James E. Ward Papers

Identifier: MSS.0636

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents Note

This .21 linear foot collection spans the years from 1910-1980, with the bulk of the collection between the years 1923-1938. The James E. Ward Papers primarily document the 1923-1928 seasons of Vanderbilt football and key players during those seasons (Vanderbilt Football and University Materials Series). The Ward Papers also contain materials related to James Ward’s professional, collegiate, and personal activities and give a window into Nashville society during his time (James E. Ward Personal Materials Series). The James E. Ward Papers contain materials such as newspaper clippings, photographs, programs, broadsides, menus, fraternity memorabilia, scrapbook, and correspondence.

The Vanderbilt Football and University Materials Series, 1923-1941 contains materials related to the 1923-1928 football seasons, team members, and miscellaneous Vanderbilt athletics, as well as materials concerning Vanderbilt University. Materials in the series are newspaper clippings, football broadsides, programs, banquet menus, promotional booklets, photographs, and other background materials. The folders in the series are arranged chronologically by year and the documents within the folders are arranged chronologically when identified by date. Notable persons in this series are Bill Spears, Bill Hendrix, Jesse James, Dan McGugin, Chancellor Kirkland, Cap Alley, as well as materials on Camp Kallamuchee, where Bill Spears was a counselor.

Photographs related to the football team are separated in a different folder in the series and several are identified as being from the 1926-1927 season. One photograph identifies Bill Spears, Bill Hendrix, and Bob Sims; the other photographs do not identify players by name. Included in this folder are pictures from Camp Kallamuchee,

The James E. Ward Personal Materials Series, 1910-1980 contains materials related to James Ward’s professional, collegiate, and personal activities. The bulk dates are 1924-1935. James Ward was active in collegiate and civic activities and this series is representative of his involvement in Nashville society during the years 1927-1937, Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, Commodore Club, and the Rotary Club. The Nashville Society file contains materials related to Bill Spears and the Personal Materials file contains materials relating to James Ward’s trip on the S.S. Leviathan. The folders in the series are grouped by subject and the items within the folders are arranged chronologically when identified by date. The series includes one photo of the Rotary Club Board of Directors (Folder 1).


  • 1910-1980

Language of Materials



James Eatherly “Mutt” Ward, April 30, 1906- September 16, 1991.

James E. “Mutt” Ward was born in Nashville, TN on April 30, 1906, to William E. and Anne Berney Ward. He graduated from Duncan Preparatory school in 1924 and earned a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Arts and Sciences of Vanderbilt in 1928. While at Vanderbilt, he was assistant manager for the Vanderbilt Football team in 1927 and manager of the team in 1928. He was also a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, Commodore Club from 1927-1928, Pan-Hellenic Council, Varsity Club, Ace Club, Owl Club, and YMCA Council.

From 1929 to 1942, Mr. Ward contributed to the success of the Vanderbilt football team by photographing Commodore games. The use of cameras for the filming of football games, a practice instituted by Coach Dan McGugin in 1927, was innovative at the time. Ward’s slow-motion films were an invaluable training aid to Vanderbilt coaches and players.

In 1932, James Ward joined his father, brother William E. Ward, and A.J. Baird in business with the Baird-Ward Printing Co. During the Depression and after William Ward, Sr.’s death, the brothers and Baird decided to keep the Baird-Ward Printing Co. in operation. According to a family spokesperson, they had to chose between operation at a loss with no apparent prospects rather than declare bankruptcy; before James Ward’s retirement in 1968, they had engineered Baird-Ward into the second largest printing company in the state. Arcata National Corp acquired the Baird-Ward company in 1976.

Mr. Ward served as president of Baird-Ward Printing Co. from 1959-1966 and was a member of the Board of Baird-Ward Printing Co. from 1966-1969. In 1967, Mr. Ward was chairman of the Southeast Federal Reserve Board and a member of the Nashville Board of the Federal Reserve Bank. He was president of the King of the Road Enterprises from 1969-1970. During World War II, Mr. Ward earned the rank of commander through the U.S. Naval Reserve. For most of the war, he served as a flag secretary in New Orleans and oversaw the Navy’s primary supply line to the Pacific fleet.

James Ward was involved in numerous Vanderbilt alumni activities and Nashville civic activities. He served as President of the Nashville Vanderbilt Club from 1956- 1957 and Vice-Chairman of the Nashville Business Campaign from 1967-1968. Mr. Ward was a trustee of Montgomery Bell Academy, Director of the Belle Meade Country Club, and Governor of the Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Cumberland Club and St. George’s Episcopal Church. James Ward died on September 16, 1991 in Nashville, TN.


“Services set today for James E. Ward.” The Tennessean. 9-18-91.

“James E. Ward of printing fame dies at age 85.” Nashville Banner. 9-17-91

Bob McGaw “Movie Man at Dudley Field Big Help to Coaching Staff: Slow-Motion film Preserves Every Detail of Contests; Used as Corrective Device After Games.. Nashville Banner. 11/20/35

Red O’Donnell. “Ward’s Camera Invaluable to Coaches.” Tennessean 11-10-40.

This collection was donated by James E. Ward.


.21 Linear Feet

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives

Finding Aid for the James E. Ward Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Library
1101 19th Ave. S.
Nashville TN 37212 United States


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