James H. Cummings Papers

James Cummings

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Title: James H. Cummings Papers

Dates: 1882-1979 (Bulk 1967-1972)

Creator: James H. Cummings

Summary/Abstract: The James H. Cummings Papers consist of materials created or acquired by James H. Cummings over the course of his career as a Representative in the Tennessee General Assembly or as Secretary of State of Tennessee. The papers span the years 1882 through 1979, with the period 1967-1972 most prominently represented. Significant gaps exist, most notably during the years 1930-1966, when Cummings was developing his reputation as a powerful legislator. These papers are divided into ten series: Correspondence, Legislative Files, Legislative Documents, Legal Documents, Printed Material, Literary Productions, Newspaper Clippings, Audio Recordings, Tennessee Monument at the Gettysburg National Battlefield, and Ephemera.

Quantity/Physical Description:

Language(s): English

Repository: Albert Gore Research Center, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, (615) 898-2632

Restrictions on Access: None

Copyright: Copies of official public documents are likely in the public domain. It is presumed that corporate and individual copyrights in manuscripts, photographs, and other materials have been retained by the copyright owners. Copyright restrictions apply. Users of materials should seek necessary permissions from the copyright holders to comply with U.S. copyright laws.

Preferred Citation: (Box Number, Folder Number), The James H. Cummings Papers, Albert Gore Research Center, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Acquisition: Donated to Middle Tennessee State University by Tennessee State Representative John Bragg in 1980 and transferred to the Albert Gore Research Center in 1993. Miriam Hawkins donated additional materials in 1995.

Processed By: Original processor undermined

Arrangement: These papers are divided into ten series: Correspondence, Legislative Files, Legislative Documents, Legal Documents, Printed Material, Literary Productions, Newspaper Clippings, Audio Recordings, Tennessee Monument at the Gettysburg National Battlefield, and Ephemera.

Biographical Note: James H. Cummings, the son of John Morgan and Lula Land Cummings, was born on November 8, 1890, in Cannon County, Tennessee. He attended Cannon County public schools and later matriculated at Woodbury Academy and Chattanooga Business College. In 1910, at the age of 20, while working as a clerk in the State Comptroller’s Office in Nashville, Cummings enrolled in night classes at the YMCA Law School. He eventually earned his LL.B. degree in 1923 from Cumberland College.

Cummings left Tennessee in 1925 and worked in Florida for two years as a land developer. In 1927, her returned to Tennessee and launched a campaign for state legislature. Cummings won the 1928 election and served in the Tennessee General Assembly from 1929 to1948. In 1949, Governor Gordon Browning appointed Cummings Secretary of State, a position that he held through1952. In 1953, Cummings returned to the General Assembly and continued to serve until his retirement in 1972. During the years 1967-1969, Cummings served as Speaker of the House.

After his retirement, the Tennessee General Assembly honored him with “Jim Cummings Day” held on November 20, 1972. Among other honors bestowed upon Cummings, the executive wing of Nashville’s War Memorial Building was named for him, as was a stretch of highway in Cannon County. In 1973, Middle Tennessee State University dedicated Cummings Hall, a dormitory named in his honor. James H. Cummings died on November 2, 1979, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Scope and Content: The James H. Cummings Papers consist of materials created or acquired by James H. Cummings over the course of his career as a Representative in the Tennessee General Assembly or as Secretary of State of Tennessee. The papers span the years 1882 through 1979, with the period 1967-1972 most prominently represented. Significant gaps exist, most notably during the years 1930-1966, when Cummings was developing his reputation as a powerful legislator. These papers are divided into ten series:

Series 1: Correspondence, 1882-1977, bulk 1953-1973 (43 folders) Correspondence comprises the largest series in the collection. Most of it relates directly to Cummings’s legislative activities.  Materials in this series include requests for political support from fellow legislators and from figures of national prominence such as Estes Kefauver, Albert Gore, Sr., and John F. Kennedy.  Researchers should note that information in the correspondence files may often be cross-referenced chronologically and/or by topic with information in the legislative files.  This series is divided into eight types of correspondence, each arranged chronologically. Requests (1933-77, 12 folders) include employment requests and appeals for professional or political support.  Constituent Mail (1955-72, 7 folders) is comprised of letters from individuals or organizations offering opinions on matters pending before the General Assembly or on current events. Informational/Research (1953-76, 5 folders) correspondence provided Cummings with information on issues and events of possible interest or importance. The remaining subjects are Acknowledgments (1932-73, 9 folders), Congratulatory/Salutation (1945-73, 3 folders), Invitations (1953-77, 4 folders), Miscellaneous (unidentified, 1882 and undated, 2 folders), and Postcards (1908-73, 1 folders).

Series 2: Legislative files, 1925-1930, 1955-1972, bulk 1967-1972 (19 folders) Materials collected by Cummings during his tenure as a state legislator. The materials consist of conference announcements, brochures, programs, agendas, memos, reports, maps, studies, election materials, petitions, directories, biographical sketches, and other items.

Series 3: Legislative Documents, 1930-1977 (4 folders) Compilations of acts, bills, resolutions, memoranda, proclamations, official minutes of various committee meetings, agendas, petitions, and sponsorship listings

Series 4: Legal Documents, 1940-1972 (3 folders) Materials related to Cummings's career as an attorney. The items consist of correspondence, court orders, documents, notarized papers, notes, briefings, petitions, certificates, loan agreements, and receipts.

Series 5: Printed Material, 1943-1977 (15 folders) Pamphlets, directories, newsletters, programs, and one poster.  Arranged by type of publication and chronologically.  NOTE:  Books have been incorporated into the Gore Center's reference collection.  A listing of titles originally in the Cummings Collection is available.

Series 6: Literary Productions, 1945-1972 (4 folders) Speeches and other writings by Cummings and others. Arranged chronologically.

Series 7: Newspaper Clippings, 1933-1979 (6 folders) Newspaper clippings and pages collected by Cummings or sent to him by friends, constituents, and fellow legislators. Most of the clippings either mention Cummings or pertain to issues of interest to him. In some instances, the clippings include brief correspondence from the sender.

Series 8: Audio Recordings, 1932, 1972-1973  (3 cassette tapes) Cassette #1 records the ceremony dedicating Cummings Hall at Middle Tennessee State University in 1973. Cassette #2 records the proceedings of the Tennessee Legislature on “Jim Cummings Day,” November 20, 1972. Cassette #3 contains a recorded message for delegates to the Democratic National Convention from Franklin D. Roosevelt during his 1932 Presidential campaign. Roosevelt issued the paper record from which the recording was made. The original paper record and accompanying correspondence are also located in this collection.

Series 9: Tennessee Monument at the Gettysburg National Battlefield, 1970-1972, 1977 (7 folders) Correspondence, newspaper clippings, reports, constituent mail, and research notes related to the erection of a Tennessee Monument at the site of the July 1863 Battle of Gettysburg.

Series 10: Ephemera (2 boxes) Plaques, wall hangings, ornaments, and other mementos collected by Cummings during his legislative career.

Associated Materials: The photographs associated with this collection are stored with the Albert Gore Research Center photograhic image materials. All books in the Cummings Collection have been incorporated into the Gore Research Center Books and Publications Collections.

Related Collections:

The John Bragg Collection
The Buford Ellington Collection.

. James Cummings


Subject Terms

Persons
James H. Cumming
Estes Kefauver
Albert Gore, Sr
John F. Kennedy
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Places
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Rutherford County, Tennessee
Cannon County, Tennessee

Subjects (General)
Middle Tennessee State University
Democratic Party
Politics
Tennessee General Assembly
Tennessee legislature
Middle Tennessee State University
Cummings Hall
Battle of Gettysburg-Tennessee Monument

Material Types
Correspondence
Newspaper clippings
conference announcements
research notes
brochures
programs
agendas
memos
reports
maps
studies
election materials
petitions
directories
biographical sketches
audio cassettes
bills
resolutions
memoranda
proclamations
minutes
agendas
petitions
sponsorship listings

Cummings

 

Collection Inventory:

Box Folder Series Subj 1 Subj 2

01 01 Correspondence Requests 1933-1939

01 02 Correspondence Requests 1941-1949

01 03 Correspondence Requests 1951-1955

01 04 Correspondence Requests 1956

01 05 Correspondence Requests 1957-1959

01 06 Correspondence Requests 1965-1967

01 07 Correspondence Requests 1968

01 08 Correspondence Requests 1969

01 09 Correspondence Requests 1970

01 10 Correspondence Requests 1971

01 11 Correspondence Requests 1972

01 12 Correspondence Requests 1973-1977

02 01 Correspondence Constituent Mail 1955-1959

02 02 Correspondence Constituent Mail 1966-1967

02 03 Correspondence Constituent Mail 1968

02 04 Correspondence Constituent Mail 1969

02 05 Correspondence Constituent Mail 1970

02 06 Correspondence Constituent Mail 1971

02 07 Correspondence Constituent Mail 1972

02 01 Correspondence Informational/Research 1882

02 02 Correspondence Informational/Research 1953-1958

02 03 Correspondence Informational/Research 1964-1969

02 04 Correspondence Informational/Research 1970-1971

02 05 Correspondence Informational/Research 1972-1976

03 01 Correspondence Acknowledgements 1932-1947

03 02 Correspondence Acknowledgements 1952-1956

03 03 Correspondence Acknowledgements 1957-1959

03 04 Correspondence Acknowledgements 1967

03 05 Correspondence Acknowledgements 1968

03 06 Correspondence Acknowledgements 1969

03 07 Correspondence Acknowledgements 1970-1971

03 08 Correspondence Acknowledgements 1972

03 09 Correspondence Acknowledgements 1973

03 01 Correspondence Congratulatory/Salutation 1945-1969

03 02 Correspondence Congratulatory/Salutation 1970-1971

03 03 Correspondence Congratulatory/Salutation 1972-1973

03 01 Correspondence Invitations 1953-1957

03 02 Correspondence Invitations 1967-1969

03 03 Correspondence Invitations 1970-1971

03 04 Correspondence Invitations 1972-1977

03 01 Correspondence Miscellaneous Unidentified, no date

03 02 Correspondence Miscellaneous Unidentified

03 01 Correspondence Postcards 1908-1973

04 01 Legislative Files Legislative House of Representatives (1967-1969)

04 02 Legislative Files Legislative Research Materials (1955-1972)

04 03 Legislative Files Legislative Legislative Council Committee (1967-1971)

04 04 Legislative Files Legislative Council for State Governments (1970)

04 05 Legislative Files Legislative Directories & bibliographical sketches of the Tennessee legislators

04 06 Legislative Files Legislative Redistricting (1967-1971)

04 07 Legislative Files Legislative Reports & sponsor listings from Tennessee Legislature (1968-1970)

04 08 Legislative Files Legislative 1968, 1970 elections (1968, 1970)

04 09 Legislative Files Legislative Citizen's Confrence on State Legislatures (1967)

04 10 Legislative Files Legislative State Tennesse Highway Commission (1920-1930)

04 11 Legislative Files Legislative 1968 Democratic National Convention (1968)

04 12 Legislative Files Legislative Petitions (n.d., 1971)

04 13 Legislative Files Legislative Cummings Retirement (1972)

04 14 Legislative Files Legislative National Legislative Conference, San Francisco, CA (1967)

04 15 Legislative Files Legislative National Legislative Conference, San Antonio, TX (1967)

04 16 Legislative Files Legislative National Legislative Conference, Miami Beach, FL (1968)

04 17 Legislative Files Legislative National Legislative Conference, Honolulu, HI (1968)

04 18 Legislative Files Legislative National Legislative Conference, Salt Lake City, UT (1969)

04 19 Legislative Files Legislative National Legislative Conference, Minneapolis, MN (1971)

05 01 Legislative Documents Legislative Acts, Bills, Resolutions by Tennessee House of Representative

05 02 Legislative Documents Legislative Acts, Bills, Resolutions by Senate of the State of Tennessee

05 03 Legislative Documents Legislative Tennessee Governor's Proclamation, Legislative Reform (1966)

05 04 Legislative Documents Legislative United States Senate Bill S.355, Legislative Reform (1967)

05 01 Legal Documents Legal Court orders, notarized documents, applications (1940-1963)

05 02 Legal Documents Legal Correspondence, notes, briefings, case files, petitions, certificates, and

05 03 Legal Documents Legal Receipts (1950-1970)

06 01 Printed Material Printed Material Pamphlets, Tennessee Legislature (1959-1972)

06 02 Printed Material Printed Material Pamphlets, Tennessee State Politics (1965-1971)

06 03 Printed Material Printed Material Pamphlets, Tennessee House of Representatives Rules of Order

06 04 Printed Material Printed Material Directories, Tennessee Legislature (1967-1971)

06 05 Printed Material Printed Material Newsletters, Tennessee Politics (1966-1971)

06 06 Printed Material Printed Material Newsletters, Tennessee Education Association (1967-1972)

06 07 Printed Material Printed Material Newsletters, National Politics (1969-1973)

06 08 Printed Material Printed Material Miscellaneous Pamplets

07 09 Printed Material Printed Material Program, 43rd Annual Governor's Conference (1951)

07 10 Printed Material Printed Material Inaugural Invitations, Truman & Johnson (1949-1965)

07 11 Printed Material Printed Material Programs; Ceremonies, Memorials, Dinners (1949-1977)

07 12 Printed Material Printed Material Certificates (1943-1977)

07 13 Printed Material Printed Material Poster, Jim Cummings Day (1972)

07 14 Printed Material Printed Material Pamphlets, Civil War in Tennessee

07 15 Printed Material Printed Material Stationary, business cards

08 01 Literary Productions Literary Productions Speeches by James H. Cummings (1945-1972)

08 02 Literary Productions Literary Productions Notes, speeches, reports, and memoranda

08 03 Literary Productions Literary Productions Introductions and poetry

08 04 Literary Productions Literary Productions Magazines and journals (1970-1972)

10 01 Newspaper Clippings Newspaper Clippings 1933-1959

10 02 Newspaper Clippings Newspaper Clippings 1963-1966

10 03 Newspaper Clippings Newspaper Clippings 1967-1969

10 04 Newspaper Clippings Newspaper Clippings 1970-1972

10 05 Newspaper Clippings Newspaper Clippings 1973-1979

10 06 Newspaper Clippings Newspaper Clippings n.d.

11 01 Audio Recordings Audio Recordings Paper record of F.D.R. to Democratic delegates, correspondence (1932)

11 02 Audio Recordings Audio Recordings Dedication of Cummings Hall, Jim Cummings Day in the Tennessee

11 01 TN Monument at Gettysburg TN Monument at Gettysburg Plans, site approval from NPS (1970)

11 02 TN Monument at Gettysburg TN Monument at Gettysburg Confederate High Command, correspondence and reports (1971-1972)

11 03 TN Monument at Gettysburg TN Monument at Gettysburg Research materials, proposals

11 04 TN Monument at Gettysburg TN Monument at Gettysburg Tennessee Monument Commission (1977)

11 05 TN Monument at Gettysburg TN Monument at Gettysburg Correspondence (1972)

11 06 TN Monument at Gettysburg TN Monument at Gettysburg Correspondence (1971-1972)

11 07 TN Monument at Gettysburg TN Monument at Gettysburg The Tennessee Raindrops

12 00 Ephemera Ephemera Black ashtray, century club plaque, silver letter opener, name tag

12 00 Ephemera Ephemera Johnson/Humphrey button, Cummings nameplates (4), James

12 00 Ephemera Ephemera Ashtray from Joe Pipkins Coon Supper, gavel rest, Marble from U.S.

12 00 Ephemera Ephemera Coin ornament, black notebook, button with bunting from Truman

12 00 Ephemera Ephemera 1908 book on shorthand, James Cummings appreciation Day Guest

12 00 Ephemera Ephemera Bound birthday greetings from Joe Evins and John McCormick (1967)

12 00 Ephemera Ephemera Register for James H. Cummings' funeral

13 00 Ephemera Ephemera Artistic sketch of Cummings Hall, American Airlines "Admiral of the

13 00 Ephemera Ephemera Cummings Hall Dedication Plaque, 1870 Constitutional Convention Print

13 00 Ephemera Ephemera Lion's Club Membership Plaque, House Resolution No. 238

13 00 Ephemera Ephemera Sigma Alpha Epsilon "Order of the Phoenix" Plaque

13 00 Ephemera Ephemera 79th Tennessee General Assembly Print, 81st Tennessee General