Encyclopedia of the Jackson Purchase

William H. Mulligan, Jr. 's picture
Call for Papers
December 31, 2023
Kentucky, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, African American History / Studies, Geography, Local History, Social History / Studies

Encyclopedia of the Jackson Purchase

The Jackson Purchase Historical Society (JPHS) is pleased to announce a major new initiative for its 60th Anniversary and the Bicentennial of the Jackson Purchase, both of which take place in 2018. We invite contributors to a comprehensive encyclopedia of the Jackson Purchase. This will be an open access resource about the Purchase’s history broadly and inclusively defined.  We see this as including individuals, families, businesses, organizations, and industries as well as broad themes in American history and culture. We also see this as an ongoing, long-term commitment to preserve the history of the Jackson Purchase region, including both the eight counties in Kentucky that were part of that purchase and the border counties in Tennessee. We acknowledge that the original Purchase included more of Tennessee, but historically much of the original Tennessee area’s identity has drifted away from being part of the Jackson purchase to a broader identification as West Tennessee. We will consider inclusions from those areas on a case-by-case basis.

As an online resource, the encyclopedia will have no set deadlines and will continue to grow as more entries are submitted and published. It will remain a work in progress just as the Jackson Purchase’s history remains a work in progress. To avoid duplication of effort, please submit (to JPHS, PO BOX 531, Murray KY 42071) the topic or topics you would like to write about, a brief rationale for their inclusion, and your name and contact information before beginning work. As the project develops we may contact individuals with requests. We expect most entries to be 500 to 1000 words, but know some will, of necessity, be longer due to their significance. The exact length of entries can be discussed and agreed between the author and the editors. Our main objective is to be as inclusive and as complete as possible and provide sufficient information to satisfy the needs of inquiring individuals. Part of satisfying this need will be met by providing bibliographic references that can be consulted for additional information. We do not anticipate many lengthy essays in any instance. Such pieces might better be submitted as articles to our Journal. As a way to promote the project, we will send out essays to local media: print, radio, and television as brief features once we have begun. Authors will be credited and the essays will be signed with the author’s name. Instead of footnotes, we preferred that authors supply a list of sources at the end of each essay. We will be reluctant to include an essay that does not have sources. Sources are essential for encouraging follow-up work by students and individuals with a deeper interest in the subject as well as providing a check on the accuracy of the information. We will probably not have the resources and access to experts to subject every essay to peer review, but will trust to authors to be truthful and as accurate as possible. Providing references to allow follow-up and further review of their claims and statements is a form of quality control check. As a general rule, living persons will not be included, but active corporations, churches, and community groups will be. The Encyclopedia of the Jackson Purchase may not be perfect, but we will strive to make it as accurate as possible.

Submission Guidelines

All entries should be submitted as email attachments in Microsoft Word to facilitate editing. Authors will receive edited copy for their approval before it is posted in the on-line encyclopedia. Essays can be updated, but not directly on line. Amendments shouldbe submitted in the same way the original essay was. This is to protect the integrity of the entries and the overall Encyclopedia. For consistency, we prefer Times New Roman 12 point as the font to be used. Illustrations, if any, should be submitted separately and should include a full caption and information about ownership/source of the image and permission for its use. As stated above it is advisable to contact the project before submitting an entry to avoid duplication. We have considered developing a list of topics and subjects, but that appears to be dangerous in that the range of individuals, organizations, and individuals who have made significant contributions to the history of the many counties that compose the Jackson Purchase is not easily captured by one or two people. Instead, we hope this general call will engage historians who study the various counties within the Jackson Purchase to tell us over time what is needed to be included to accurately reflect the history of their county. We hope that this will be a “small d” democratic encyclopedia that is informed and guided by local knowledge of local history.


The primary purpose of the encyclopedia is to record the history of the Jackson Purchase by focusing on the lives of significant individuals and their work, to look at businesses and industries that have been significant contributors to the economy and the growth of the Purchase, and to look at organizations that have shaped the lives of its citizens. These would include schools, fraternal organizations, churches, political parties, and other organized clubs. Individuals need not have been born in the Purchase or have made their primary career contribution in the Purchase, but they either should have been born in the Purchase for made their principal contribution to society in the Purchase. Their significance can be entirely local --minister of a church in the region, mayor or councilman in a city within the Purchase, etc. We want to go beyond politics to include all aspects of life – education, religion, recreation, etc. While we want there to be some significance to the person or organization, we do not want to set the bar so high as to exclude people who made a difference in the Jackson Purchase’s the history and development. If in doubt consult the co-directors.

Questions and/or correspondence regarding the project should be sent to JPHS President Bill Mulligan, who will serve initially as project contact and co-director. Journal Editor James Humphreys will also be a co-director. The project can be reached at billmulligan@murray–ky.net or Jackson Purchase Historical Society, PO Box 531, Murray, KY 42071.

Contact Info: 

William H. Mulligan, Jr.,  President
Jackson Purchase Historical Society
PO Box 531
Murray KY 42071-0009