Tolbert and Charlotte Fanning’s portrait of Alexander Campbell made in Nashville ca. 1827-1835. Ira Collins, a photographer who was also a Disciple, made this cabinet-card sized photo widely available in the early 1890s. Thanks to him we have a likeness of Campbell from his early prime. It is a very nice artifact of the Fanning’s which was witness to the very beginnings of the Campbell movement in Nashville and Tennessee. And squirreled away in a garret while the troops ravished Franklin College!
When Jim Taulman asked for illustrations for last year’s issue of Tennessee Baptist History Journal, I sent him this one since it shows Campbell at the time of the fierce debates among Middle Tennessee Baptists. Jim published it to illustrate my article on Alexander Campbell’s engagement with Garner McConnico.
Jim died a few days ago. I am grateful for his kind friendship and our collaboration on our shared Nashville history. Thinking of him led me again to this cabinet card. I know Jim would wonder, as do I: “Who knows, maybe someone in town has this portrait over their mantle and doesn’t know the story?”