C.P. Snelgrove Scholarship Endowment
C.P. Snelgrove (1908-2005) served as head librarian at the Tennessee Tech University library for more than 38 years, from 1936 until his retirement in 1974, and he is credited with establishing one of the premiere institutions of book knowledge in the Mid-South. During his tenure, the library's collection grew from 12,000 to more than 600,000 volumes.
Born in Lexington County, South Carolina, Mr. Snelgrove was the first of eight children. He grew up on his family’s farm and, owing to his mother’s untimely death, remained at home between his junior and senior years in high school so that he could help care for his seven younger siblings. Following his return to school, he was named valedictorian of his high school class, after which he entered the University of South Carolina (from which he was graduated in 1932), the first in his family to attend college. While earning a degree in history, he worked his way through college as a student assistant at the university library. That experience plus his love of reading led him to earn a degree in library science in 1935 at George Peabody College for Teachers (now part of Vanderbilt University) in Nashville. He first worked as a high school librarian in Florida before being hired as Tennessee Tech’s first full-time librarian, beginning work on January 1, 1936 (at a salary of $1500 for the nine-month school year).
At first, Mr. Snelgrove was the library's only employee. However, as the collection grew, he instituted a student assistant program paying 20 cents an hour, following the model that had provided him employment during his student days. Through the years that followed, hundreds of students worked at the library to earn money to help defray the cost of attending Tech, just as he had at Carolina.
In addition to his responsibilities as head librarian, Mr. Snelgrove taught courses in library science, training many teachers to serve as librarians at public schools in Middle Tennessee. One of his other duties was to line up faculty and staff for commencement processionals. The year of his retirement, since his task had prevented his participation in previous commencements, he was given the honor of leading the procession.
Outside of his professional life, Mr. Snelgrove was an avid gardener of vegetables, fruits, and flowers; a devoted member of the First Presbyterian Church (serving as elder and treasurer); a member and Paul Harris Fellow of the Cookeville Rotary Club; a member of the Tech Garden Club and the Cookeville/Tech Symphony Guild; an organizer and first president of the Tech Emeriti Faculty Club. He also volunteered for the Tennessee Library Association, the Tennessee Folklore Society, the American Cancer Society, and the American Red Cross. For his service to Tech and the community, he received the Tech Alumni Association’s 1997 Outstanding Service award. In addition, he loved listening to music and reading and enjoyed the company of family and friends.
Interestingly, Mr. Snelgrove always preferred to use his initials rather than his given names. He disliked his first name and abhorred his middle name. This secrecy gave rise to an informal organization of student assistants known as the “We Know Mr. Snelgrove’s Middle Name Club.” Now, students who receive this award can also know that his full name is Clarence Predew Snelgrove.
Mr. Snelgrove's son and daughter-in-law, Dr. James L. Snelgrove and Alice Temple Medley Snelgrove (both class of 1964), initiated the C.P. Snelgrove Scholarship to honor Mr. Snelgrove's long service to the University as head librarian and to recognize the joy he derived from his association with library student assistants through the years.
Scholarships associated with C.P. Snelgrove Scholarship Endowment