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Philip M. Hamer Diary

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0526

Philip Hamer kept this typed diary during the controversy at the University of Tennessee over President Harcourt A. Morgan dismissing Professor J. W. Sprowls, allegedly because Sprowls had assigned a text discussing evolution entitled Mind in the Making. The manuscript also mentions Morgan's firing of Assistant Professor of Art Ada (Haun) Withers (1886-1978) on similar grounds.

Hamer begins his diary by explaining that "the events of the past week are of sufficient interest to merit record." He removed some names and abbreviated others, but he was intimately acquainted with many of the participants and was involved to a greater extent than he wished. This diary records conversations and emotions in addition to events and is very detailed.

Dates

  • 1923 April 9-August 20

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.

Extent

0.1 Linear Feet

Abstract

Philip Hamer kept this typed diary during the controversy at the University of Tennessee over President Harcourt A. Morgan dismissing Professor J. W. Sprowls, allegedly because Sprowls had assigned a text discussing evolution entitled Mind in the Making. The manuscript also mentions Morgan's firing of Assistant Professor of Art Ada (Haun) Withers (1886-1978) on similar grounds.

Biographical/Historical Note

Philip May Hamer was born on November 7, 1891 in Marion, South Carolina to Philip Bascomb and Fannie (Buck) Hamer. He earned his B.A. from Wofford College in South Carolina (1912), his M.A. from Trinity College (1915), and his Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania (1918). He was married twice: first to Marguerite Bartlett on August 30, 1920 and second to Elizabeth Edwards on May 10, 1940. Hamer was a Professor of History at the University of Tennessee from 1919 to 1935, when he accepted a job at the National Archives. Here, he served in several capacities until 1961. In addition to his work at the Archives, Hamer wrote, edited, and contributed to many books about Tennessee history and was an organizer and president of the East Tennessee Historical Society. He died on April 10, 1971 in Maryland.

Harcourt Alexander Morgan was born on August 31, 1867 in Kerwood, Ontario, Canada. He earned his B.S. degree from Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph in 1889 and did some graduate work at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He began his teaching career at Louisiana State University as a professor of entomology and horticulture. In 1904, he accepted a position as a professor of entomology and zoology and director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of Tennessee. In this role, Morgan served as the primary contact between the University and the state's farmers. Through rotating farmers' institutes, exhibits, and short courses, Morgan helped to close some of the political divides that had appeared during the Civil War and established an excellent reputation for himself among Tennessee's farmers.

In 1919, Morgan succeeded Brown Ayres as President of the University of Tennessee. During his administration, he emphasized UT's role as a statewide institution and managed to get a number of appropriations from the state legislature to help the university fulfill its role as the vital center of the state's prosperity. In 1934, he left the University to become the Tennessee Valley Authority's agricultural specialist. Here, Morgan emphasized the need for the TVA to work with state and local organizations, took responsibility for convincing Tennessee's farmers that the TVA would be a positive influence in their lives, and continued to advocate scientific agriculture. He retired from the TVA in 1947 and died on August 25, 1950.

Arrangement

This manuscript consists of a single folder.

Acquisition Note

Elizabeth (Edwards) Hamer donated this diary to Special Collections in 1971.

Related Archival Materials

Interested researchers may wish to consult MS.1247: Philip M. Hamer's Tennessee, a History.

Repository Details

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

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480