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Midget Family Papers (Gift of Carole S. Midgette)

 Collection
Identifier: MSC 0937

Scope and Contents

The Midget Family Papers consists of receipts, correspondence, photographs, publications, pamphlets, business cards, calling cards, ration books.

George T. Midget’s 1931 vehicle registration for his 1928 Harley Davidson motorcycle. Midget family ration books from World War II reveal information about the Home Front during the war. Among the financial records are receipts for groceries purchased by George Midget while stationed at Fort Peck, Montana; a 1931 series of handwritten receipts for the purchase of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, as well as a receipt for motorcycle parts; receipts for wholesale leather used at the Midget Shoe Shop. Correspondence is primarily to and from H. Gordon, George, Lucy, and Gordon M. to other family members, generally of a personal nature.

Among the numerous business cards is one advertising the Midget Shoe Shop and Shine Parlor, ran by Gordon and Lucy, the back side of which depicts the American Sign Language alphabet. Also included is the deed for the Midget Shoe Shop at 12 ½ Gay Street, later located at 109 Gay Street. 35mm negatives reproduce maps of Fort Morris and Liberty County, Georgia, as well as a strip of photographs of camping in the woods. The sole artifact is one of Lucy Suddarth Midget’s baby shoes.

Both Lucy and Gordon’s journals from 1901-1906 reveal goings-on at the Tennessee School for the Deaf as well as personal feelings toward events and people they encountered. Some of Gordon’s school assignments survived and are comprise the school records folder. The photographs are primarily portraits and group photographs of Midget family members including Gordon and Lucy, however many are unidentified. Among the rest are a photograph of the 1907 Tennessee School for the Deaf girls’ basketball team, the 1904 Tennessee School for the Deaf football team, and the school’s baseball team. David T. Suddarth, Lucy’s brother, is pictured in his World War I uniform. He served in Co. B, 114th machine gun battalion, 30th Division.

Dates

  • circa 1890-1964
  • Majority of material found within circa 1900-1942

Conditions Governing Use

Material is available for research. Prior arrangement MUST be made by contacting the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection at mcclung-archivist@knoxlib.org

Biographical / Historical

Harvey Gordon Midget was born on September 9, 1888, in Jennings, Tennessee, to George William Midget and Drucilla Smartt Midget. He began attending the Tennessee School for the Deaf around 1896 and graduated in 1905. He played both left end and halfback on the school’s football team that won the city championship in 1904, even beating Maryville College in a scrimmage on November 19. He also played right field on the baseball team. At school, Gordon met Lucy Suddarth, a classmate, and the pair married on December 23, 1908.

Lucy was born on September 28, 1888, in Sumner County to Davis T. Suddarth and Nannie Majors Suddarth. Lucy attended the school from 1897 until at least 1907, where she participated on the girls’ basketball team. After getting married, the couple moved to Nashville, where Gordon built ranges for Phillips, Buttorff and Co. They moved back to Knoxville in 1910, and Gordon began teaching shoemaking at his alma mater. In 1918, Gordon and Lucy opened the Midget Shoe Shop at 109 Gay Street.

On Labor Day, 1934, Gordon was seriously injured when he was struck by a car at Inskip Racetrack. He remained hospitalized for nearly a month, receiving three blood transfusions. On Monday, January 19, 1942, a paste board sign fell against the stove at the Midget Shoe Shop on 109 Gay Street and ignited. The fire, and subsequent water, damaged the floor, walls, wiring, and skylight. Luckily the store was insured and ultimately repaired and reopened. Throughout his adult life, Gordon was an active member in the National Association of the Deaf and served as vice president of the Tennessee Association of the Deaf treasurer of the Tennessee Deaf Mute Society. He died on December 26, 1976, and is buried in Manchester City Cemetery, Manchester, Tennessee. Lucy died on August 12, 1978, and is buried alongside her husband.

George Thomas Midget was born on May 8, 1911, to Harvey Gordon Midget and Lucy Suddarth Midget. He attended Knoxville High School where he participated in drama. He married Aretta Carr Bundren on December 20, 1928. The pair had at least one child, Aretta Nova Midget. George worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, stationed at places such as Fort Peck, Montana, and the Panama Canal Zone. He and Aretta divorced sometime between 1935 and 1940. He then married Evelyn Moody Midget, and the pair had one child, Gordon Moody Midgette. George and Evelyn divorced in 1953. He subsequently married Marjorie Midget and they remained together until their divorce in 1970. George died on December 28, 1977, and is buried with his parents in Manchester, Tennessee.

Extent

4 boxes

Language of Materials

English

Status
Completed
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection Repository

Contact:
601 S Gay Street
3rd floor
Knoxville Tennessee 37902 United States
865.215.8814