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Benjamin Rush Strong Scrapbooks

Identifier: MS-1124

  • Staff Only

Collection consists of two scrapbooks documenting the travels of Benjamin Rush Strong. Strong traveled extensively during the late 19th century. His travels were often the subjects of articles he wrote for local newspapers, some of which are placed at the beginning of the first scrapbook. The majority of the collection includes itineraries, letters and telegraphs, fare tickets, post cards and photographs, receipts, and other documents from European countries in the 1880s and 1890s. Handwritten notes are found alongside many items in the scrapbooks.


  • 1880s-1890s


This material is written in English.

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.


0.5 Linear Feet (2 flat boxes)


Collection consists of two scrapbooks documenting the travels of Benjamin Rush Strong.

Biographical/Historical Note

Born in 1847 to Sophronia Mars and Joseph Strong, Benjamin Rush Strong was raised on a farm near Knoxville, Tennessee. During his life he became known as a wealthy financier in the "New South" after building his business out of nothing. He attended the University of Tennessee and began his career as a merchant at a young age in a rural area near Knoxville. After acquiring a dry goods store in Knoxville, he bought several other properties in other parts of the city, and eventually became President of East Tennessee National Bank. During the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, he served as President of the Alternate Commissioners Association.

Rush Strong later served as the postmaster of Strawberry Plains and as president of Strawberry Plains College during his life. The Rush Strong School in Strawberry Plains is the result of an offer he made, providing $1,000 to any community that would name a school after him. His estate funded several schools in his name in East Tennessee.

An avid traveller, Rush Strong visited many countries throughout his lifetime and wrote about his adventures frequently in local newspapers.

When he died in 1915, he left land to the University of Tennessee to build a dorm with two conditions--it would be a female dormitory and it would have a wildflower garden, to honor his mother Sophronia ("Sophie"). Strong Hall, completed in 1923, is said to be haunted by the ghost of Sophie. His will additionally funded the Rush Strong Students' Aid Fund, which provided loans for Agriculture students at a low interest rate, a nod to his life-long investment in East Tennessee agriculture.


This collection is in two flat boxes.

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