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Special Collections Online at UT

O. P. Temple Papers

Identifier: MS-0021

  • Staff Only

The O. P. Temple Papers document Temple's involvement in local and national politics including Native American affairs, land in Texas and Tennessee, legal matters, slavery (including slaves that Temple owned), the Confederacy's secession, the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, the Knoxville Chronicle, University of Tennessee business, and the publication of various of Temple's books.

Series I: Correspondence and Appendices, 1832 February-1909: This series consists primarily of correspondence between Temple and such people as William Gannaway Parson Brownlow, T. A. R. Nelson, L. C. Houk, M. S. Temple, J. G. M. Ramsey, Z. B. Vance, Horace Maynard, Tomlinson Fort, and Peter Turney.

Series II: Legal and Financial Files, circa 1822-circa 1910: This series consists of legal and financial files which date back to 1822. Also included are various land grants, receipts, and ledger books.

Series III: Writings and Publications, circa 1847-circa 1910, undated: This series includes publications and reviews of several Temple works. The following publications included in the collection; Notable Men of Tennessee, East Tennessee and the Civil War, Johnson and Temple Race, and The Covenanter.

Series IV: Newspaper Clippings, circa 1844-circa 1922, undated: This series includes several newspaper articles that document events surrounding the Civil War, court trials, society member updates, the Knoxville area, and O.P. Temple's daughter.

Series V: Awards and Gifts, 1919 July 21: This series houses an award from the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee and the foundation Mary Boyce Temple established to honor her father's memory.

Series VI: Photographs: Circa 1884: This series consist of photographs of O. P Temple's family.


  • 1822-1922

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


6.5 Linear Feet (7 boxes - 6 full boxes and 1 half box)


The O. P. Temple Papers consist of correspondence, legal and financial files, writings, newspaper clippings, awards, gifts, and photographs documenting the life and work of Knoxville businessman and politician Oliver P. Temple.

Biographical/Historical Note

Oliver Perry Temple was born on January 27, 1820, to James and Mary Craig Temple near Greeneville (Greene County) Tennessee. He graduated from Washington College in 1844 and studied law under Judge Robert McKinney before being admitted to the Bar in 1846. After an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1847, Temple moved to Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1850, President Millard Fillmore appointed him to serve on a commission to conciliate Native American tribes in New Mexico, Arizona, and California. After his return to Knoxville in about 1851, Temple married Scotia Caledonia Hume (1832-1889). The couple had one daughter, Mary Boyce Temple.

When the Civil War broke out, Temple remained loyal to the Union and worked tirelessly in aid of East Tennessee Unionists and the East Tennessee Relief Association. In later years, he organized the East Tennessee Farmer's Convention, was appointed Chancellor of Tennessee's 8th district (1866-1878), and served as a trustee for East Tennessee University. He was convinced of East Tennessee's economic potential and advocated regional development in addition to supporting higher education.

Temple retired from law in 1881 and served as Knoxville's postmaster from 1881 to 1885. After his full retirement, he wrote and published a number of books, including The Covenanter, the Cavalier and the Puritan (1897), East Tennessee and the Civil War (1899), and Union Leaders of East Tennessee (1903). He died in Knoxville on November 2, 1907.


This collection is in seven boxes. It is arranged into six series.

Series List

  1. Correspondence and Appendices, 1832 February-1909
    • Subseries A: Chronological, 1832-1909
    • Subseries B: Appendices and Supplemental Materials, 1879-1891
    • Subseries C: Post Office, 1879-1891
  2. Legal and Financial Files, circa 1822-circa 1910
    • Subseries A: Legal and Financial Files, circa 1822-circa 1910
    • Subseries B: Ledger Books, 1849-1888
  3. Writings and Publications, circa 1847-circa 1910, undated
  4. Newspaper Clippings, circa 1844-circa 1922, undated
  5. Awards and Gifts, 1919 July 21
  6. Photographs, circa 1884

Acquisition Note

The University of Tennessee acquired the O.P. Temple papers from Mary Boyce Temple's will, which was executed in 1930.

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