About This Site

pos·ter·i·ty (n.) late 14c., from Old French posterité, from Latin posteritatem meaning "future, future time; after-generation, offspring;" Referring to future generations and the idea of saving or documenting knowledge for use in the future.

The Posterity Project is the personal weblog of author, information professional, and public historian, Gordon T. Belt. On this blog I explore history, myth, and memory on America's first frontier. As a supplement to my latest book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, this blog also critiques the ways in which Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, is remembered in history and literature. And occasionally, I offer reflections on archives and public history from my home state of Tennessee.

The header image on my blog, courtesy of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, vividly captures this theme of history and memory...

In 1889 the Governors of Alabama and Tennessee along with an assemblage of dignitaries and common citizens gathered at John Sevier's fenced grave site in Alabama to resurrect the memory of "Tennessee's First Hero." A grand ceremony took place on this site where John Sevier's remains were transported to Knoxville to be reinterred on the lawn of the Old Knox County Courthouse. You can read more about this fascinating episode in Tennessee history by reading my blog post on this subject, "Sevier Amnesia: The Forgotten Grave of Tennessee's Founding Father."


What's in a Name?

A chapter in Joseph Ellis's book, His Excellency: George Washington, inspired the name for this site. In the book, Ellis writes about George Washington's obsession with chronicling the details of his life and experiences through his paper records, correspondence and memoirs. Like an archivist, Washington meticulously arranged and described his personal papers. His “posterity project” directly influenced how history and future generations remembered him through the careful management of the documentary evidence of his life. A word from the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution also inspired the name for this site...

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

As one of our nation's founding documents, the Constitution, as well as the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights greatly influenced me at an early age to pursue archives and public history as a career. I thought it was only fitting to choose The Posterity Project as the name for this site.

Archives & Social Media

Since the launch of this blog in 2008, I have been a vocal advocate of social media as a means to connect archivists and archival institutions with the public, particularly within my home state of Tennessee. In November 2009 I was honored to receive the Society of Tennessee Archivists' John H. Thweatt Archival Advancement Award for my work "to advance the archival profession in Tennessee and the Southeast" through social media and The Posterity Project. Named for the late John H. Thweatt who served as a professional archivist over many years at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, this award is given each year to "individuals, groups, and organizations that have made significant contributions to the advancement of archives and archival issues within Tennessee." Receiving this award remains, to this day, a very high honor, and I am grateful to my professional colleagues for this recognition.

Since then, I have delivered presentations to local archives, genealogical and historical societies about using social media, and about how cultural heritage organizations can leverage social media in their outreach efforts. Also, in my role as Director of Public Services at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, I work collaboratively across several departments to actively promote the Library & Archives' many services and collections through social media. I hope you will take this opportunity to visit the TSLA Blog for updates and for links to the Library & Archives' social media outlets.

My Comments Policy

Today, social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and other online platforms offer readers new and varied forums for expression. Meanwhile, abusive, off-topic commentary and blatant spam frequently litter the comments section of many blogs. The unfortunate result of this recent trend is that what was once an ideal venue for conversation has become a vacuum of ideas and insightful commentary.

Recognizing that readers have moved away from the blog and toward the larger social media landscape to converse and engage with content, I have decided to disable the comments feature on The Posterity Project, at least for the time being.

As for my own comments, In the Delcaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson called for a "decent respect to the opinions of mankind," so I do not engage in any divisive, partisan commentary here. The Posterity Project is a place where archives, local history, and the importance of public records are celebrated, from a "Volunteer's" point of view.


The Posterity Project is a reflection of my own personal and professional interests, and the opinions expressed here do not represent the views, positions, strategies, or opinions of my current or former employers.

Contacts, Advertising, and Permissions

If you'd like to respond to a blog post, request an interview, or have an offer, opportunity, or introduction that might make my life more interesting, e-mail me at gordon [at] posterityproject [dot] com. I'll only respond to those proposals that are a good match for my schedule and interests. Please note, however, that I do not take guest posts, advertising, or requests to promote your product, book, website, service, or blog on this site. If you contact me with this type of request, do not expect a reply.

Also, while I do not mind others sharing links to content posted on The Posterity Project, please be courteous and seek my permission first before reprinting any original content published here. In most cases, I simply ask for credit and a link back to the original article on The Posterity Project, so new audiences can find related content of interest. However, substantive use of original content published here, without my prior consent or proper attribution, may be viewed as plagiarism, and would violate the terms of my copyright and my contract with my publisher.

Historical and Genealogical Research

From time to time, I like to write about my search for my family history. As a result, I often receive email inquiries from individuals who want me to conduct research into their own family's history, or provide in-depth historical research on topics covered on this blog. While I do offer general advice on conducting research at archival institutions, I am not a professional genealogist, and I do not provide comprehensive genealogical or historical research services.

About Us

To learn more about me and my wife, Traci, please visit the “About Us” section of this website, where you’ll find more information about my work, and about our books, Onward Southern Soldiers: Religion and the Army of Tennessee in the Civil War, and our latest title, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, published by The History Press. Pricing and ordering information are located in the "Books" section of this blog. To schedule a book signing or speaking engagement with us, visit our "Events" page to learn more.


© The Posterity Project & Gordon T. Belt. 2008-present. No copyrighted information found on any page within this website may be used for commercial purposes without the express permission of the copyright owner.