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Charles Crow Papers

Identifier: 2020.027

Scope and Contents

The Charles Crow papers contain civic records and personal correspondence by late Clarksville Mayor Charles Crow Sr. This collection, which ranges from 1949 to 1993, consists of newspaper clippings, magazines, certificates, correspondence, photographs, campaign materials, and other assorted materials such as interviews, correspondence with colleagues and state officials, and posthumous tributes. The collection follows a chronological order that delineates Mr. Crow’s early career working with the Tennessee Pardon and Parole Board leading up to his 16-year tenure as mayor of Clarksville.

The importance of this collection lies not only in documenting Mr. Crow’s contributions to the political and legal systems of Tennessee, but also his impact on socioeconomic and cultural life in Clarksville. The records present within this collection provide an overview of Clarksville’s 16-year economic growth under Crow and its subsequent status as a model city in the South. Materials such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and campaign materials document Charles Crow’s work ethic and steadfastness as mayor of Clarksville in helping to increase the city’s economic and cultural clout in Middle Tennessee. Additionally, records in this collection highlight Mr. Crow’s early career as executive secretary of the Tennessee Pardon and Parole Board, demonstrating his early association with the state’s criminal justice system. Researchers interested in local and Tennessean history, criminal justice, the political culture of Clarksville, and Montgomery County’s economic development during the turn of the twentieth century will find this collection a valuable resource.


  • Majority of material found within 1954 - 1978
  • 1948 - 1993


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

While the Montgomery County Archives houses an item, it does not necessarily hold the copyright on the item, nor may it be able to determine if the item is still protected under current copyright law. It is the user’s obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Wesley Crow Sr. (1916 – 1993) was an American politician and businessperson who was mayor of Clarksville, Tennessee from 1963 to 1978. He was considered to be a pivotal figure in the economic development of the city during the latter part of the twentieth century. Born on December 31, 1916 at Bumpus Mills, Tennessee to parents John C. Crow and Ethel Green Crow, his family moved to Clarksville when he was one year old. His father, J.C. Crow, was renowned for his jewelry business and local humanitarianism. He attended Clarksville High School and Austin Peay State University. During the late 1930s, Crow began his early career serving as a sports editor for the Leaf-Chronicle while working part time on his father’s business. Crow and his brother, James W. Crow, eventually purchased the business in 1944. He would become the sole owner of Crow’s Jewelry and Sporting Goods in 1959.

On 1953, he was appointed as executive secretary of the Tennessee Pardon and Parole Board by Governor Frank G. Clement, a position that he held for eight years. Upon his resignation as executive secretary in 1960, Crow remained a member of the Pardon and Parole Board under Governor Buford Ellington. That same year, Crow initiated his first political campaign for mayor of Clarksville. Losing to W.W. Barksdale in the 1960 race, Crow eventually ran for office once again in 1962, subsequently winning the election and leading a consistent streak of mayoral terms from 1963 to 1978.

According to the Leaf-Chronicle, Crow’s 16-year tenure as mayor was marked by the creation of a joint city-county industrial development commission and school system, a city bus system, increased salaries for police officers and fire fighters, expansion of mental health and recreational facilities, and continuous industrialization. He was a Methodist, 33rd degree Mason, Shriner, and national committee member for the Tennessee Young Democrats. Additionally, he served as president of the Clarksville Civitan Club, chair of the Democratic Mayors of Tennessee, president of the Lower Cumberland Group, and was a lifelong member of the Association of the United States Army.


1.71 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection has been arranged into three series based on a chronological order of Charles Crow's parole board and mayoral careers, the third series being a collection of assorted personal papers.

Arranged in three series:

I. Parole Board Papers, 1949 - 1962. II. Mayoral Career, 1960 - 1979. III. Assorted Papers, 1948 - 1993.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Charles Crow Jr., September 2020.

Processing Information

Material processing has involved flattening papers, removing rusty paperclips and staples, and placing contents into mylar or acid-free paper. The collection has been arranged into three series based on a chronological order of Charles Crow's parole and mayoral careers, the third series being a collection of assorted personal papers. A 1976 Clarksville Baptist College yearbook was removed to the Archives Yearbook collections. Original folders and blank sheets of paper were weeded from the collection. Photographs have been separately housed for preservation purposes but will remain as part of one collection.

Guide to the Charles Crow Papers
Joshua Negron
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Montgomery County Archives Repository

350 Pageant Lane
Suite 101D
Clarksville Tennessee 30741 United States