IEEE East Tennessee Section History

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For several years before 1936, J. Elmer Housley, Dr. J. G. Tarboux, Chase Hutchison, E. E. George, and other active members of A.I.E.E. in East Tennessee felt the need for a Section in the eastern part of the state. Several persons associated with the electrical industry expressed their desire to join the Institute if a local Section was formed but there were not enough members and applicants for the formation of a new section. The beginning of TVA and the expansion of local electrical industries increased the number of Institute members in the area. This created the need for a local Section.

On May 25, 1936, the Board of Directors of the A.I.E.E. authorized the establishing of the East Tennessee Section. The Board assigned to it all the State of Tennessee east of the boundaries of Williamson, Robertson, Davidson, Marshall, and Giles counties. The first meeting was on September 2, 1936, and the Section organized, with Chase Hutchison as the first chairman and 52 charter members.

Centennial Archiving Project 1884-1984

As part of its observance of the IEEE Centennial in 1984, the East Tennessee Section has completed its centennial archiving project, an effort which involved gathering in, creening, and organization of past East Tennessee Section records for microfilching and eventual preservation in archival libraries. The project was initiated at the suggestion of 1984-85 Section Chairman J. Reece Roth, and was enthusiastically adopted by the Executive Committee of the East Tennessee Section at its July, 1984 meetings. At that meeting, the Section officers were authorized to spend up to $500 of the Section reserve, currently inversted in an IEEE headquarters account. In August, 1984, the Section was able to obtain support from Mr. Robert S. Duggan, Jr. Director of the IEEE Region 3, who authroized the transfer of $650 of Region 3 "needy section funds" to the East Tennesse Section to support its centennial archiving project.

The Centennial Archiving Committee consisted of the following members: J. Reece Roth, Chairman; Richard F. Keck; John W. Crabtree; Paul Micale; William H. Dainwood; Lawrence Peterfruend; Clarence H. Mock. The local section was particularly fortunate to have the assistance of John Crabtree, a charter member of the East Tennessee Section when it was founded in 1936. The other members of this committee were past chairmen of officers of the East Tennesee section.

The procedure follweod by the committee was as follows: In the September, October, and November newsletters, an appeal was made to members of the East Tennessee Section to turn in any past records of the Section which they had in their files or of which they had knowledge. This appeal produced a two-drawer filing cabinet in the basement of Ferris Hall, the Electrical Engineering Department at UTK, which contained about 15 years wirth of records: and numerous individual file folders which had been passed on from one officer to the next. By the time the committee was ready to start work in early December, 1984, approximately 4 file drawers of material had been accumulated. The Centennial Archiving Comittee met on three Saturdays, December 15, 1984, January 26, 1985, and February 23, 1985. The Committee found it necessary to spend approximately 100 man hours to screen the records covering 25 years.

The East Tennessee Section is fortunate in having a yearbook which contains at least  one or two paragraphs of information about the activities of each year since its founding in 1936. We also have a complete record of the charter members of the East Tennessee section, and a complete record of the elected officers from its founding to the present. The early hisotry of the East Tennessee section, prior to 1960, is recorded in the East Tennessee Section's yearbook, the most recent edition of which covers the period from 1981-1984. The other archival records available to us contain only spotty records of committee chairmanships and events prior to 1960.

During the first 25 years of its history, the East Tennessee Section met alternately in Chattanooga and Knoxville, with the chairmanship of the East Tennessee Section alternating between individula from those two cities. By 1961, however, a consensus had grown that it was time to split the East Tennessee Section (then the AIEE) into two distinct sections. When this division occured in 1961, the Knoxville Section retained the East tennessee Section name and the members in Chattanooga became an independent section. The almost complete absence of archival records, including minutes of meetings, financial records, newsletters, and records of meetings prior to 1960, is probably occasioned by the fact that when the Section split in 1961, the early recrods of the East Tennessee Section remained with the Chattanooga Section, and not in Knoxville.

When the Centennial Archiving Committee started its work, it found a continuous and complete archival record of the East Tennessee Section's affairs from 1960 through 1984, but these records were intermixed with a large number of duplicate copies, rough drafts, routine mailings, emmos from IEEE Headquarters and Region 3, and other material not worthy of archival preservation. Ultimately, the committee reduced the bulk of thjis material to about 20% of the original bulk by careful screening.

The material in the archives is filed under seven major headings for each year. The year used in teh archives is the activity year, which is set by the bylaws of the East Tennessee Section from July 1 through June 30. Within each activity year the archival records are classified into the following seven categories:

  1. Reports - which include the results of the election for the activity year in question, a roster of elected and appointed offficers, and, where available, the chairman's report summarizing the activities of the year.
  2. Financial Reports - these include local section budgets, correspondence with IEEE headquarters about financial matters, and the yearly reports required by IEEE headquarters, usually on a calendar year basis.
  3. Newsletters and Meeting Announcements - The newsletters and meeting announcements which are circulated to the memebrship, usualy on a monthly basis, are included, along with the report of the meetings sent to the IEEE headquarters. The reports sent to heasdquarters usually record the number of memerbs and guests in attendance.
  4. Minutes - The minutes of the executive or cabinet meetings of the East Tennesee Section are included, as well as minutes of any chapter active during that year. The minutes also usually include the yearly reports from the individual functional committee chairment at the end of the year, and other records of decisions taken by the section officers.
  5. The Section Yearbook - The East Tennesee Section yearbook is included when it was published. In recent years, because of the financial burden, the East Tennessee Section has been printing its own yearbook only every thrid  year. In earlier years, the yearbook was usually published on a yearly basis.

Further Reading

Link to Section Homepage

IEEE Geographic Unit Organizing Document - East Tennessee