Collection Title:

Ruth White Papers, 1949-1958, undated


The Holloway Archives at Milligan University
P. H. Welshimer Memorial Library
200 Blowers Blvd.
Milligan, TN 37682


Ruth White


Ruth White Papers, 1949-1958, undated

Collection No.



1 cubic foot (1 box)




Ruth White was choir director at Milligan from 1951 to 1957 and helped to build the choir, music, and theatre programs. The Ruth White Papers contain photos, programs, music, correspondence, and more related to Ms. White’s time as choir director at Milligan College in the 1950s.

Biographical Note:

Not much is known about Ruth White, at least in connection to Milligan College. She taught music and was the choir director at Milligan from 1951 through 1957. Her biographical information before coming to Milligan College is mostly unknown. It is believed that she was originally from Beech Creek, Pennsylvania and went to college in that area. While at Milligan she was actively involved in building the choir, music, and theatre programs. She helped organize many Milligan events, such as the Founders Day celebration, and had the choir participate in most of them. Ruth White had a semiprofessional singing and performance career in addition to her teaching and directing job at Milligan College and would travel around the area performing. She participated in many community performances. One such performance was “Up in Central Park” in 1951 in Johnson City. In her last year at Milligan Ruth White was married. Although we do not know the name of her husband, her name became Ruth Wagner.


This collection was gathered by Ruth White, former choir director at Milligan College. It was sent to Milligan College by a care-taker while moving Ms. White into an assisted living residence. Eric Nauman finished processing this collection on February 8, 2007. It involved placing the many photos in the collection into Mylar, copying numerous newspaper articles onto acid-free paper, placing them in new boxes and writing a finding aid. The collection was received in no particular order so chronological order was imposed by the processor. The collection is divided into four series: I. Series: Photos, 1949-1958, undated; II. Series: Milligan College Choir, 1951-1955, undated; III. Series: Personal Correspondence, 1951-1956, undated; IV. Series: Papers: 1949-1957, undated.

Scope and Content Note:

This collection contains photos, newspaper clippings, choir programs, personal correspondence, and various other papers from Mrs. Ruth White. The materials in this collection range from 1949 to 1958 and include undated material. There is one box with four series in this collection.

The photos series spans 1949 to 1958 and include undated material. This collection contains many photos, many of them in excellent condition. These photos are of a variety of subjects such as choir events, theatrical productions, historic individuals of Milligan College, and various Milligan College activities. In some of the photos the subjects are identified, however, in many the subjects are not identified. Many of the photos are also not dated.

The Milligan College Choir series spans 1951 to 1955 and includes undated material. This series contains materials related to Ruth White and the Milligan College Choir. It includes concert programs, newspaper articles, scripts, song lists, sheet music, materials related to choir tours, as well as other miscellaneous, choir-related materials. When possible, these materials were arranged in chronological order from 1951 to 1955. There is also a separate folder within the dated category that contains materials related to the 1955 choir tour. There is also a folder containing non-dated choir-related materials.

The Personal Correspondence series spans 1951 to 1956 and includes undated material. This series contains a variety of mailings and letters to Ruth White. Included in this collection are personal letters from family and friends, mostly from Beech Creek, Pennsylvania. Also included in the collection is business correspondence related to her job as choir director at Milligan College. Senders of these letters include the President of Milligan College Dean Walker, prospective students, public school officials, organizations for whom the choir performed, businesses and associations who were advertising products or services. There is also a separate category for fan mail to Ruth White in response to television performances. The correspondence in this series was arranged in chronological order and separated by year. Some of the materials were not dated and they were placed in a separate folder.

The Papers series spans 1949 to 1957 and includes undated material. This series is a compilation of materials that Ruth White collected before, during, and after her term as Milligan College choir director. It contains many materials that have a variety of classifications and subjects. It includes newspaper articles, church bulletins, brochures, programs from theatrical performances, cast lists, as well as many other types of materials. Some of the subjects of this series are Ruth White’s vocal and theatrical performances, performances by students of Ruth White, local theatrical performances, subjects related to Johnson City and the surrounding area, as well as subjects having no relevance to Milligan College or east Tennessee. The series was arranged in chronological order and separated by year. Part of the series was not dated and was placed in a separate, marked folder.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information:

Accession 01-02-2007

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

The archivist reserves the right to determine on a case-by-case basis if certain folders within the collection that have been requested for viewing cannot be made available due to various restriction compliance, including but not limited to student information, private personal information, and organizational information of a restricted nature.

Preferred Citation:

[Item], Ruth White Papers, Collection C0032, The Holloway Archives at Milligan University, Milligan, TN.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Eric Nauman

Completed in 2007.

Folder List

Box 1

I. Series: Photos, 1949-1958, undated

  • Folder 1

  • Folder 2

  • Folder 3

  • Folder 4

II. Series: Milligan College Choir, 1951-1955, undated

  • Milligan College Choir, 1951-1955

  • Milligan College Choir, undated

III. Series: Personal Correspondence, 1951-1956, undated

  • Correspondence, 1951-1953

  • Correspondence, 1954

  • Correspondence, 1955

  • Correspondence, 1956

  • Television Fan Mail, 1953-1954, undated

  • Correspondence, undated

IV. Series: Papers: 1949-1957, undated

  • Papers, 1948-1951

  • Papers, 1952

  • Papers, 1953

  • Papers, 1954

  • Papers, 1955-1957

  • Papers,

    • Folder 1, undated

    • Folder 2, undated

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