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TSLA's Hardy A. Mitchener World War II POW diary was recently featured on the PBS series, "Tennessee Crossroads." Watch below as the host, Joe Elmore, discusses the diary with the Mitchener's relatives.


A Unique Primary Source for Teachers and Students from the Tennessee State Library and Archives: Hardy A. Mitchener, Jr.'s, P.O.W. Diary from World War II
This hour-long program details some of the ways in which teachers and students can learn more about World War II through the study of one American POW's diary. The author of the diary, Hardy A. Mitchener, Jr., was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 509th Bombardment Squadron, 351st Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force, stationed in Polebrook, England, during World War II. He was shot down and captured on May 30, 1944, after a bombing mission in Oschersleben, Germany, and sent to Stalag Luft III shortly thereafter. During his stay at this POW camp in Sagan, Germany, known principally for the famous “Great Escape” that took place in March of 1944, Mitchener kept a diary of his experiences. The diary contains detailed drawings of life at the camp as well as documentation of the prisoners’ rapid evacuation of Stalag Luft III on January 27, 1945.

Discovering Primary Sources at the Tennessee State Library and Archives: Spotlighting Utopian Communities in Tennessee
This hour-long program focuses on two Utopian communities that were established in Tennessee: Rugby and The Farm. Rugby, located in northern Morgan County, was established during the 1880s by English author and social reformer Thomas Hughes; he hoped to create a model community where young elite English men could work together with Americans, free from the traditional British upper class stigma against labor. The village of Rugby soon became home to approximately 450 residents. Homes, a library, a school, recreational facilities, and a church were constructed for residents, as well as an elaborate hotel, the Tabard Inn, for guests. The other site of interest, The Farm, is located in Lewis County, near Summertown, Tennessee. This intentional Utopian community was founded in 1971 by a small group of people with a spiritual commitment to simple living and self-reliance. Three decades later, the community peaked at 1,500 residents, and is now home to about 200 like-minded people.

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