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George P. Palo Papers

Identifier: MS-2003

  • Staff Only

This collection houses the personal and professional papers of George P. Palo, former Chief Engineer of the TVA, and his wife, Annie G. Palo. The bulk of the collection consists of materials documenting Palo's work at the TVA and correspondence from William McCall and his wife, Gretchen Schweitzer McCall, in which McCall discusses his life's work in education and his memoir, I Thunk Me a Thaut. These papers also include correspondence from George Palo's family, papers detailing the Palo family's history, and materials documenting George and Annie Palo's extensive travels. There are also loose photographs (many showing George and Annie Palo with unidentified others) as well as a photo album depicting the Palos and various dignitaries and delegates at the World Power Conference in Vienna in 1956.

Interested researchers may also wish to consult MS.2674: George P. Palo Papers, circa 1860s-1990s (bulk 1920s-1990s) for more information about Palo's life and work.


  • 1904-1983 (bulk 1953-1983)

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


2.75 Linear Feet


This collection contains correspondence, family history papers, photographs, travel materials, and other items documenting the life and work of George P. Palo and his wife, Annie G. Palo. Much of the material shows George Palo's work with the TVA.

Biographical/Historical Note

George Payne Palo was born to Elmer and Helen (Payne) Palo on April 2, 1907, in Superior, Wisconsin. In 1928, George graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology; throughout his life, he continued to help and work with his alma mater. He began working for the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1935, and twenty-four years later TVA elevated him to the position of Chief Engineer and then Manager of Engineering Design and Construction in 1963. Although he retired in 1969, he continued to aid TVA, and in 1980 took a trip to China for TVA to help with their hydroelectric plants. He served as president of the Tennessee Valley Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in the 1950s and remained an active member all his life.

On April 5, 1934, he married Anna Lillian Groebler, born to Charles and Anna (Schutte) Groebler on June 26, 1908. The couple had no children, but they spent their lives as TVA representatives, entertaining foreign visitors and traveling all over the world for engineering and power conferences. Annie died in 1991 and George in 2001.

This collection also contains letters from William McCall and his wife, Gretchen Schweitzer McCall. William McCall was a professor of educational psychology at Columbia University. In addition to writing many books on education, he published I Thunk Me a Thaut (1975), a collection of diary entries from his boyhood in Tennessee. McCall and Palo became friends when Palo was at MIT.


Collection consists of two boxes.

Acquisition Note

Al and Ann White donated this collection to the University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville, Special Collections in April of 2007.

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