A few months ago, a descendant of the Harding-Jackson family donated two family Bibles to Belle Meade Plantation. One is a simple printing clearly produced for everyday use. The other is a beautiful presentation Bible given to General and Selene Harding Jackson upon their marriage in 1868.

Tucked in the pages of the beautifully bound book are scraps of fabric, pressed flowers, little notes, and death announcements. I always wonder why we keep the things we do. Did the Jackson family ever imagine their home would become one of the most visited museums in Nashville? Did they ever think that their old family mementos would be on display for everyone to see? Likely not.  That seems to be why I look at these things and wonder,”Why did they keep that?”

When we are gone, will future generations be able to peek into the depths of our private lives? Will they find slips of paper tucked into books or will they have access to our emails through some sort of advanced archiving system? I hope that in this day of modern technology that some of us keep little things tucked away for someone to find in the future. I hope despite the progress and forward thinking in our world, we hold on to things dear to us with the same sentimentality of our Victorian ancestors.


John Lamb
Belle Meade Plantation Curator



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *