History has inspired a number of popular interpretations. In August, the Tennessee State Library and Archives will host a unique event as part of its ongoing workshop series.
Award-winning actor/playwright/director Tom Dolan and author/musician/educator Debbie Mathis Watts portray Music City legends Captain Tom Ryman and Bettie Baugh Ryman in the multimedia musical stage play “The Ryman Diaries.”
The historical drama depicts the life and times of Cumberland riverboat captain Tom Ryman as told through the eyes of his wife Bettie Baugh Ryman. Based on historical research gathered at archival institutions, including the Library and Archives, the story highlights their unlikely romance, marriage, entrepreneurship, raising seven children on a riverboat, their Christian conversion at a tent meeting and the building of the Union Gospel Tabernacle.
“The Library and Archives is constantly finding new ways for Tennesseans to fully engage with our rich history. I encourage everyone to reserve their seat now for this special addition to our workshop series,” said Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett.
In play’s first act, the audience meets a young Tom Ryman, entrepreneur on the Cumberland River and Bettie Baugh, a debutante, growing up in Franklin. Both survived the Battle of Franklin when a cannonball comes through the window of the family home. Each tells of their adventures during the Civil War and how fate has love, romance and a history-making event planned for them.
The performance will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. CDT Saturday, Aug. 18, in the Library and Archives auditorium. The Library and Archives is located at 403 Seventh Ave. N., directly west of the Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville. Free parking is available around the Library and Archives building.
Although the presentation is free and open to the public, registration is required due to seating limitations in the auditorium. To reserve seats, please visit rymandiaries.eventbrite.com.