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TL v57n4: The Andrews Family Collection: An Interview with UTC Professor Kit Rushing
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Tennessee Libraries

Volume 57 Number 4 

 2007

 

The Andrews Family Collection at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga:

An Interview with UTC Professor Kit Rushing

Steven Cox, Special Collections Librarian
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

Scott Cohen, TL Interviews Editor

 

Like many academic libraries, Lupton Library at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) has a Special Collections department.  The collections held in this department include the manuscripts and local history collections, the rare book collection, and the University Archives.  Special collections and archival material give researchers and students primary resources to do original research. The items in the Special Collections of Lupton Library have been collected by the University since it first opened its doors in 1886. Today the Special Collections holds over one hundred manuscript collections, over 5000 rare books, and 121 years of University history in its University Archives.  The manuscript collections include political papers from members of Congress such as James B. Frazier, Jr. (1948-1962); Marilyn Lloyd (1974-1992); and Joel Solomon, a Chattanooga businessman who headed up the General Services Administration in President Jimmy Carter’s administration from 1977 until 1979.  Other collections include the war time letters of Civil War Union officer, John T. Wilder, that he wrote to his wife, as well as other Civil War documents. During the Civil War, Wilder, a Colonel and commander of the 17th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, served in several Tennessee and Chattanooga-area campaigns, including Chickamauga in Georgia. After the war, he moved to Chattanooga, becoming one of the city’s leading citizens and a major industrialist of the South.  Faculty papers include those of Dr. Frank Prescott, political science and history professor at the University of Chattanooga, from 1928 until 1967.  His papers include documents relating to communism, McCarthyism and the Red Scare; civil rights; TVA; the Tennessee Constitutional Convention; political campaigns; and Tennessee government and history.  Other significant collections include the papers and items of local writers and naturalists Robert Sparks Walker (1879-1960) and Emma Bell Miles (1879-1919). 

Kittrell RushingIn the mid-1990s Professor Kittrell (Kit) Rushing, chair of the Communications Department at the University, was looking at the many unprocessed collections in the Special Collections and came across a manuscript in the unprocessed Andrews Family Papers.  What he found was a section of a nineteenth century journal, a “sequel” to a previously published account of a young Southern lady, from a well-to-do family from Washington, Georgia.  Eliza Frances Andrews, AKA “Fanny” Andrews (1840-1931) had kept a journal during the Civil War, and this was published as The Wartime Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (D. Appleton, 1908).  Fanny Andrews had several other published works in her lifetime, including the novel, A Family Secret, (Lippincott, 1876), published under a pseudonym, “Elzy Hay.”  What Dr. Rushing found was a portion of another journal that Fanny Andrews had kept in the early 1870s.  In this account, Fanny Andrews writes about reconstruction in Georgia and visiting Yankee relatives in New York City several years after the war.  Fanny Andrews was the daughter of Judge Garnett Andrews (1778-1873) and the aunt of Colonel Garnett Andrews (1837-1903), who lived in Chattanooga and was the mayor of the city in the 1890s. 

Dr. Rushing spent several years working on the journal remnant, carefully editing and annotating it. What came as a result was the book Journal of a Georgia Woman, 1870-1872, published by the University of Tennessee Press in 2002.  Dr. Rushing continued his research on Fanny Andrews, as well as the Andrews Family, poring over documents in the Andrews Family Papers in the Special Collections at UTC, as well as traveling to other repositories in Georgia.  In 2005 he published a new annotated edition of Fanny Andrews’ novel, A Family Secret, also through the University of Tennessee Press.  In an interview with UTC Special Collections librarian Steve Cox, Dr. Rushing discussed his work on the Andrews Family.  The following is an excerpt of this interview. 

Cox:  How did you find the Andrews Family Collection? 

Rushing:  I discovered the Fanny Andrews Papers in the Andrews Family Collection, in the archives of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga library almost by accident.  In the middle 1990s, shortly after the Communications Department and the West Chair of Excellence started mounting the 19th Century Symposium on the First Amendment, Civil War, and Free Expression, I began to develop an interest in media of the secession crisis of the upper south. I was also interested in agenda setting, and agenda setting is a major theory that has evolved in the twentieth century on how media are used in the impact of media on society and the impact of media on the small groups as well as individuals. My intention was to take this modern communication theory of agenda setting and to apply that to the nineteenth century where my first love in research is. I started looking in this folio and I found an old ledger, and I opened up the old ledger and realized immediately this was a diary of some kind. It picked up with an interesting passage that described a trip in downtown Charleston, and whoever was keeping this diary was getting ready to go on a boat trip from Charleston. The more I read the more intrigued I became, and I kept reading and I gradually realized that this was written by a Southern aristocratic woman.  She was going on a trip to New York and New Jersey, apparently to visit Yankee relatives.  And she was mentioning names and places, and I recognized some, but she kept referring to Washington.  At first, of course, I thought she was talking about Washington DC.  But then it became apparent that the Washington she was describing wasn’t Washington DC.  It seemed to be a small, southern rural town, class divided, upper class and lower class.   

The second part of this project was to develop A Family Secret, which was Fanny Andrew’s first novel, for republication.  And I used much the same technique in developing A Family Secret for publication that I did for what became Journal of a Georgia Woman, 1870-1872, that is, an introduction with heavy annotations. And the thing that impressed me about Fanny Andrews is that she was so well educated, and so bright, and so articulate, and such a good writer. Reading her journal was like listening to this woman talk.  Her personality came out, her power of observation was developed in her writing.  

Cox:  The journal that is in the Andrews Family Papers covers 1870-1872, post war reconstruction years.  What makes it unique or special? 

Rushing:  As far as I know it’s the only first person account of a woman of the Southern aristocracy, of reconstruction, written in the reconstruction time.  The only first person witness account of a comparison of the Southern aristocracy, post-war, with the Northern aristocracy.  The old traditional aristocratic attitude of family and blood line and privilege compared to the nouveau riche, as she calls them “shoppies”, of the northern industrial first generation wealth.  And she’s comparing her experience with those “shoppies,” and what she’s comparing is her family from Washington, Georgia, with the family of her mother’s aunts in Newark, New Jersey, who made their fortune in the patent leather business.  Her aristocratic position came from blood line and the traditional Southern aristocratic concept of “we were born to it.”   Fanny Andrews portrait

Cox:  She previously had a diary published from the Civil War years, Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-65, and the journal you found was 1870-1872.  How does the later journal fit in with the earlier journal? 

Rushing:  In a way it’s a continuation, the way that the two journals fit together.  There are five years missing, nobody knows if she maintained a regular journal writing habit, she says she didn’t in some of her other writings. In fact she said in some of her writings that Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 was the end of the journal!  But then we find this journal four, five years later and it wasn’t the end of the journal.  Now there may have been a five year stop when she wasn’t writing. We’ll never know, probably, but what we do know is that the journal that we have from 1870-1872 is only the last part, because the first part we can tell physically was cut out of this ledger, you can see where the pages were literally cut out.  She wrote four novels of which we’re aware, three of them were published in what we might consider traditional book form, one of them was published in serial form in the Detroit Free Press, and re-published in the Washington Gazette in Washington, Georgia.   

Cox:  And she wrote under some pen names. Elzy Hay was one, “Fanny” Andrews would probably be another one. 

Rushing:  Her name was Eliza Frances Andrews and everybody called her Fanny.  That was a popular name in the nineteenth century.  But she first wrote under the name of Elzy Hay, and “Elzy” was the last name of one of the closest family friends that they had during the war. 

You can’t tell who Fanny was without knowing about the father because they are a classic father-daughter pair.  Judge [Garnett] Andrews was born in 1798 in Washington, Georgia, from Virginia parents.  Garnett Andrews as a young lawyer impressed a lot of people in Georgia, with his intelligence, his acumen, and his wit. After he died, they said that in the years that he was living with his wife at home, you could count on one hand the evenings that they dined alone, because they were always having company, or they were dining out. [There] was always somebody at these meals that had a reputation throughout the state of Georgia as being places for good food, wonderful talk, and politics, and Fanny grew up in that environment.  She grew up in this environment of the arts, of literature, or political involvement, of questions and answers, and discussion and jokes, of the way she describes it in her novels, and the way she describes it in her diaries, it was really an enriched environment in which to grow up -- a privileged environment.  So who was Fanny Andrews?  She was a privileged, intelligent woman who was not afraid to share her opinion. There are a lot of stories about Fanny sharing her opinion.  She was her father’s daughter, that’s who Fanny Andrews was. 

Cox:  You mentioned earlier that her father, Judge Garnett Andrews, was one of the original founders of Chattanooga, but I believe later on there were other members of the family that lived in Chattanooga. 

Rushing:  Judge Garnett Andrews, the father, never lived in Chattanooga; his home was always Washington, Georgia.  After the war, Colonel (Garnett) Andrews (son of Judge Garnett Andrews) returned home.  He was an attorney and had practiced law a few years before the war broke out, then he joined the Confederate army and was very proud of being the first volunteer from Wilkes County, Georgia, to join the army.  Then he came back and started settling down at home. He then moved with his bride to Yazoo City, Mississippi, to oversee family property. The young family remained in Yazoo City until the property was lost to reconstruction taxes. Chattanooga was growing after the war, and property that Judge Andrews had in Chattanooga was becoming more and more valuable, and so Colonel Andrews moved from Mississippi to Chattanooga and built a beautiful home, right across from where the county courthouse is now. His son had a home on Cameron Hill, but Colonel Andrews established a law practice here and was elected mayor in the early 1890s. The Andrews had not only been one of the founders of Chattanooga but one of the sons developed an important law practice here.  The irony here is that they became industrialists like the Yankee relatives that Fanny visited in 1870s, but their industry was the yarn business and folding box company, and the work that they did in the late 1890s and early 1900s, in effect laid the foundation for what became the carpet industry in north Georgia.  And the legacy of the Andrews family in Chattanooga still exists, if for no other reason that one of the beautiful stain glass windows in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was donated by the Andrews.   

Cox:  Is there anything else you can think of to add to the record? 

Rushing:  There is something else I do want to add. One of the questions that you might be interested in is where does this research project go from here?  In the last ten years we have developed this new diary for publication and it’s been published, and then we’ve taken the first novel and we’ve slightly edited it, and written an introduction, and that’s been published.  And what I’m working on right now is an introduction to the Judge’s memoirs, Reminiscences of an Old Georgia Lawyer, and that proposal manuscript is with the UT Press. There are yet several things that I want to add to the introduction before it goes to press.  I want to try to find out more about Judge Andrews’ place in the Indian removal, and on his place in the founding of Chattanooga.  I think those are critical, and also his involvement with the Know-Nothing Party, and being a gubernatorial candidate in 1855 in Georgia.  Then, the thing that I really want to do… [is to] write, or develop, a biography of Fanny Andrews.  There is no biography of this woman who was an exciting dynamic personality, and she’s important, I believe, because she represents that beginning of an awareness of women, of their value as people and not being shadows and subservient always to males in what was a male dominated culture.  And that sounds very women’s studies oriented and all, but she was just a special person, and she contributed a great deal to our understanding of her time and place.  So, I think she deserves a biography.   So that’s where we’re going with this, I hope.


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