Upcoming Heartland Series to include Maryville College as part of its hour-long special on Sept. 25

Sept. 21, 2010
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, News and New Media Writer
865.981.8209; chloe.kennedy@maryvillecollege.edu

The next hour-long WBIR Heartland Series special airs Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. on NBC. Look for some special moments that feature Maryville College.

“In Search of 1939” features a special look at some Maryville College history, some student reflections and perspective from the College’s new president.

In 1939, the book Tennessee: A Guide to the State was published. It was the work of the Federal Writers Project, a New Deal program to provide employment for teachers, librarians and writers.

"The writers in 1939 devoted a significant amount of attention to Maryville College. It is a beautiful place, and you can see why,” said Stephen Dean, creator and producer of the original Heartland Series. “The book was in fact a tour guide. But when we retrace their footsteps, the story becomes very rich and intriguing. They write about the proud abolitionist past of the college but fail to mention in 1939 Maryville College was segregated by state law. President Bogart provided us with great insight on how that came about and how it was changed in the years ahead. The people who watch this will learn a lot about the spirit of Maryville College. "

The Heartland Series has earned three Emmy awards since it first aired in 1984 on WBIR-TV. The program has been nominated in 2010 for a fourth Emmy.

The 1939 book is essentially a travel guide as the state is divided into 16 tours. The Heartland Series, in a special hour-long program, retraces the steps of the writers on one of the tours. The tour begins in Norris, Tenn., and ends in the little community of Tennga, Ga., just across the state line.

“In Search of 1939” provides a fascinating look at how East Tennessee has changed physically and what the area values as historically important,” said Dean.

The 1939 tour stopped in Maryville and focused most of its narrative on Maryville College. The writers relate the College’s history to include its founding and abolitionist influence during the Civil War. The Heartland Series uses an interesting visual technique to compare the campus of the early 1900s to present day.

The technique blends photographs taken from the same perspective but nearly 100 years apart in time. The modern view is gradually replaced with the older view, and the landscape change is remarkable.

Maryville College’s new president, Dr. Tom Bogart, appears on the special, contrasting the college of 71 years ago to today. Retired Registrar Martha Hess provides updated information on artifacts the writers found on campus in 1939. And students Emily Julian and Donald Rucker have unique reactions to the very strict expectations for student behavior in the 1930s.

“This look back at Maryville College gives great meaning to the college’s mission today,” said Mary Leidig, director of marketing at Maryville College. “We’re delighted to be a ‘stop’ in this unusual travel guide from 1939 and humbled to be part of an award-winning program like The Heartland Series.”


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 1,168.