Tennessee State Penitentiary History Captured

Top Quote Tennessee State Penitentiary is famous for its architecture and has been the backdrop of movies like The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption; however, the dark past of the penitentiary has been lost in history. Yoshie Lewis and Brian Allison have awakened that past in a new book from Arcadia Publishing, Tennessee State Penitentiary. End Quote
  • Nashville, TN (1888PressRelease) October 02, 2014 - Known in Hollywood and pop culture as one of the most famous prisons in history, Tennessee State Penitentiary is revealed in the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing's popular Images of America series. Boasting more than 200 arresting vintage images, Tennessee State Penitentiary is the collaborative work of previous Arcadia author Yoshie Lewis and historian Brian Allison.

    When Tennessee became a state in 1796, there was no state run penitentiary. City and county officials often handed out inhumane punishments, including whipping and branding. After several false starts, the Tennessee State Penitentiary was built in 1831. It came to house many thieves, robbers, Confederate prisoners and even legendary criminals such as James Earl Ray. "Tennessee State Penitentiary creates a multi-faceted view of iconic buildings and the lives affected within those walls," Lewis said, "The book puts a human face on an institution."

    In 1898, Tennessee saw the construction of the new facility, which would become known as "The Castle" and additional institutions were established. Since its closing in 1992, the penitentiary has been used for various movie shoots and ghost hunting. "It's strangely beautiful Victorian architecture has inspired many discussions about breathing new life into the dead zone, resurrecting it from its grim and violent past," Lewis said.

    Highlights of Tennessee State Penitentiary include:
    - Images from collections that are not readily accessible for public viewing
    - Photographic documentary of riots and escapes
    - Events and escapes at the pen parallel modern cinema, such as The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.

    Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665 or online.

    Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America's people and places. Discover more than 8,500 small towns and downtowns at http://www.arcadiapublishing.com.

    Tennessee State Penitentiary
    by Yoshie Lewis and Brian Allison
    Images of America Series
    Price: $21.99
    128 pages/ softcover
    Available: September 23, 2013.

    Author inquires contact:
    Crystal Murray
    843.853.2070 x216
    cmurray ( @ ) arcadiapublishing dot com
    Meet Yoshie Lewis and Brian Allison
    Author of Tennessee State Penitentiary.

    Yoshie Lewis
    Yoshie Lewis has been working in various arenas of the entertainment business since 1983. She received her BA in Art History from the University of California, Riverside in 1990, with an emphasis in Italian Renaissance art and studies in the Italian language. In 2004, she completed a MA in Producing Film and Video at the American University in Washington, DC, with a heavy emphasis on documentary production. Since 2004, Ms. Lewis has worked as a camera operator, coordinator, and UPM on various indie films and on TV shows for FUSE, CMT, and ESPN2. In addition, she has produced a variety of music videos and documentaries, under the auspices of her own company and is a Telly Award recipient. One of these films, Let Me Walk This Path, was a 4- hour historical miniseries on Japan, which produced, wrote, and directed for EWTN TV. It premiered internationally in July 2010 and aired again in March 2011. She is a master with micro-budgets and loves to tell a good story.

    Brian Allison is a native of Nashville, Tennessee with a deep interest in the area's rich cultural past. He graduated from Austin Peay State University with a degree in history and fine arts minor, and has enjoyed combining his two areas of concentration in his work. He has worked in the history field for the greater part of two decades, most recently as curator of Travellers Rest Plantation and Museum in Nashville. Currently he is working as a consultant associated with Transcribe group, planning and designing museum exhibits. He was the head writer on Wide Awake Films' documentary, Franklin: Five Hours in the Valley of Death, which was recognized with two Telly Awards and a Mid-South Regional Emmy in 2006.

    What lasting impact do you hope your book will leave?
    "We hope that we have provoked some thought about both history and the future, not just of this institution as represented by these buildings, but of the humanity within the walls. Some things need never be repeated - by the criminals or by those given to the overseeing of these individuals."

    Crystal Murray
    843.853.2070 x216
    cmurray ( @ ) arcadiapublishing dot com.

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