UT Photo Book Offers Rare Scopes Images

KNOXVILLE — A new book from the University of Tennessee Press chronicles the historic Scopes trial using rare photos from the UT library.

“The Scopes Trial: A Photographic History” coincides with the 75th anniversary of the trial, July 10-21, which convicted a Rhea County teacher of a misdemeanor for teaching evolution to high school students.

Dr. Edward Caudill, a UT communications professor, compiled the book from photos in UT Special Collections. The UT archives also include papers from contemporaries of Scopes, Dayton city attorney Sue K. Hicks and Rhea County school board chairman F.E. Robinson, who also ran a drugstore in Dayton.

Caudill said the book was the result of a suggestion by James Lloyd, head of special collections, who persuaded Caudill to look over a box of photos and more than nine feet of shelved papers in the UT library.

Lloyd said that most of the papers, which include correspondence, news clippings and court testimony, were donated to the university in 1981 and 1982. He said the library continues to seek additions to the collection.

“These papers are priceless, when you talk about the creation-evolution controversy,” Caudill said. “If you’re going to do research on the trial, you come to East Tennessee to collections at Bryan College and at the University of Tennessee.”

Caudill, associate communications dean for graduate studies and research, oversaw the preparation of the book and wrote the introduction.

University of Georgia history and law professor Edward Larson, whose book on the Scopes trial won a Pulitzer prize for history in 1998, provided narrative captions for the photos. Knoxville journalist Jesse Mayshark wrote an afterword on the impact of the trial on current Tennessee policy and politics.