In April, we launched our book tour in East Tennessee on John Sevier's old stomping grounds in Johnson City and Knoxville, followed by stops along the way at Sevier's Marble Springs plantation home, Andrew Jackson's Hermitage, and William Blount's Mansion. I had the opportunity to appear on Maury County's "Page By Page" television program, wrote an article for the Nashville Retrospect, lectured to students and faculty at Cumberland University and at Austin Peay State University, and met several interested readers at the East Tennessee History Fair, and at the Southern Festival of Books, just to name a few of the venues we visited over the course of the year.
What has gratified me the most in this year on the road promoting our book has been the feedback from readers, and the knowledge that this book has filled a long-neglected gap in recent scholarship about Sevier and his impact on Tennessee history and memory. For everyone who invited us to speak, and to those who turned out to hear us talk about John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, we sincerely say, "thank you."
Young people have also taken an active interest in the book, as I've fielded several contacts from students and teachers with requests to learn more about Sevier and his leadership on the Tennessee Frontier. It just so happens that "Leadership and Legacy in History" is the National History Day theme for 2015, so to see this renewed interest in "Tennessee's First Hero" among students of history is very rewarding, and confirms my long-held belief that Sevier's leadership and legacy deserves further study.
2014 was also, sadly, a time of loss, as my former boss John Seigenthaler passed away in July. Mr. Seigenthaler was a scholar, mentor, hero, and friend to many in Nashville and throughout the country, and his impact on my life and career was profound. I miss him terribly, and I think of him fondly.
Next year, while we will continue to schedule events in support of our book projects, I am also making a resolution to spend more of my spare time assisting my wife, Traci, on our next book project. Be on the lookout for an announcement on that front in the coming months. Also in the upcoming year, I plan to publish more book reviews of titles old and new, and I will share excerpts from my ongoing research of the Indian Wars on America's first frontier. In the meantime, I hope you'll enjoy this moment of reflection as I count down the ten most widely read blog posts on The Posterity Project for 2014.
May you have a Merry Christmas, a wonderful holiday season, and a Happy New Year!
Top Ten Blog Posts of 2014
- Dean Cornwell's artistic vision of John Sevier
- The Winning of the West: Theodore Roosevelt's "wonderful story, most entertainingly told"
- Personal Recollections of Michael Woods Trimble, Parts 1, 2 and 3
- Quote, unquote
- "See the Harvest" through John Sevier's eyes
- An "Admirer of Patriotism and Merit Unequaled"
- The last casualty of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend
- "They concluded that we came out of the clouds"
- "This effectually unmans me"
- A "picturesque" escape
Gordon Belt is an information professional, archives advocate, public historian, and author of The History Press book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, which examines the life of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, through the lens of history and memory. On The Posterity Project, Gordon offers reflections on archives, public history, and memory from his home state of Tennessee.