 1903-1960)

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.


7.83 Linear Feet


This collection consists of correspondence, speeches, reports, receipts, manuscsripts, publications, photographs, and clippings documenting the activities of various members of the Seymour family of East Tennessee between 1903 and 1989. Most prominently documented are Charles Milne Seymour, Sr., a lawyer, and Charles Milne Seymour, Jr., a priest at St. John's Episcopal Church in Knoxville. Topics touched upon include Knoxville city planning (including a discussion of riverfront development and the construction of the Henley Street Bridge), religion, and genealogy.

Biographical/Historical Note

Charles Milne Seymour, Sr. was born to Digby Gordon and Josephine Ermine Douglas Seymour in Enterprise, Mississippi, on July 17, 1882. Although he had little opportunity for formal education as a child, he learned the principles of civil engineering from his father. While working in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1901, a friend convinced Seymour to attend law school. He did so, and graduated from the University of Tennessee with his LLB in 1903. He began practicing law in 1905, and was made a partner in the firm Frantz, McConnell and Seymour in 1911. From 1911 until his death in 1958, Seymour worked as general councel for the American Zinc, Lead, and Smelting Company. In this capacity, he participated in a 1917 lawsuit against the Minerals Separation, Ltd. of Great Britian. Seymour also served as general councel for the Tennessee Public Service Company from 1932 to 1939 and participated in a lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority during that time. Seymour died on July 27, 1958.


Collection is arranged into five series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Correspondence, 1915-1956
  2. Series II: Charles Milne Seymour, Sr., 1903-1959
  3. Series III: Genealogy, 1952-1989
  4. Series IV: Publications, 1937-1968
  5. Series V: Clippings, 1906-1982

Oversized materials have been removed to appropriate storage containers.

Acquisition Note

Collection was purchased by Special Collections in January 2006.

Repository Details

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

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA