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University of Nashville

Nashville, Tennessee




My own experience in Nashville consisted of a visit to the Ryman Auditorium to hear Grand Ole Opry stars in 1962.  However, has the 1904 Garnet and Blue, the University of Nashville yearbook, in its collection.  That yearbook is a leisurely 224 page presentation done with quality photography and strong student presence in the form of short stories, poems and essays.  It also contains a history of the school.  


A forerunner of the University of Nashville was Davidson Academy, a preparatory school for boys, founded in 1786.  It became Davidson College in 1803 and Cumberland College in 1806.  In 1826 the state of Tennessee chartered the school as the University of Nashville.  In 1850 the Medical School was added.  In 1853 Montgomery Bell gave money for the erection of an academy for orphan boys to be a part of the University; that school was actually begun in 1867.  In 1875 the Peabody College for Teachers was formed.


By the publication of the 1904 Garnet and Blue, the structure of the University of Nashville followed those lines: the Montgomery Bell Academy, the Literary Arts College/Peabody College for Teachers, and the medical school.   Approximately 350 students were enrolled in Literary Arts/Peabody.  Another 125 students—many graduates—were enrolled in a licensure program—the L.I.    The medical college had 269 students in 1904.


Most Nashville students belonged to one of six literary societies.  These were Girls’ Chapter, Alpha Phi, and Peabody for women and Adelphi, Agatheridan, and Erosophian for men.  The literary societies provided an outlet not only for literary activities, but also for oratory and debate, and even for music.  Professional societies were Schoolmaster’s Club for Education students and Alpha Kappa Kappa for the Medical School.  In addition, there were two social sororities and two fraternities, a Y.M.C.A./Y.W.C.A, and numerous supper clubs to provide more social activities.


Some time after 1904, the Medical College was transferred to Vanderbilt University.  In 1909, the University of Nashville closed as an entity, and the campus was transferred to George Peabody Teachers College.

Bricks and Mortar

Davidson College was moved into Nashville in 1806.  By 1850 it was necessary to move from the original buildings, so a new College Building was begun in 1853.  The school began to outgrow that building, so Lindsley Hal—built in the same style—was added in 1856.  Winthrop “Model” School was added in 1890 to house teacher education.  


When the University closed in 1909, the $250,000 campus passed on to the Peabody College entity.  By 1915 Peabody abandoned the campus, becoming a part of the Vanderbilt campus. 


Lindsley Hall served as a hospital for officers during the Civil War.  The only surviving building, it serves as a Metro Office Building today.



         Colors: Given the name of the yearbook, they were likely garnet and blue.


 The Garnet and Blue described 1903-4 as a “formative period” in University of Nashville athletics.  They noted that more money, more support, and more participation were evident during that year, so that a solid foundation had been provided for the future.  The school fielded varsity teams in football, basketball and baseball.  In addition, there were interclass competition for both men and women in basketball and there was a “tennis group” involving both men and women.  Garnet and Blue had great praise for the coeds who supported athletics. 


The 1903 football team lost to Tennessee 10-0 and to Sewanee 6-0.  There were reports that the team would disband after the Sewanee game.  However, a new coach was found and the season continued.  Among later games was one with the University of Tennessee Medics, a 26-0 victory, and one with Mooney School—a 17-5 victory.


By 1904 Nashville was playing a schedule that placed them in the Division-I list.  Opponents included many schools that would end up in the Southeastern Conference—Tulane, LSU, Auburn, Alabama, and Vanderbilt—in addition to Centre and Virginia Tech.




1906 Basketball team (National Collegiate Athletic Association Oficial Basketball Guide

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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