Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff


This thesis aims to analyze the ways in which fame, cultural capital, and the political landscape of Tennessee placed the political amateur Roy Acuff in a strong position to win the 1944 Democratic primary, adding to our understanding of how fame can impact American politics, and also enriching our understanding of party politics in the single-party Solid South. The first part pays close attention to Acuff’s entertainment career prior to his political engagement with an eye to exploring why Tennessee voters thought Acuff would be a good candidate for governor. The second part details Roy Acuff’s political engagement from the time reporters at the Tennessean began circulating nominating petitions for his Democratic candidacy in 1943 until Acuff declined to run as either a Democrat or Republican in 1944. The conclusion briefly considers Roy Acuff’s 1948 Republican run to expand on the argument that his 1944 Democratic run was viable and to move towards an understanding of what it meant to be a Republican in the South in the 1940s


© 2022, Henry Luther Capps III