Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL) Collection

Identifier: MSS.0441

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

The Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL) Records consist of materials collected by TISL alumni from its earliest inception in 1966 through the present. The collection is divided into three series; Series I. TISL Publications & Related Organizations; Series II. General Assemblies; and Series III. Oversize Materials.

Series I. TISL Publications & Related Organizations is comprised of newsletters published by TISL, the organizations constitution, and material from other states student legislatures.

Series II. General Assemblies is the largest consisting of reports, bills, correspondence, and manuals gathered during each of the assemblies. This series provides the best documentation of the organization and continues to grow with additions by former TISL members.

Series III. Oversize Materials is made up of a few large items such as a copy of the Tennessee State Seal, House bills, and a Senate bill.


  • 1966 - 2017

Biographical/Historical Note

The Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature is a statewide organization that seeks to engage college students in government and public affairs through participation in a political process that replicates existing state institutions.

TISL conducts a General Assembly annually in the legislative chambers of the State Capitol, including the election of officers to govern and preside for the coming year. A Senate and House of Representatives composed of college students from across the state considers legislation drafted and sponsored by students. The participants may be engaged for a year doing research and drafting of proposed legislation and resolutions.

Many TISL bills have eventually become state law, and many TISL alumni are in public service, including legislators, judges and Tennessee constitutional officers.

TISL's judicial branch is the Tennessee Intercollegiate Supreme Court. The TISL Foundation also sponsors the Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge (AMC3), a moot appellate court competition for undergraduates.

The organizational meeting of TISL was held on the Vanderbilt campus in 1966, and the 1st General Assembly was at the State Capitol later the same year. Charles Bone Sr., a Vanderbilt undergraduate, was a founder and was Governor of the 2nd General Assembly in 1967. Also instrumental in the founding were Dr. Douglas Carlisle of The University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Phillip Moffitt of UTK, who was the first Governor.

The Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature was incorporated in the State of Tennessee in 1968, mostly through the efforts of Vanderbilt undergraduate M. Baker Wyche, who served as TISL Secretary of State. He also published the first Journal of the Proceedings in 1968. That has become the annual TISL Blue Book.

The 1968 charter was superseded in 1976 by a charter for the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature Foundation, which continues in operation. The TISL Foundation was granted 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service in 1977 as an educational organization.

Vanderbilt Library Special Collections became the repository for TISL archives in 1979.

TISL was entirely student run until after 2002, when increased management challenges and a break in continuity caused the student General Assembly to create an independent Board of Directors to govern the organization. That board is composed of a majority of TISL alumni plus two student-elected officers.


20.5 Linear Feet (Processed: 13.5 linear feet; Unprocessed: 7 linear feet)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Offsite Storage, Special Collections & Archives

Finding Aid for the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL) Collection
Partially Processed
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


About this Site

This site contains collection guides, or finding aids, to the archival collections held by Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives, the History of Medicine Collection, and the Scarritt Bennett Center. Finding aids describe the context, arrangement, and structure of archival materials, allowing users to identify and request materials relevant to their research.

Requesting Materials

Each finding aid contains a link to request materials from the collections. Collections can also be requested by emailing the repository directly through the library website. Each repository has its own location, hours, and contact information. Please consult the repository with questions about using the materials. Collections are non-circulating and must be used in the repository’s reading room. In many cases, the collections are stored off-site and require advance notice for retrieval.