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Special Collections Online at UT

Lexemuel R. Hesler and Andrew D. Holt Papers

Identifier: MS-3017

  • Staff Only

This collection houses scrapbooks, correspondence, film, certificates, catalog cards, and books documenting Lexemuel Hesler and Andrew Holt. Most of the items, including a thank-you note from President Holt, document a scrapbook containing images of the Olympic Games that Dr. Hesler gave to the University of Tennessee. This collection also houses several certificates presented to Andy Holt and a box of photo reels showing numerous subjects.


  • 1932-1968

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.


2.5 Linear Feet


This collection houses scrapbooks, correspondence, film, certificates, catalog cards, and books documenting Lexemuel Hesler and Andrew Holt.

Biographical/Historical Note

Lexemuel Ray Hesler was born to Clinton F. and Laura Iris Youngblood Hesler on February 20, 1888 in Veedersburg, Indiana. He earned his AB degree from Wabash College in 1911 and his PhD degree from Cornell University in 1914. He married Esther Lillian Collins on July 2, 1914. Hesler began his career in Botany at Cornell University, where he worked as a fellow (1911-1912), an Instructor (1912-1914), and an Assistant Professor (1914-1919). He came to the University of Tennessee as a Professor of Botany in 1919 and held this position until his retirement in 1958. He also served as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1934 to 1958. Hesler was also known for his deep appreciation of the arts, his enthusiasm for sports and his many contributions of service to the University. He died in Knoxville on November 20, 1977.

Andrew David Holt Jr. was born to Andrew David and Mary Elizabeth Brown Holt on December 4, 1904 in Milan, Tennessee. He completed his undergraduate work at Emory University, after which he began working in primary and secondary education. In 1937, he completed his PhD degree at Columbia University's Teacher's College and began working as Executive Secretary for the Tennessee Education Association (TEA). He held this position until 1950, interrupted only by two years spent serving in World War II. While working for the TEA, Holt became dedicated to the cause of improving Tennessee's public education system and proved instrumental in instituting a retirement system for teachers and a statewide sales tax to support education.

In 1950, Holt came to the University of Tennessee to serve as Executive Assistant to President Brehm. In 1953, he was promoted to Vice-President, and was finally made President in 1959. He remained in this position until 1970. Holt proved to be one of the University's most enthusiastic and productive presidents: during his tenure, enrollment tripled, faculty and staff doubled, state appropriations rose over 400%, and numerous new institutions and institutional relationships were established. Holt was also extremely popular: known as a kind, modest, and religious man, he proved to be an extremely effective goodwill ambassador for and consensus builder within the University. As one administrator put it, Andy could get people to work themselves to death for him. He was forever telling everybody how good they were. Holt died in Knoxville on August 7, 1987.


This collection consists of two boxes.

Acquisition Note

This collection was given to Special Collections on August 23, 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