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"The Autobiography of David Crockett"

Identifier: MS-1225

This collection includes a bound unpublished version of James Atkins Shackford's "The Autobiography of David Crockett." In two volumes, this collection is organized into an introduction, an annotated text of the Autobiography of David Crockett, and two appendices. The introduction describes the significance of the autobiography, the history and state of Crockett scholarship, and the authorship of the Crockett books.

Volume 1 contains the introduction and autobiography with annotations. Before the introduction, there is a portrait of Crockett with a description and a preface acknowledging those who helped Shackford in the project. In the introduction, he focuses on the value of the autobiography in terms of how it was overlooked in the past but may be helpful for deciphering the truth of Crockett's life. The autobiography contains Shackford's annotations mostly clarifying and defining terms and ideas. It is indicated that Crockett was not fully literate and authorship is debated, so annotations provide additional information for better understanding of the material.

Volume 2 contains appendices and relevant information to the research done, separated into two sections: "Photostats of Crockett Letters and Documents" and "Annotated and Collated Crockett Bibliography."

Also included in this collection are loose photostats of letters signed by David Crockett dated 1834-1835, one of which was most likely his own handwriting.


  • 1948


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 (1 half box)


This collection includes a bound unpublished version of James Atkins Shackford's "The Autobiography of David Crockett."

Biographical/Historical Note

James Atkins Shackford was born in 1912 in Norfolk, Virginia, to John Walter Shackford and Love Branner Atkins. He submitted his annotated version of the "The Autobiography of David Crockett" in 1948 as part of his requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy degree in English at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He went on to become an assistant professor of English at North Carolina State University, and continued research on David Crockett's life with the help of his brother, Dr. John B. Shackford, an English professor at Cornell College. He is most well-known for his 1956 book David Crockett: The Man and the Legend, which explored a historically accurate version of Davy Crockett at a time when his story had become quite fictionalized in media. Shackford died December 7, 1957, and was survived by his wife Ada Vernon Morrow, who died in 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