John Egerton Papers - Estate Papers

Identifier: MSS.0849

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

The Estate Papers of John Egerton make up this second addition to his papers already held in the Special Collections and Archives of Vanderbilt University. These thirty-five boxes cover a wide range of topics pertaining to his career from 1960 to 2014.

There are seven boxes of correspondence, ranging in date from 1963 to 2014. Some of the correspondence is personal, but most of it concerns his work as a writer.

Other material pertains to Egerton’s speeches and presentations, as well as his work as Journalist-in Residence at Virginia Tech in 1978-1979 and at the University of Texas at Austin in 1997.

Over five boxes contain materials relating to the many and wide-ranging projects in which he was involved between 1973 and 2013. Among these varied projects were advocacy for prisoners, proposals for film and video productions for some of his writing, establishment of a Southern Food and Drink Museum, his involvement in local politics, and work in improving Nashville, especially feeding the poor of the city.

Over two boxes contain his writing ideas for future articles and books. He collected magazine and newspapers articles for inspiration, as well as writing his personal observations about the local and national scene.

In the next eleven boxes are some of his completed writings, both published and unpublished, dating from 1960 to 2013. These include his Master’s thesis from 1960 as well as material pertaining to Generations, Speak Now Against the Day, and Nashville. Also included is his published novel, Ali Dubiyah and the Forty Thieves, as well as his unpublished novel, Paradise Island. There are also many of his magazine and newspaper articles, primarily on topics of education, politics, Tennessee history, and southern food. His work as an editor is included in this section also.

There are four boxes of the writings of others. Egerton served as a mentor to many, including poets, novelists, and writers of non-fiction. Their works and some of his comments are included.

The last part of the collection consists of Subject Files. They primarily concern race relations, civil rights, school desegregation, TVA, music, and the Metro Nashville Archives.

Personal items are contained in the last box. These include resumes he wrote through the years, honors awarded to him, publicity photos, and posthumous tributes. The program for his Memorial Service at the Nashville Public Library held on Sunday, December 8, 2013 is included.


  • 1960 - 2014

Conditions Governing Access

This collection may be viewed only in the reading room of Special Collections in the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Collections should be requested 2-3 days prior to visiting in order to facilitate easier access. For questions or to request a collection, contact

Biographical / Historical

John Egerton was born June 14, 1935 in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents later moved to Cadiz, Kentucky, and there he attended elementary and junior high school. From 1950 to 1952 he was enrolled at Columbia Military Academy and graduated from Trigg County, Kentucky High School in 1953. He attended Western Kentucky State College in 1953-1954. From 1954-1956, he served in the United States Army, spending sixteen months duty in Germany. After his discharge, he attended the University of Kentucky, earning his A.B. degree in 1958 and his M.A degree in 1960.

In that same year, he became Director of Information Services and Publications at the University of South Florida. From 1965-1969, he was a magazine staff writer for the Southern Education Reporting Service in Nashville, Tennessee, and from 1969-1971, staff writer for the Race Relations Information Center, also in Nashville.

After 1971 and until his death, Egerton was a free-lance writer, based in Nashville. Throughout the years, he wrote over five hundred articles on a variety of subjects for over fifty publications and approximately fifty booklets and research reports on specialized topics. He was the author of ten non-fiction books and one novel.

He was married to Ann Bleidt and the couple had two sons, Brooks and March. John Egerton died in Nashville, Tennessee on November 21, 2013.


14.7 Linear Feet (35 boxes)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Offsite Storage, Special Collections & Archives

Finding Aid for the John Egerton Papers - Estate Papers
Beverly Lee
2017 August
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.