Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Jefferson City, Tennessee in 1940

I spent a little time looking over the Jefferson City, Tennessee enumeration district in the 1940 census.  I was interested to see what could be learned about Carson-Newman College. Most of the professors were enumerated on pages 18A and 18B of ED 45-7. There were scattered persons associated with the college (such as grounds keepers, cooks, and even a few more professors) throughout the enumeration district.

The major employers for residents of Jefferson City other than Carson-Newman College and the public schools were a spring factory and the zinc mines.

I noticed that one young man was absent from his home at the time because he was at a reformatory in West Virginia.

It was interesting to see the various members of the clergy in the census. Some identified their denominational affiliation; others did not. The Presbyterian Church even had a director of religious education at that time.

The archivist and I did spot one serious error in the enumeration of the college professors and employees. It concerned the Iddins sisters. Only one of the sisters is listed in the boarding house where they were staying, but both of their occupations are listed for the one person. Mae, the one who was enumerated, taught physical education at the college. Mildred was the library director at the time. The occupation is listed as physical ed. library director at Carson-Newman College.

When looking at the enumeration district description, it says "show separately Carson-Newman College, Jefferson Hospital, and Nelson-Mary College." This is a bit confusing since the instructions to enumerators specify that one of the categories not to be enumerated are "students who are living with the household, but whose home or usual place of residence is not in your district." We kept expected to find a listing of students at the back anyway, but I've found no indication that students were enumerated in their dorms nor instructions to place them on a separate form such as those for the CCC camps. We did notice that most of the Carson-Newman faculty were on those two pages, but that wasn't unusual because most of them lived in housing adjacent to the campus.  There were additional faculty members scattered elsewhere in the district. Were these faculty members supposed to have been listed together with the others? We also noticed that most of the doctors and nurses were enumerated together, but it appeared that many of the nurses may have been single and lived in hospital-owned housing. What exactly did "show separately" mean?

It was interesting to see the number of persons who worked as cooks (generally in private homes) and the number of laundresses in the enumeration district. It was also interesting to see the types of businesses that were in the city at that time.

I'm sure we'll be examining the census in greater detail in the weeks and years to come, but it does provide an interesting picture of Jefferson City life in 1940.

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