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Harry T. Burn Papers

Identifier: MSC 0255

Scope and Contents

Includes legal records; material about women’s suffrage, 1920.

+ One folder of 6 photographs (5 pcs.--one 8x10 has 2 images on it) of Harry T. Burn and a set of files on the CBS television story (The American Parade) featuring Mr. Burn in 1974.

26 photographs of Rockwood, taken by Steinwehr.

One box of Harry T. Burn suffrage material, including letter from Mama, telegrams, and related material. Removed from that box and placed in a separate box (Nov. 2007): 2 small printing plates of Harry Burn; business cards; gold pin with lock; gold pen knife with monogram & ‘Immortal Fifty Tenn. 36’; 26 mounted 8" x 4.5” sepia photographs of Rockwood, Tenn. by C.(?) G.(?) F. Steinwehr, Rockwood, Tenn.

Added Jan. 2001 from Harry T. Burn, Jr.: Feb 1922 Biographical Memoranda for Harry Thomas Burn.

Added Jan. 13, 2016 from Harry T. Burn, Jr.: framed 1918 Harry T. Burn campaign poster


  • 1919 - 1974

Conditions Governing Access

Some material is available for research. Prior arrangement MUST be made by contacting the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection at

The twenty boxes containing Mr. Burn's law files are restricted and unavailable for research.

Biographical / Historical

Harry T. Burn was born and raised in Niota, Tennessee, the oldest son of James Lafayette Burn (1866-1916) and Febb Ensminger Burn (1873-1945). Elected in 1918 at the age of 22, he because the youngest member of the Tennessee General Assembly. In August of 1920, he made history as the deciding vote to ratify the 19th Amendment. Mr. Burn had previously voted to table the amendment, but his mother, Febb Burn, had written him a letter urging him to "be a good boy" and vote for the amendment. The next day, Harry Burn said, "I believe in full suffrage as a right. I believe we had a moral and legal right to ratify. I know that a mother's advice is always safest for her boy to follow, and my mother wated me to vote for ratification."

He was reelected in the fall of 1920 and held public office for much of his adult life. He was admitted to the Tennessee Bar in 1923 and practiced law in Rockwood and Sweetwater. He married Ellen Folsom Cottrell (1908-1998) in 1937 and the could had a son, Harry T. Burn, Jr. in 1937.


23 boxes

Language of Materials


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Repository Details

Part of the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection Repository

601 S Gay Street
3rd floor
Knoxville Tennessee 37902 United States