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.

During the year 1937-1938 nine meetings were held with an average attendance of 87. Section Institute membership increased to 102 and local membership increased to four.

During the year 1938-1939 the memberships increased to 108 Institute members and 10 local members. Alternate monthly meetings were held in Knoxville and Chattanooga and a joint meeting was held with Muscle Shoals, Memphis, and Alabama Sections and Student branches from Universities of Alabama, Auburn, Vanderbilt and the University of Tennessee. The Section took an active part in endorsing the model law for registration of professional engineers.

During the Period from 1939 to 1946, the members were busy on preparation for war and actual war effort. Travel was discouraged and later restricted to result in local meetings, which were combined with A.S.C.E., A.S.M.E., and other professional societies. Technical group meetings were held and attendance was good. The membership increased to 288 in 1945, and this section grew from twentieth to seventeenth in size among all Sections.

In 1946-1947, restrictions on travel were removed and 25 regular meetings and additional technical meetings were held. The membership increased from 288 to 313. Mr. J. E. Housley, from East Tennessee Section, was National President.

During 1947-1948, the Section membership increased to 342 members. Part of this increase was due to the organization of Oak Ridge Sub-Section. A total of thirty regular and technical meetings were held with one joint meeting in Athens and a social outing at Tapoco and the annual business and technical meeting at Watts Bar. The Southern District Student Conference was held at The University of Tennessee on April 9 and 10.

During 1949-1950, the Oak Ridge Sub-Section became Oak Ridge Section of the Institute. Roane and Anderson counties were assigned to Oak Ridge Section. After losing approximately 100 members to Oak Ridge, the East Tennessee Section had 333 members before Muscle Shoals Sub-Section was added. The Muscle Shoals Section became Muscle Shoals Sub-Section and was added to East Tennessee Section at the end of the year. In addition to twenty-three regular meetings in Knoxville and Chattanooga, one joint meeting was held with Oak Ridge Section.

The year 1950-51 was a year marked by many technical programs and by some growth in membership to offset the losses to the Oak Ridge Section last year. During the year, 34 members were added to give a net total of 345 members. The boundary between the East Tennessee Section and the Nashville Section was further defined by an agreement with the Nashville Section. This boundary was definitely defined and a report made to the national organization.

In the year 1951-52, the membership increased to a total of 353, twenty-nine new members being received during the year. In addition to twenty-three regular technical meetings, two social meetings were held.

John D. Harper was elected National Vice-President from District 4 for the 1951-53 term, but served only three months before moving to Texas.

In the years 1953-1954, Sub-Sections were formed at Tullahoma, Tennessee and Hunstville, Alabama. This was reflected by the development of special engineering projects in this area. These Sub-Sections were very helpful to the membership growth in that the Section’s membership increased sharply to 406 by August 1, 1954. Three general meetings were held during this period, one of which was at the Arnold Engineering Works at Tullahoma and another at the Kingston Steam Plant of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

C. P. Almon, Jr. served as Secretary of District Four for the two-year term 1951-31, and as National Voce-President from District Four for the 1953-1955 two year term.

In the two years 1955-1957, the Section continued to experience a substantial membership growth and to have more meetings. The activities of the several Sub-Sections were a major contributor to this increase.

Considerable visitation of the membership between the Section and Sub-Section was also a visitation of the membership between the Section and Sub-Sections was also of benefit to the Section as a whole.

At the Annual Meeting, in May 1957, a change in the Bylaws was approved which required the incoming officers to assume office on June 1 rather than August 1.

During the year 1958-1959, the Section membership continued to increase. By the last August, 1959, there was a total of 550 members. During this same period the Upper East Tennessee Sub-Section was formed. L. R. Sellers received the Fellow Award for contributions to coordination of design of large hydroelectric and steam electric plants.

At the annual meeting the Section Bylaws were amended. Sections 13 and 14 were changed so that in the future a biographical sketch of each candidate would be included with the ballot for the election of officers.

The years 1959-1961 were very eventful. Effective December 1959, the Tullahoma Sub-Section was granted Section status and became the Middle Tennesee Section. IN February 1961, the Huntsville Sub-Section became the North Alabama Section with the Muscle Shoals Sub-Section attached. Sections 35,36, and 37 of the Bylaws have been cancelled to reflect these changes. The total membership of the East Tennessee Section, after these changes, was reduced to 402 (January 1, 1962).

During this period the East Tennessee Section became part of District 13 after the division of District 4 into District 4 and District 13. IN October 1961, the East Tennessee Section was host to the District 13 executive committee meeting at Gatlinburg.

Effective June 1, 1962, the East Tennessee Section was divided into two sections, one becoming the Chattanooga Section with headquarters in that city and the other with headquarters in Knoxville retaining the East Tennessee Section name. The Upper East Tennessee Sub-Section, with headquarters at Kingsport, remained a part of the East Tennessee Section. After formation of the new section, the East Tennessee Section, including the Upper East Tennessee Sub-Section, had a total of 211 members.

Many changes occurred during 1963 and 1964. Effective January 1, 1963, the AIEE merged with the IRE to become the IEEE. On March 19, 1963, the East Tennessee Section voted to merge at the Section level and petitioned the Headquarters of the IEEE to be recognized at the East Tennessee Section of the IEEE. On December 31, 1963, a petition for the establishment of an East Tennessee Section Chapter of the Professional Technical Group on Power was created. This petition included names of fifty-four members. On July 1, 1964, the official beginning of the charter chapter on the Power Group was recognized by IEEE Headquarters and began operations.

During the 1965-1966 year the Section held eight general meetings, the annual business and social meeting at Tapoco Lodge, and a Section technical conference. The later, consisting of a full –day technical program at the University of Tennessee, plus an inspection trip to Bull Run Steam Plant, was unique in that this was one of the first local conferences of this type held in the IEEE. Attendance at the 10 general meetings averaged 53.9 during the year. The Power Technical Group conducted four technical meetings during the year, and at the close of the fiscal year in June the Section’s second Professional Technical Group on Communications Technology was organized with 15 charter members. Paul C. Cromwell received the Fellow Award for contribution to electrical engineering education and research.

Professor Robert R. Riesz of Union College, Barbourville, Kentucky, was honored at the March 8, 1966 Section meeting by the presentation of a Fellow certificate. Professor Riesz was elected Fellow based on his work with the Bell Telephone Laboratory.

The IEEE Power Generation Committee held their 1967 Spring Meeting in Knoxville. This meeting included a trip to the Bull Run Steam Plant and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Technical session included four papers on batteries and static inverters.

On January 1, 1967, Mead Warren, Aluminum Company of America, Alcoa, Tennessee, was elevated to the grade of Fellow. He was cited ‘for contributions in the field of power generation and transmission including specific contributions which advanced the State of the art in communication, telemetering, and the development of preventative maintenance.”

During the 1967-68 year, general meetings of the Section were on the theme of Engineering Education. Deans of Engineering from various Southeastern Universities were the speakers. The Professional Technical Group Chapters in Communications and Power provided technically oriented programs in their respective fields of interest.

Late in 1968 the Section extended an invitation to the Institute to hold its 1972 region II Convention in Knoxville. The invitation was accepted and the Convention was planned for April 10, 11 and 12, 1972. Dr. J. Frank Peirce, General Chairman stated that plans are progressing nicely and are on schedule.
During the 1968-69 year, the Section held nine general meetings and the annual business and social meeting at the Tapoco Lodge, with an average attendance of 51. The Group Chapters held meetings as follows: Comm-Tech two (avg. 20); Power three (avg. 47). The Sub-Section reported three general meetings plus an inspection tour.

During the 1969-70 year, the Section held eight general meetings and the annual business and social meeting at Tapoco Lodge, with an average attendance of 52. The Power Group Chapter held three meetings with an average attendance of 18. The Sub-Section reported three general meetings.

Membership in the East Tennessee Section has continued to grow over the years. BY May 1970, membership in the Section was 240, plus 65 in the Upper East Tennessee Sub-Section, and 103 in the student branch at the University of Tennessee.

On January 1, 1970, Chancellor Charles H. Weaver, the University of Tennessee, was elected a Fellow Member of IEEE. He was cited “for leadership in engineering systems.” Presentation of the Certificate of Election was made by John D. Harper, F’50, President of Aluminum Company of America, at the January 1970 meeting.

During the 1970-71 year, the East Tennessee Section held nine general meetings, two of which were joint meetings with the Power Engineering Society chapter, and the annual business and social meeting at Tapoco Lodge. The average attendance at the general meetings was 37. The Power Engineering Society Chapter held two meetings in addition to the two joint meeting with the Section with an average attendance of 27. The Upper East Tennessee Sub-Section reported two general meetings.

Membership in the East Tennessee Section as of May, 1971 was 246, plus 67 in the Sub-Section, and 92 in the Student Branch at The University of Tennesee. Hazen E. House, Fellow, transferred back to the East Tennessee Section.

During the 1971-1972- year, the Section held nine general meetings, two of which were joint meetings with the Power Engineering Society Chapter and the annual business and social meeting at the Hyatt Regency. The average attendance at the general meetings was 52. The Power Engineering Society Chapter held two meetings in addition to the two joint meetings with the Section with an average attendance of 30. The Sub-Section did not report any meetings.

Membership in the East Tennessee Section as of June 1972 was increased substantially to 319, plus 62 in the Upper East Tennessee Section, and 94 in the Student Branch at The University of Tennessee.

The East Tennessee Section was host to the 1972 Southeastern Region III Conference in Knoxville on April 10, 11 and 12, 1972. The technical program, technical exhibits, inspection rips to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Bull Run Steam Plant and Knoxville Utilities Board Facilities, and the ladies activities was all highly successful. The Conference Banquet was addressed by the President of the IEEE, Robert H. Tanner.

The Conference was attended by 395 professional delegates from throughout the world and 230 engineering students from 25 different colleges and universities. All the technical papers and presentations of the Conference were provided in a single publication.

During the 1972-73 year, the Section held nine general meetings, one of which was a joint meeting with the Power Engineering Group Chapter reported four regular meetings in addition to the joint meeting, with an average attendance of 36 members. The Sub-Section reported six meetings with an average attendance of 22 members.

Due to Upper East Tennessee Sub-Section reporting no meeting in 1971-72, a poll was taken to see if there was sufficient interest to continue the Sub-Section. It was voted to recognize and continue. The reorganization was very successful. The Section purchased an IEEE room banner to be used at all meetings this year.

During the 1973-1974 year, the Section held eight general meetings, one of which was a joint meeting with the Power Engineering Society Chapter, with an average attendance of 54 members. The Power Engineering Group held four meetings in addition to the joint meeting with an average attendance of 35. The Sub-Section was active this year with five reported meetings and an average attendance of 15 members.

The East Tennessee Section polled the membership to see if there was sufficient interest in starting a Computer Society Chapter. Very little response was shown and the motion was dropped. Also, the dissolution of the Communication Society Chapter was approved. The Section purchased a podium with mike and continued to support the Engineers Week program and the Science Fair. The Section approved the minor revision of bylaws by removing the Section Constitution, since the Section in governed by the constitution of the Institute. It was announced that Fellow, Boob Rochelle, had transferred to the East Tennessee Section. Awards made at this meeting included the following: Senior Service Award, Raymond Rochat; Service Award, Ben Lamb; and Outstanding Junior Student, David Oglesby.

During the 1974-75 year, the East Tennessee Section held nine general meetings, including a joint meeting with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the annual business and social meeting held at Fall Creek Falls State Park. The average attendance was 63 members. In addition, the Power Engineering Society Chapter held four meetings with an average attendance of 35 members. The Sub-Section was active with seven meetings, reporting an average attendance of 19 meetings.

As of June 1975, membership in the East Tennessee Section was 364, plus an additional 82 in the Upper East Tennessee Sub-Section and 78 in the Student Branch at the University of Tennessee.

During the 1975-76 year, the East Tennessee Section held nine general meetings, one of which was a joint meeting with the Oak Ridge Section, and another of which was the annual business and social meeting held at the Glenstone Lodge in Gatlinburg. The average attendance was 56 members. The Power Engineering Society Chapter held two meetings with an average attendance of 24 members. The Sub-Section was active this year, reporting eight meetings with an average of 18 members attending.

Several events highlights the year including an IEEE display at West Town Mall as a part of Engineers’ Week activities. Also, the Section participated for the first time int eh annual WATTec Conference, formed in 1974 as an interdisciplinary energy conference and exhibition by local technical societies. The Professional Activities Committee was newly formed this year to keep members’ interests up-to-date in this important area.

Membership in the East Tennessee Section as of May 1976, was 335, plus 71 in the Upper East Tennessee Sub-Section, and 130 in the Student Branch at the University of Tennessee.

During the 1976-1977 year, the Section, Sub-Section and PES Chapter held meetings on the following topics: Computerized Axial Tomography, Expo-82, Electrical Engineering Education at the University of Tennessee, Energy Conservation in Housing, Public broadcasting, Fiber Conduit Capabilities, Solid State Relaying, Solar Power via Satellite, Research Opportunities in Space, Energy: The Changing Scene, and Overcurrent Protective Devices.

During the 1977-1978 year, the following topics were heard that the meetings: IEEE Headquarters (IEEE National President – Bob Sanders), Fluorescent Security Lighting, Environmental Law and Technical Issues, Registration of Engineers, Solid State Control System for the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant, Student Paper Contest, Engineering Leadership and Crisis Control, On the Road to Energy Independence, Uses of Micro Processors in Industry, Hierarchy of Control of Interconnected Power Systems, and the World of Standards.

The WATTec session sponsored by the Section featured talks on Evolution of Power Generation Equipment in the TVA system, the Eastern Interconnections of the Brink, the Electric Distribution System and its Responsibility to Meet Customer Load Growth and Continuing Valley Development by Conservative use of Energy.

During the 197801979 year, the following were topics at the meeting of the power Engineering Society: its Structure and Activity, Raccoon Mountain, Role of Engineering in Today’s Society, Computers in the Year 2001, Fiber Optics in Data Acquisition and Control Systems, Noah—The First Engineer, Nuclear Risk—Limits of Probability, Phipps Bend Nuclear Plant, Diagnostic Measurements for Nuclear Plants, Fusion Power and Energy Conversion Alternatives. The Session at WATTec sponsored by the Section was entitled “Energy and the Consumer” with talks on Energy Utilization by Institutions, Efficient Transmission and Distribution of Electrical Energy, Energy Conservation in the Major Appliance Field and Electric Power Resources and Uses. A Survey of the membership was made to ascertain their opinion on professional activities in IEEE. About 10 % of the members responded with a range of opinions. Half of those responding wrote in specific comments, which, in general, were not supportive of professional activities by the IEEE. The results of this survey were forwarded to the IEEE Headquarters.

During the 1979-1980 year, the following topics were heard: Cheoah Hydroelectric Powerhouse (Tapoco, NC), an Overview of Wind-Electric Systems, Video Disc Systems, Programmable Controllers, Ethical Dilemmas: The Public, The Employer and the Engineer, Energy—Political Crisis, University of Tennessee Student Paper Contest, Intrinsic Safety Barriers in Control Loops, K.U.B.’s New SCADA System, Large Horsepower Adjustable Frequency Drives, Microprocessor System and Current Status of World’s Fair. The session at WATTec sponsored by the Section featured talks on Electrical History of the Tennessee Valley, Energy Conservation Assistance to Small Industries in Tennessee, and Role of R&D in Solving the Energy Crisis.

In April 1980, Mike Montgomery of the University of Tennessee won first place in the Region 3 Student Paper Contest at SOUTHEASTCON. He was also one of four recipients from the entire United States to receive a $2000 Computer Society Scholarship for graduate study.

During the 1980-1981 year, the following topics were heard at meetings: Controversial Issues Facing IEEE, General Aspects of MHD, High Power Solid State Linear Amplifiers, Experimental Fusion Reactors, and Electronic Home Banking. This year’s WATTec conference featured talks on: The Electric Vehicle—The Future of Personal Transportation, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), Railroad Electrification in the South and An Historian’s Commentary on America’s Electrification. The Section was especially honored to learn that two of its members, Max Sprouse and Reece Roth, were named Fellows od the IEEE recognition od their outstanding achievements.

During 1981-1982, the following were topics at the meetings: Microprocessor-based Control for a Spacecraft Experiment, Computer Vision and Robotics, the Computer Revolution, Implications of the Magnetic Fusion Energy Engineering Act of 1980, Quality Control Labs, and the Engineering Design Office of TVA.

This year’s WATTec session was organized by Reece Roth and featured talks on: Status of Magnetic Fusion Research, Southeastern Academic Activity in Fusion Energy, Status of Magnetic Fusion Technology, and the Role of Private Industry in Fusion Energy. Charles W. Williams was named Fellow of the IEEE fir his contributions to the development and application of nuclear instrumentation.

The Section and the UT Student Branch participated in the exhibits display at West Town Mall during National Engineers’ Week. Personal Computers and a checkers-playing robot were demonstrated. The Institute upgraded the Upper East Tennessee Subsection due to its increase in membership and activity to become the Tri-Cities Section. John Miller was instrumental in this process.

During 1982-1983, the following were topics at the meetings: Electric Vehicle Technology, Cryptography and Computer Security, Superconducting Generator and Robotics. This year’s WATTec session was organized by Bob Williams and featured talks on Controling the Software Function, Integrated System Approach to Distribution Automation, Economics of Volt/Var Control for Electrical Distribution Systems and Robotics Applications in Nuclear Power Plants.

Lester C. Oakes was named Fellow of the IEEE for his contributions to nuclear power reactor control systems.

During the year, the Student Branch at UT held weekly luncheons featuring professional and technical topics; actively participated in Engineer’s Day on campus; manned an exhibit at West Town Mall during Engineer’s Week; sponsored a variety of social events for students; and attended the Southeastern IEEE Conference in Orlando, FL.

During the 1983-84 year, the following topics were discussed at the meetings: Investment Strategies for Engineers, Selecting Small Computers for Business and Professional Use, Evening Behind the Iron Curtain, Local Area Networks, Clean-Up of Three Mile Island, Counting Single Atoms, and Starting Spin-off Companies. Ralph Hair organized this year’s WATTec session and featured talks in industrial automation in the electric utility industry, design of an automated distribution system, retract thermo-hydraulic model for advanced power plant simulators, new computing trends in the electric utility industry, atmosphere fluidized bed combustion development at TVA a complete reactor vessel monitoring system, general design and design guide for manual solar water heaters, and a turn in the road: Eastman Chemicals from Coal.

Ralph Gonzales was named Fellow of the IEEE for his contributions to the theory and applications of pattern recognition and digital image processing. James C. Hung was named Fellow of the IEEE for his contributions to industrial electronics and control automation.

During the 1984-1985 year, the following were planned topics for the meetings: History of Electric power on Tennessee, IEEE Centennial Lecture – 100 years of progress, electromagnetic pulse and its implications in Electric power and communication systems, status of IEEE Professionalism activities, the future of Nuclear power, atmospheric fluidized bed combustion. Recent advances in process control instrumentation and status of the Tennessee Technology Corridor.

The Executive Committee voted to make a bid for the 1988 Southeast Conference which was accepted and Dr. J. Reece Roth was made General Chairman. Dr. J. Reece Roth chaired the ad hoc Centennial Archiving Committee. Original copies of Section records were put in the UTk Special Collections Library. Microfiche copies were distributed to the IEEE headquarters, adjacent IEEE sections, local historical societies, and libraries.

In fiscal year 1985-1986, a chapters of the Computer Society was organized by Ms. Frances L. Sexton to further enhance the development of computer technology in the East Tennessee and Oak Ridge Sections. A Student Professional Awareness Conference was held at UTK on October 1, 1985 to help students understand and guide their professional development. Four speakers and a panel participated in the Conference. The Section contracted to hold 1988 SOUTHEASTCON in Knoxville at the Hyatt Regency hotel. Topics for programs were: Financial Planning, PEER, Personal Mainframe, Bussman Fuse, Hypercube Parallel Processors, Three Mile Island Cleanup, Variable Frequency Drives, Risk Assessment, Future of Nuclear Power, Cellular Telephone Network, and the Section’s 50th anniversary. A Region 3 Exemplary Section Award was received for activities of the 1984-85 year.

During the 1986-87, meeting topics included: AI tools in Computer-based Problem Solving (joint with Oka Ridge Section, Computer Society, and DPMA), Computer Vision, Positron Emission Tomography. Computer Image Color Processing, Energy in Perspective, The Chernoble Accident, Uninterruptable Power Supplies, A Parallel Symbol-Matching Co-Processor System, and a Himalayan Adventure. The average meeting attendance was 22.

A Full day WATTec, compared to the usual half day, included papers on Applications of Computervision Systems and Industrial Automation – the Connections to Competitiveness. The “Best Technical Paper” award of the conference was received by one od our IEEE speakers, Miek Kerringer. As a result, a $2,000 scholarship was presented to a University of Tennessee senior from graduate work.

The UTK Student Branch had great success with the SPAC. The Branch also received awards in the SOUTHEASTCON ‘87 paper and hardware contests.

During the 1987-88 fiscal year, the meeting topics included: The International Fusion Superconducting Magnet Test Facility, the Power Electronics Applications Center’s mission, Electric Heat Tracing, Probalistic Risk Assessment Techniques, Parallel Computing Architecture, Digital Signal Processing (at WATTec), Synthetic Neural Systems, Alcoa’s Continuous Cold Mill Facility Tour (with SOUTHEASTCON), and China Beyond Beijing. The Oak Ridge Section was given full administration of the Computer Society Chapter that had been parented by both sections. The UTK E. E. students’ news publication “Common Ground” was viewed and the magazine’s use as a recruiting tool noted. SOUTHEASTCON ’88 was hosted April 11-13, 1988, with attendance of 242 professionals and 327 students having 143 professional papers presented and proceedings published. Three cash prizes and six special awards judges were provided for the 19th International Science and Engineering Fair held May 8-14, 1988, at the Knoxville Convention and Exhibition Center.

In fiscal year 1988-89, the State Technical Institute at Knoxville became Pellissippi Stat Technical Community College. Bimal K. Bose was named Fellow of the IEE for his contributions to power electronics and especially drive technology.

The years meeting topics were: Robotics; Reactor Remote Control System; High power Microwave Sources; Power Electronics; Computerized Power Distribution, Automation, and Load Management; Extensive seminar on Hazardous Waste Management (at WATTec); Self Tuning Controllers in process Industries; and Tour of A. E. Staley Manufacturing Co., Loudon, Tennessee expected. The 1985-88 East Tennessee Section yearbook was prepared for publication in the spring of 1989.

Facts about the Section

East Tennessee Section Membership (includes Upper East Tennessee Subsection and University of Tennessee Student Branch as of December of each year.

Year Members
1967 288
1968 293
1969 297
1970 463
1971 475
1972 550
1973 545
1974 591
1975 604
1976 595
1977 634
1978 709
1979 816
1980 849
1981 765
1982 770
1983 795
1984 733

Public Service Highlights:
TSPE Engineers’ Week
Southern Appalachian Science Fair
University of Tennessee Outstanding Student Award
Student Branch Activities
Student Region Activities
Student Dinners
Student Convention Expense

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, screening, and organization of past East Tennessee Section records for micro-fiching 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 invested 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 authorized the transfer of $650 of Region 3 "needy section funds" to the East Tennessee 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 Tennessee section.

The procedure followed 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’ worth 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 Committee 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 history 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 individual 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 occurred 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 records 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, memos from IEEE Headquarters and Region 3, and other material not worthy of archival preservation. Ultimately, the committee reduced the bulk of this 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 the 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 officers, 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 membership, usually on a monthly basis, are included, along with the report of the meetings sent to the IEEE headquarters. The reports sent to headquarters usually record the number of members and guests in attendance.
  4. Minutes - The minutes of the executive or cabinet meetings of the East Tennessee 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 chairmen at the end of the year, and other records of decisions taken by the section officers.
  5. The Section Yearbook - The East Tennessee 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 third year. In earlier years, the yearbook was usually published on a yearly basis.
  6. Correspondence - The correspondence generated by the elected officers, committee chairmen, and other members working on behalf of the local section has been included. All correspondence with IEEE Headquarters and Region 3 has been preserved where it was written by a section officer, or was addressed specifically to a section officer and involved local section business. Routine memos from Region 3 or IEEE headquarters which are routinely distributed to local section officers on their mailing list were not included.
  7. Student Activities - The local section activities which relate to the cultivation of students is filed in this section. This includes not only the interactions between the IEEE East Tennessee Section and the UTK Student Branch, but also the efforts of the IEEE East Tennessee Section to encourage high school students through the Southern Appalachian Regional Science Fair and other activities.
  8. Other Activities - Other major activities like the Southeastcon, which was sponsored by the East Tennessee in 1972, are filed as separate categories in the year in which they occurred.

The Centennial Archiving Committee screened the records in two rounds. The first round of screening activity was done according to the following guidelines: discard duplicate copies, routine memos from IEEE headquarters and Region 3, receipts, checks, bills, and other non-summary financial records prior to 1978 (those after 1978 must be saved for tax purposes), directories and manuals, and guides other that those produced by the Section. The committee was also asked to save the following material: 1. Section directories, 2. financial records after 1978, 3. annual reports, 4. minutes of meetings of section officers, 5. Section newsletters and meeting announcements, 6. budget for the local section, 7. correspondence, not routine memos, 8. photographs, 9. awards information. This first round of screening reduced the bulk of the records by a factor of three.
The records were then subjected to a final round of screening and organization, for which the guidelines were as follows:

  1. Put all the papers in chronological order, with the earliest first.
  2. Check for satisfaction of the classification guidelines given above
  3. Remove staples, binding, paper clips, and other fasteners which might interfere with the micro-fiching of the records.
  4. Remove duplicates, including handwritten originals of final drafts.
  5. Make sure the index tabs are marked.
  6. Put the material in the appropriate year if it is out of chronological order, or if it belongs in some other activity.

This final round of screening reduced the bulk of the records to about 20% of the initial bulk. When the records were in file folders with index tabs for the seven categories listed above, it was then ready to be micro-fiched. The records were taken to the microfiche company, where a master microfilm was made of the records, from which the individual micro-fiched were made. The East Tennessee Section bought 13 copies of the micro-fiched records, which it is intended will be distributed to the following archival repositories:

  1. The Center for the History of Electrical Engineering at IEEE Headquarters.
  2. The Local Section Office at IEEE Headquarters.
  3. The Chairman of IEEE Region 3, for inclusion in Region 3 archival records.
  4. The University of Tennessee Library.
  5. The Library of TVA.
  6. The Library of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  7. The Chairman of the Tri-Cities section of the IEEE, which split off from the East Tennessee Section in the early 1980's and the early records of which are interspersed with the East Tennessee Section Records.
  8. The Chattanooga Section, which was part of the East Tennessee Section until 1961.
  9. The Oak Ridge Section, with which the East Tennessee Section has had many cooperative ventures over the years.
  10. Local Historical Societies.

The original hard copies of the archival records are intended to be deposited with the University of Tennessee's main library for archival record keeping. We would like to apologize in advance for any defects occasioned by this screening process, which was not done by archivists or professional historians. We did not intentionally omit any material which might be embarrassing, and I believe that we preserved all the important records which record the activities of our Section. There may be some variation in the implementation of the guidelines discussed above from one year to the next, depending upon the individual judgment of the committee member who screened that particular year; I hope any such variations will not be too significant.

Further Reading

Link to Section Homepage

IEEE Geographic Unit Organizing Document - East Tennessee