Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the Tennessee Valley Authority Papers

Accession Number: 77
Tennessee Valley Authority Papers
Bulk Dates: 1933-1983
2.8 linear ft.
Online Catalog Record (BANC)


Series I - Agriculture
Series II - Architecture
Series III - Economy/ Finances
Series IV - General
Series V - Health and Safety
Series VI - Industrial Development
Series VII - Natural Resources
Series VIII - Power
Series IX - Recreation
Series X - Water Management

Access and Use:

Preferred citation: Tennessee Valley Authority Collection, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, Ky.


This collection preserves many materials relating to the development of the Tennessee Valley Authority energy program. It contains information on agriculture, architecture, economy and finances, natural resources, power, recreation, and water management. The information is provided in the form of magazines, pamphlets, photographs, case studies, reports, and booklets.


On May 18, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act creating a new agency owned by the federal government. It would concentrate on developing ways to improve the Tennessee Valley region by using resources available. It recommended that additional measures be taken to promote "an orderly and proper physical, economic, and social development" of the area.

When the TVA was created, there were some 230,000 residential consumers of electricity in the area it now serves. The entire power program was an experiment. No one could measure the effect of a deliberate effort to provide electricity "at the lowest possible rate," not to assure profits but to encourage use. However, the use of electricity increased so dramatically that eventually the TVA constructed nuclear plants to meet the normal system load growth.

In 1933, about half the people of the Tennessee Valley lived on farms with an average size of seventy acres. Soil depletion became a major problem for farmers. The combination of electricity, new plant food, and the patient application of technical knowledge has reversed the cycle of soil depletion that threatened the Valley's land resource in the 1930s.

Today a system of thirty-three major dams on the Tennessee and its major tributaries control the river's flow. The major water control projects built by TVA are multipurpose. They prevent flood damage, generate electric energy for the region's use, and provide a year-round navigation channel from Paducah, Kentucky, at the river's mouth to Knoxville, where the Tennessee begins.

The TVA has contributed to reduction of pollution, designed waste disposal systems, undertaken economic studies, demonstrated improved methods of forest management and wood utilization, and advanced the changes in farm practices required to restore fertility to the soil. The TVA went beyond water control and pollution prevention to preservation efforts focused on landmarks, buildings, and homes along the river.

(All information above was gathered from material in the collection or from The Tennessee Valley Authority, by Marguerite Owen.)

7 Manuscript Boxes

Series I Correspondence (1899-1935) Box 1


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