Caroll Van West is Tennessee’s new state historian. His appointment was announced today, although Van West took over the job last week.
The position is honorary, in that it doesn’t come with an office or a paycheck. The state historian is expected to research and publish books and articles about Tennessee’s past, but the title goes to people who are already eager to do just that.
The previous state historian, Walter Durham, served for 11 years until his death this May.
Van West directs the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State. He is co-chair of the commission overseeing the state’s Civil War sesquicentennial observations and directs a network of Civil War historical sites. He’s also editor in chief of the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.