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N. W. Dougherty Papers

Identifier: MS-1376

  • Staff Only

This collection houses personal papers, memorabilia, academic materials, organizational records, and athletic records documenting the life and work of N. W. Dougherty, U.T. Professor of Civil Engineering.

Series I: Personal Papers and Memorabilia houses bank, travel, and memo books, correspondence, unfinished papers, photographs, certificates, and other materials. Series II: Academic Affairs includes notes, lectures, correspondence, and related materials documenting Dougherty's academic achievements. Series III: Organizations is composed of correspondence and related materials showing Dougherty's involvement with a number of engineering societies. Series IV: Athletics houses materials showing intercollegiate and university sports at the University of Tennessee. Series V: Addendum to the N. W. Dougherty Papers houses materials that were added to this collection after initial processing was complete. In the interests of clarity, they have been organized using the structure established in the original materials.


  • 1922-1972

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.


34 Linear Feet (34 boxes)


This collection houses personal papers, memorabilia, academic materials, organizational records, and athletic records documenting the life and work of N. W. Dougherty, U.T. Professor of Civil Engineering.

Biographical/Historical Note

Nathan Washington Dougherty was born to Samuel and Mary Ellen (Vermillion) Dougherty in Hales Mill, Virginia on March 23, 1886. He moved to Knox County, Tennessee with his family in 1898. Dougherty attended the University of Tennessee, where he served as captain of the football, basketball, and track teams during his senior year. He earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1909 and went on to complete his M.S. in Civil Engineering at Cornell University in 1914. Dougherty married Agnes Anna Monteith in 1913, and the couple had five children: Marie Ellen (Dougherty) Wellborn (1915-1996), Nathan Sam (1917-2002), Mildred Monteith (Dougherty) O'Brien (1918-2004), Agnes (Dougherty) Wattenbarger (1928-2017), and Edward M. (1921-2003).

Dougherty began his professional career as an Assistant Professor at George Washington University (1915-1916). He returned to the University of Tennessee in 1916, where he served as Head of the Civil Engineering Department (1916-1940) and as Dean of the College of Engineering (1940-1956). In addition to his work with U.T., Dougherty served as a consultant with the Tennessee Highway Department (1923-1936), the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (1936), and ARO, Inc. The University of Tennessee recognized his contributions to the university and to his profession by naming the school's largest engineering building Nathan W. Dougherty Engineering Hall.

Dougherty also played an important role in the early development of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Southeastern Conference. He served as Tennessee's Faculty Representative in athletics for forty years, as pro-tem Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, and as a member and officer of the NCAA. In 1967, Dougherty was elected to the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. Two years later, he served on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Dougherty died in May 1977 and is buried in Knox County.


This collection consists of thirty-four boxes divided into five series:

  1. Series I: Personal Papers and Memorabilia, 1937-1972
  2. Series II: Academic Affairs, 1922-1965
  3. Series III: Organizations, 1942-1961
  4. Series IV: Athletics and Other Materials, 1943-1956
  5. Series V: Addendum to the N. W. Dougherty Papers, 1930-1968

Acquisition Note

Collection was donated to Special Collections in 1977.

Related Archival Materials

Interested researchers may also wish to consult:

  1. MS.1379: N. W. Dougherty Papers, 1946-1968
  2. MS.1603: Marie Dougherty Wellborn Biography of Nathan W. Dougherty, circa 1989

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