Memorabilia of World War heroes coming to TTU

Bushings with_Birdwell_JohnsonWritings of a friend and adviser to World War I hero Sgt. Alvin C. York are moving from an East Tennessee family’s home to Tennessee Tech University.

When Sgt. York returned home to Fentress County after duty in France, he met Arthur Samuel Bushing at a bank. Bushing advised him on finances and debt management and later became his business manager. In time, as York began to travel to raise money for the York Institute in his hometown of Jamestown, Tenn., Bushing wrote speeches for York and became a friend of the family.

Bushing’s son, Arthur Story “Art” Bushing, grew up in Jamestown, hearing World War I tales from York and playing with York’s sons. One of Art’s favorite childhood memories was standing on the shoes of York and holding on to the imposing man as he took wide strides across a room or yard. The younger Bushing graduated from the then-established Alvin C. York Institute in 1939.

“It seemed only natural, then, for Art to make his own collection of York memorabilia,” said his wife of 64 years, Dorothy L. “Dotty” Bushing, of Maryville, Tenn.

Oldham Hill_Bushing_HessAn alumnus and longtime English professor and administrator of Maryville College, Art Bushing held on to photos, correspondence and news clippings that had belonged to his father, who died in 1968. He collected other York memorabilia and gave many lectures on York and the World War eras.

Also a decorated veteran, Art Bushing earned the Bronze Star, the Battle of the Rhineland medal and the Battle of Central Europe medal for his World War II service in the European Theater.

His unpublished works include "Life in Uncle Sam's Army, WWII," "Alvin C. York: Hero and Educator," "York's Longest Battle" and "Henry Fielding's Library."

Art Bushing died in 2008. As Dotty Bushing and her children began to catalog their family history – the senior Bushing’s relationship with Sgt. York and Art Bushing’s writings and memories of his own experiences in World War II – they set out to find a permanent public home for the York collection.

“It is my pleasure, in tandem with my children, to donate this collection to Tennessee Tech University, where it will be maintained in archival condition and be open to the public for research,” said Dotty Bushing.

“We have spent quite some time trying to determine the right place for our collection of York-related letters, documents and photographs,” said Arthur S. “Stuart” Bushing, Art and Dotty Bushing’s son. “Given history professor Michael Birdwell’s passion and personal dedication for the history of Sgt. York, as well as President Philip Oldham’s interest in the topic, Tennessee Tech will provide an excellent venue for the preservation and public availability for these York-related items.”

The collection will move to TTU in the coming months. The first of the artifacts to come to the university’s Angelo & Jennette Volpe Library are photographs and letters between the senior Bushing and Sgt. York. Art Bushing’s World War II diary also will become part of the collection at TTU.

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