Ayres Hall and Morgan Hall Building Plaques

The mystery of the misspelling of President Ayres’ name takes on a life of its own when the history of the making of the plaques for Ayres Hall and the Agricultural Building (later, Morgan Hall) is reviewed. The firm that cast the plaques was Chicago Ornamental Iron Works. Architects Miller, Fullenwider and Dowling ordered the plaques for both buildings at the same time. The raised likeness of President Ayres was unacceptable, and Knoxville artist Lloyd Branson provided information transmitted by President Morgan about how it should be modified. Several exchanges of correspondence ensued, and Miller, Fullenwider and Dowling finally approved the plaque (reluctantly, since they still thought improvements were needed).

On October 18, 1921, President Morgan wrote to Miller, Fullenwider and Dowling: “The blue prints for the bronze tablets were received yesterday. The names are spelled correctly.” The only correction that was to be made was to remove the “Dr.” in front of F. M. McRee’s name. The plaques for Ayres and the Agricultural Building were to be identical, so the error appears to have occurred at the Chicago Iron Works.

In 1991 the Ayres family, through Dr. Ayres’ grandson, Brown Ayres, contacted UT to ask that either a replacement plaque that properly spelled President Ayres’ name be substituted for the original building plaque or that an additional plaque that commemorated Dr. Ayres’ service be installed. The latter option was chosen, and the plaque located at the southeast entrance was designed. Construction Services Company of Knoxville fabricated the plaque at a cost of $2,130. The Ayres family paid for the plaque. The plaque was unveiled by descendants of Dr. Ayres and UT officials at a luncheon on October 14, 1992.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Ayres Hall and Morgan Hall Building Plaques
  • Author
  • Keywords Ayres Hall and Morgan Hall Building Plaques
  • Website Name Volopedia
  • Publisher University of Tennessee Libraries
  • URL
  • Access Date September 27, 2022
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update October 3, 2018