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Sam Venable Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-3692

This collection consists of correspondence, photographs, negatives, slides, oral histories, manuscript drafts, press clippings, memorabilia, oversized posters, and taped interviews collected over the career of Sam Venable, a writer and columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel in East Tennessee.

Dates

  • 1941-2018

Language

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.

Extent

16.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection consists of correspondence, photographs, negatives, slides, oral histories, manuscript drafts, press clippings, memorabilia, oversized posters, and taped interviews collected over the career of Sam Venable, a writer and columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel in East Tennessee.

Biographical/Historical Note

Samuel Anderson Venable Jr. was born May 24, 1947, in Knoxville Tennessee to Samuel Venable Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Spencer. He graduated from Young High School in 1965 and attended college at the University of Tennessee (1965 - 1969) where he studied Forestry and Wildlife management until his junior year. At the encouragement of a fellow Sigma Chi Fraternity brother, Venable decided to pursue a degree in Journalism. In 1969, Venable worked as a feature-writer for the Knoxville Journal and had his first work published in a magazine. He graduated later that year with a Bachelors of Science in Journalism and a minor in Forestry and Wildlife Management.

Venable’s journalism career began as a police reporter for the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1969. A year later he applied for a position as outdoor editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel and in 1970, he was offered the job. His work consisted of writing a local column, covering topics from hunting and fishing to outdoor safety and environmental conservation. He found success in writing outdoor articles centered around the idea of entertaining readers, while also informing them on outdoor issues instead of the popular “how-to” approach taken by other outdoor columns at the time. An active member of Ducks Unlimited, an international organization dedicated to the conservation of wetlands and waterfowl, Venable made the acquaintance of Herman Taylor Jr. in 1978, owner of Little Pecan Island, Louisiana. It was Taylor who contracted Venable to write his first book on the Little Pecan wildlife preserve entitled An Island Unto Itself (1981).

In 1985, Venable assumed the position of humor columnist at the Knoxville News Sentinel after amassing considerable following entertaining readers as the newspaper’s outdoors editor for fifteen years. Over the course of his journalism career Venable has been published in more than 150 periodicals and is the author of eleven books including A Handful of Thumbs and Two Left Feet ― a select collection of his outdoor columns ― and Mountain Hands ― an intimate look at the craftsmen of Appalachia. Venable has received numerous national and regional awards including the Evinrude Writing Awards administered by the Outdoor Writers Association of America and a Golden Press Card Award (2009) recognizing outstanding professional achievement and service to the East Tennessee community in journalism.

While at Young High School, Venable met his wife, Mary Ann Hills. He and his wife Mary have two children Clay Venable and Megan Venable, and daughter-in-law Kim Venable. Kim and Clay are the parents of Sam's grandchildren, Max and Lucy Venable.

Arrangement

This collection consists of sixteen record boxes and oversized materials divided into three series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Personal Papers
  2. Series II: Professional Papers
  3. Series III: Flat Storage & Oversize

Repository Details

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

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