Digital images of one of Nashville’s most famous and historic venues are now available for viewing online in the Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA). These digital images highlight the history and architecture of the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. The exhibit includes photographs, letters, broadsides, programs, and tickets from the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) photograph and manuscript collections. These materials and accompanying information provide a pictorial and cultural history of this famous building and its origins, including images and writings regarding the Ryman Auditorium’s namesake and founder, Captain Thomas G. Ryman and his family.
Erected in 1891 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle, the auditorium was the result of a promise that Thomas Ryman, a steamboat captain, made when he was converted to Christianity. Attending a tent revival service led by evangelist Sam Jones in 1885, Ryman had a religious experience and dedi