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September Lecture Series

Together the Belmont Mansion Association and The Tennessee Historical Society are co-sponsoring a September Lecture Series to be held in Belmont Mansion's Grand Salon.

This series will focus on the Spring 2017 Tennessee Historical Quarterly featuring topics on Adelicia Acklen, Belmont Mansion and grounds, and her family portrait collection.

All lectures are free and open to the public.

Adelicia Acklen: Beyond the “Belmont” Legend and Lore


Adelicia Acklen is well-known for her beautiful home at the center of the Belmont University campus, but most know little about her beyond the house, and a few well-worn stories. In this talk, taken from her recent article 'Adelicia Acklen: Beyond the “Belmont” Legend and Lore,' Dr. Brenda Jackson-Abernathy reveals the character, charm, and place held in 19th-century Nashville of the woman who built the big pink house on the hill."

Presented by: Brenda Jackson-Abernathy, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of History, Belmont University

Belmont Mansion: An Icon of the American Country House Movement


Belmont Mansion appears to be a straightforward historic structure easily recognizable and identifiable. In reality, quite the opposite is true. It is a uniquely American structure representing a time when few could afford to build as the Acklens did. This complex building has numerous architectural secrets to reveal, some of which may never be resolved. Join us for an open and frank analysis of one of Nashville’s primary historic landmarks.

Presented by: Jerry Trescott, Curator of Collections, Belmont Mansion

“Making a Display”: Adelicia Acklen’s Tennessee Family Portraits


The presentation addresses the painted portraits of Adelicia Acklen and her family members that the Nashville matriarch commissioned throughout her life. Looking at the range of Acklen’s portrait collection as well as the appearances of the individual works reveals Acklen’s specific motivations for the collection as a whole.

Presented by: Rachel Stephens, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of American Art, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

Grounds for ‘Improvement’: Belmont Mansion’s Antebellum Garden


Traces of the historical footprint of the lavish formal gardens surrounding Adelicia and Joseph Acklen’s antebellum Belmont Mansion remain today in the heart of the university campus. In the mid-19th century, elaborate grounds designed with water fountains, formal flower beds, and ornamental statues were in vogue as a symbol of status and refinement. This presentation focuses upon how the original gardens reflected the contemporary notion of ‘improvement’ of the self through the practice of horticultural arts.

Presented by: Judy Bullington, Ph.D., Professor of Art History, Chair, Department of Art, Belmont University

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