Friday, January 30, 2015

It’s Party Time!: Georgia Political Parties Project Opens New Collections

In February 2014, the Russell Library embarked on a one-year project to process the records of the Democratic Party of Georgia (DPG) and the Georgia Republican Party (GAGOP), funded by a generous grant of up to $58,777 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). One year later, the project is complete!

The records of both parties are open and available for research and represent a significant contribution to understanding party politics in Georgia. The GAGOP records (1974-1999) include 47 linear feet of records and over 100 audiovisual items (1981-1998). The DPG records  (1960-2008) include 64 linear feet of paper records, 6.2 gigabytes of electronic records, and 574 audiovisual items. Finding aids, or guides, to the records of the GAGOP and the DPG are available by searching the Russell Library’s online database or clicking the links above.

Item from the Georgia Republican Party Records.
Throughout the last year, we’ve brought attention to some of the dynamic records in these collections on the Russell Library blog. Articles have touched on the physical processing of political records and how an archivist might approach retaining the “original order” of a collection while also providing better access to materials through arrangement and description. If you’re interested in this aspect of archives and the collections, check out the blog posts  “Getting the Party Started: Processing the Records of Georgia's Political Parties” and "‘I do not belong to any organized party’: Making Sense of the Democratic Party of Georgia Records.” For an exploration of the ways in which archivists process electronic records, our post, “Let’s Get Digital: Electronic Records Day 2014” looks at some of the records of the DPG that only exist in digital form.

Item from the Democratic Party of Georgia Records.
Other blogs have highlighted the stories to be found in these organizational records. "‘The Right Leadership at the Top:’ The Records of the Georgia Republican Party Chairman" provides an in-depth look at two important leaders in a critical period of political transitioning in the state. “Building the Party, One Point at a Time: The Georgia GOP’s Four Star Program” looks at one specific set of records that document an important push for grassroots development in the many counties of Georgia.

In the coming months, you’ll see additional posts exploring the DPG records. In February, we’ll share a photo essay showcasing the work of Audley Tucker, the official DPG photographer for over twenty years, who captured Jimmy Carter’s gubernatorial win in 1970 -- just a sampling of the many rich photographs in the DPG records. And in March, we will explore the inimitable Marge Thurman, a forgotten Chairman of the DPG, whose heart was reportedly as big as her hairdo.

The records of the GAGOP and the DPG document the inner workings of Georgia’s two major political parties. The era documented by these records is a pivotal and complex period in state and national politics; parties fought for supremacy in an evolving political climate that saw rapid political realignments. Each collection tells a different, though parallel, story about the parties’ group dynamics and organizational culture and, taken together, highlights a vital aspect of Georgia’s political history reveals much about the political history of the state, and nation, in the second half of the twentieth century.

Post by Angelica Marini, Project Archivist, Russell Library

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Cheer from the Russell Library!

Inspired by a large knit American flag, the Russell Library's own Adriane Hanson (electronic records guru, knitter extraordinaire) created this miniature Georgia flag version as a holiday gift!

Adriane told us that to design the project, she used a combination of the specifications for the flag to get the internal proportions correct, and information from a flag request form to get the right length vs. height proportions. "Each stripe and the blue square were knit separately with a seed stitch and then pieced together," she said, adding that "the seal was made with felt and a sharpie, with a few modifications from the original to make it possible, and the seal and stars are sewn on.”

The changing design of the Georgia State Flag is quite interesting and political.  You can read more about it here: State Flags of Georgia

Sharing this photo to add a a little holiday cheer to your day. Happy holidays from the Russell Library!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Application Deadline Extended for Community Docent Program

The University of Georgia’s Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries is extending the application deadline for participation in its docent program to Friday, January 9, 2015.

The Docent Corps is a skilled group of volunteers who provide tours of the exhibit galleries to visitors, ranging from fifth graders to adults. Docents are trained to highlight permanent and rotating exhibitions and to help increase awareness of the many resources offered by the three special collections libraries: The Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The Walter J. Brown Media Archive and Peabody Awards Collections, and The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies.

A 10-week training program, hosted from Feb. 17 through Apr. 21, provides an opportunity for docents to meet curators, archivists, and other special collections staff, learn about the collections and techniques for leading tours, and become familiar with all parts of the Special Collections Libraries Building. Follow-up monthly meetings throughout the year provide opportunities to learn about new exhibits in the galleries and programs sponsored by the three special collections libraries.

The program seeks applicants who are enthusiastic, flexible, and open to working with visitors of all ages. No previous experience in the arts or humanities is required, but a love of history and experience with teaching or public speaking is desired. For more information about the training schedule and expectations, please visit the FAQ’s page. Interested individuals can apply online by visiting:

Applications must be submitted by Friday, January 9, 2015. Please direct any questions to Jan Hebbard at or (706) 542-5788. Note: All candidates selected for admission to the docent program will be required to submit to a background investigation.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

“I do not belong to any organized party”: Making Sense of the Democratic Party of Georgia Records

Note: In February of this year, the Russell Library embarked on a one-year project to process the records of the Democratic Party of Georgia (Georgia Democrats) and the Georgia Republican Party (GAGOP), funded by a generous grant of up to $58,777 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). Project archivist Angelica Marini has been providing a series of short articles throughout this year highlighting various aspects of the records as she works to organize, describe and make them available. In this blog post for the project, Angelica provides an introduction and overview of the records of the Democratic Party of Georgia, which are scheduled to open for research in January.

Governor-elect Jimmy Carter (left) and
David Gambrell, at the State Democratic Convention
in Macon, Georgia, 1970. 
In 1970, newly elected Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter appointed David Gambrell to the position of state Democratic Party Chairman. To celebrate the appointment, Democratic friends gave him a cake in the shape of a donkey. Written across the donkey in icing was Will Roger’s infamous quote about Democratic Party politics: “I do not belong to any organized party. I am a Democrat.”

This satirical Will Rogers quote unintentionally reflects some of the major problems I faced as I began making sense of the DPG’s records. When the party donated its records to the Russell Library, they were not especially disorganized, but it took considerable time to determine how the records were arranged and used by the party. What I discovered is that the DPG records document the party’s actions and work more than political plans, elections, and campaigns.

The Democratic Party of Georgia Records (1962-2007) cover an historic period of Democratic domination in state politics. The DPG records offer researchers an inside look at a strong and powerful organization but also one that was minimally organized. While the party was organized centrally at state party headquarters, they exercised their political power with a very lean organizational structure. The bulk of the collection (1968-1990) is comprised of records created and accumulated by officials and staff of the DPG. The records are arranged in seven series that represent the functions and organization of the party: I. Administrative, II. County and District, III. Financial, IV. Committees and Conventions, V. Campaigns and Elections, and VI. Photographs and Ephemera, and VII. Audiovisual Materials.

Prior to the Civil Rights movement and the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the DPG was a racially conservative party committed to the system of segregation. The Civil Rights movement changed the predominantly white Democratic Party into an organization that better reflected the racial dynamics of the state. In the 1970s, the formerly conservative party aligned with more liberal national policies and platforms; it was a party in transition.

In 1975, the Democrats weathered major organizational changes and convened its first ever Charter Convention, where they codified policies, outlined new goals, and drafted new rules for delegate selection. Some of these changes created greater access for minorities as affirmative action became an effective way of including those who were formerly excluded by law and tradition. These kinds of changes were common for Democratic parties in southern states after the Civil Rights movement as engrained ties to Jim Crow were systematically transformed through legislation as well as in the regional political culture.

In the late 1970s, all county committees were charged with reorganizing according to the rules of the new state charter; other changes loosened the ties to state government and the role of the governor in the party. These changes created greater diversity within party politics but also in the electorate at large. The records of the DPG document some of the most important political transitions specific to the state but also to region-wide changes that affected the national political landscape.

The earliest records in the collection, which date from the 1960s, are primarily financial and administrative, documenting the party’s involvement in county, state, and national politics. The day-to-day activity and function of the state party are reflected in administrative correspondence. Letters to and from the Chairmen and Executive Directors relate to a number of topics including finances, organization, and membership. The financial records also tell part of the administrative story as fundraising records show a party bankrolled by major events like the Dollars for Democrats campaign and the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

The largest series of records, Committees and Conventions, document the work of local and statewide committees and the conventions that party members attended. The Democratic Party was an organization with power dispersed throughout the state. The major work of the party was done at the local level and the interactions between the state party staff and their county, district, and regional committees and chairs and these records reflect a party in action. The State Democratic Executive Committee, the State Democratic Committee of Georgia, Standing Committees, Special Committees, Democratic County Committees, and Precinct Coordinators all had important roles in making the party function in power. Committees and conventions may seem like two separate organizational functions, but the records they produced were inseparable; most of the committees’ work was made official through convention dialogue and voting.

Congratulatory cake, featuring quote by Will Rogers,
for David Gambrell, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, 1970.
Overall, The Democratic Party of Georgia Records are an important source for understanding the historic and dramatic changes in the political landscape of the state and region. The records document the active work carried out by the party rather than the strategy and deliberation behind political platforms and policy planning. The DPG, as it existed in the late twentieth century, was the political power in the state and, as a result, did not generate the kind of political plans that the GAGOP did in their formative years. What these records demonstrate instead is how the party operated throughout the state. Administrative and financial records reflect an existing system of political activity related to fundraising with minimal interference from state headquarters. County and district materials reflect the power of distinct groups within the state party. Notably, the records also have a significant digital component, which you can read about in an earlier blog post, Let’s Get Digital!: Electronic Records Day 2014.

Post by Angelica Marini, Project Archivist, Russell Library

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Tribute: Carl Sanders (1921-2014)

The staff of the Russell Library would like to pay respects to former Georgia Governor Carl Sanders who passed away on Sunday in Atlanta. Below is a short biography of Sanders, highlighting his political career, followed by a few clips drawn from the Russell Library audiovisual and oral history collections. For more information on the Carl Sanders Papers, visit the Russell Library website.

Sanders and his supporters celebrating his election
as governor of Georgia, 1962.
Carl Sanders was born in Augusta, Georgia on May 15, 1921. He accepted a football scholarship to the University of Georgia, but in 1943 enlisted in the Air Force and trained as a B-17 pilot. After serving during World War II, he returned to UGA where he completed law school in 1947. In that same year he married Betty Foy of Statesboro, Georgia.

Sanders entered private practice in Augusta and eventually started the law firm of Sanders, Thurmond, Hester and Jolles. In 1954, he made a successful bid for the Georgia House of Representatives. Two years later, in 1956, he won a seat in the Georgia Senate. At the time, the seat rotated between Richmond, Glascock and Jefferson counties. Sanders was subsequently elected to the same seat by both Jefferson and Glascock counties due to his overwhelming popularity, becoming the only man to serve three consecutive terms in a multi-county district. In 1959, Governor Ernest Vandiver named Sanders as Senate Floor Leader. He went on to serve as president pro tempore of the Senate from 1960 to 1962.

Clifford H. Baldowski cartoon commenting
on the campaign strategies of Sanders and
Griffin in the 1962 gubernatorial election.
Sanders took the next step in his political career by running for governor in 1962 against Marvin Griffin. Shortly after his announcement, federal courts ruled that Georgia's county unit system was unconstitutional. The state would elect its officials by popular vote, giving the urban candidate, Sanders, a greater change at victory.

As a moderate on racial issues, he faced an outspoken opponent of integration in former Governor Marvin Griffin. While agreeing that Georgia should keep its tradition of segregation, Sanders believed it was imperative that the state avoid violence and obey the laws of the country. Unlike Griffin, his campaign issues were not built around race. Instead, Sanders focused on the elimination of corruption in state government and pushed for overall progress for the state. He also wanted to improve education and bring industry to Georgia. With his positive message, Sanders emerged victorious, becoming the youngest governor in the country at the time. He was 37.

Upon his election, Sanders set about following through on his campaign promises. In order to revitalize Georgia's educational system, the new governor created the Governor's Commission to Improve Education in 1963. Based on the commission's findings and with the approval of the General Assembly, the state raised teach salaries, added more teaching positions, and reorganized the Department of Education. The program also built new school buildings, established more junior colleges and vocational schools, and created the Governor's Honors Program. Sanders also appointed the Governor's Commission for Efficiency and Improvement which helped to reform many government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and the Highway Department, as well as the prison and state merit systems.

In May 1963, Sanders sought to draft a new state constitution. With the appointment of the Constitutional Revision Commission, he hoped to condense and clarify Georgia's Constitution. While the General Assembly approved the new constitution, it was never put on the general ballot. The momentum was lost when federal courts declared that the General Assembly was incorrectly apportioned and the constitution was, therefore, invalid. Sanders would later play an integral part in the passage of the reapportionment of congressional districts, but would never succeed in revising the constitution.

Unable to succeed himself as governor, Sanders returned to private life in 1967. Instead of returning to Augusta, he and his family remained in Atlanta where he started a new law firm. On April 25, 1970, Sanders announced his campaign for governor. He ultimately lost this final campaign to Jimmy Carter. Though this was his last attempt at public office, he continued to work for other Democratic candidates such as Zell Miller, Andrew Young, and Sam Nunn. He also went on to serve as Finance Chairman for the Democratic Party of Georgia during George Busbee's term as governor.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Recap: 2014 Scholars & Policymakers Symposium

The two-day Scholars & Policymakers Symposium here at the Richard B. Russell Library came to an end last Tuesday, and it was a success! We were so lucky to have remarkable speakers, panelists, and moderators here to join us for this occasion celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Library. Thank you to all who participated!

Each of the four panel sessions covered one of our established collecting areas: politics of public good, social relations, economy, and environment. By having three panelists and a moderator for each, attendees heard a variety of viewpoints from individuals with different research specialties and life experiences. While opinions of those on a given panel may have differed, each discussion as a whole shed light on the topics at hand.

Throughout the symposium there was praise for the library’s namesake, Richard B. Russell. The event kicked off with opening remarks from Norman Underwood, current chairman of the Russell Library Foundation, who thanked the the Library's director Sheryl Vogt, for giving, “40 years and most of her heart to furthering Senator Russell's legacy and preserving his papers."

Without the strong foundation provided by the Richard B. Russell Collection, the Library could not have expanded in scope and collecting to the wide array of political papers it now holds. And truly, the core of this programming initiative was to recognize the scholarship that has grown from these archival holdings. From discussion of  early transportation efforts, labor unions, and the National School Lunch Program, to the history of race relations in the South, Georgia’s agricultural economy and poultry industry, and national security and foreign relations during the 1950s and 60s -- scholars reported clearly that their explorations through the collections of the Richard B. Russell Library provided great help in producing rich, new insights into modern American history.

Chris Lopez, oral history and audiovisual archivist, was able to record all of the panel sessions. The full video should be up on the YouTube channel soon. In the meantime, our staff has created an audio playlist on SoundCloud. We hope you enjoy the re-listening to the program, or enjoying it for the first time!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Powell Moore Lecture at UGA Today!

Longtime federal government official Powell A. Moore will deliver a lecture on politics titled "Washington Insights Over Half a Century: Midterm Elections in the Sixth Year of a Two-Term Presidency" today (Nov. 3) at 3:30 p.m. in Room 271 of the University of Georgia Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

The lecture will consider whether the Democrats will maintain control of the U.S. Senate or if control will shift to the Republican Party. Co-sponsored by the UGA School of Public and International Affairs, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, the event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served in the lobby immediately following the lecture.

Moore, a UGA alumnus, most recently served as representative of the U.S. secretary of defense to the Organization for Security and Cooperation (2006-2009). Active in public policy affairs in Washington, D.C., for more than 40 years, Moore has also served as assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs under President Ronald Reagan; on the White House staff under Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan; and as chief of staff for Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee. He began his Washington, D.C., career in 1966 as press secretary to Sen. Richard B. Russell of Georgia, for whom one of three U.S. Senate office buildings is named, as well as the library on UGA's main campus.

"UGA alumnus Powell Moore has enjoyed a remarkable career in service to five presidents in domestic roles in legislative affairs and in the foreign policy arena," said Stefanie Lindquist, dean of UGA's School of Public and International Affairs. "His interview with Bob Short for the Russell Library oral history series is a must-see: a fascinating walk through the Georgia and national political scenes from Richard Russell to Watergate to the Cold War and beyond. These experiences provide Powell Moore with a unique vantage point on today's politics. Come and be fascinated."

This summer, the Russell Library announced the opening of the Powell A. Moore Papers. The papers capture Moore's career involved in legislative affairs, public policy and international relations in the federal government and in the private sector. The papers include reports, news clippings, invitations, program materials, artifacts and audiovisual materials related to his work and to numerous presidential campaigns, conventions and inaugurations from 1972 to 2009.

Moore is a graduate of Georgia Military College and received a bachelor's degree in journalism from UGA. He serves as a board of visitors member for both the School of Public and International Affairs and the Cox International Center.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Ashton Ellett

Ashton Ellett, PhD candidate at the University of Georgia and former exhibit intern at the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, will be speaking at our Scholars & Policymakers Symposium today at 9:00a.m. on the Politics of Public Good panel session. Ellett received his bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from Westminster College in 2008 and his master’s in United States History from the University of Georgia in 2010. He is currently working on his dissertation at UGA.

Ellett’s areas of interest in research and teaching include African American history, business & Capitalism, Conservatism, political & legal study, 19th & 20th century United States, the American South, War & Diplomacy, and Georgia History. His master’s thesis, “Organizing the Right: Service Clubs, Conservatism, and the Origins of the Two-Party South in Cobb County, Georgia, 1942-1968,” and his in-progress dissertation, "Recasting Conservatism: Georgia Republicans and the Transformation of Southern Politics since World War II," both focus on the changing Republican Party in Georgia.

While at Westminster College, Ellett served as the Young Democrats president as well as the editor-in-chief of the Alati Political Magazine. He graduated summa cum laude with a minor in English before coming to the University of Georgia. Ellett is a member of the American Historical Association (AHA), the Georgia Association of Historians (GAH), the Southern Political Science Association (SPSA), and several other organizations devoted to politics and history. Ellet’s talk at the symposium will highlight his research focused on the history of the National School Lunch program for the exhibit “Food, Power, and Politics: The Story of School Lunch” now on display through May 15, 2015 in the Russell Library Gallery. The exhibit examines the complicated history of the NSLP with a focus on people and events in Georgia. Ellet co-wrote the script and helped to adapt it for use as a featured special collection on the New Georgia Encyclopedia (forthcoming, spring 2015).

He has won two awards for his work as a teaching assistant, and his piece from 2013 was published in the Georgia Historical Quarterly. He is currently researching for the Georgia Department of Transportation to help organize their centennial celebration.

Come hear Ashton Ellett along with a host of other great speakers at the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium happening today from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. All sessions are free and open to the public!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Chris Manganiello

Dr. Chris Manganiello, another one of our featured speakers for the upcoming Scholars & Policymakers Symposium Oct. 27-28, currently serves as Policy Director of the Georgia River Network in Athens, Georgia. In this role Manganiello analyzes government policy and controls, implements communications for the GRN, and organizes fundraising and events. He received his Ph.D. with honors from the University of Georgia. His dissertation, “Dam Crazy with Wild Consequences: Artificial Lakes and Natural Rivers in the American South, 1845-1990,” was awarded the Rachel Carson Prize by the American Society for Environmental History.

Manganiello has written and edited a number of academic publications including “Hitching the New South to White Coal: Water and Power, 1890-1933” for the Journal of Southern History and Environmental History and the American South: A Reader, which he edited with Paul S. Sutter. His other publications include “The Flint River: A Sun Belt River and the Burden of History,” and his contributions to the blog Georgia Water Wire, which details water-related news and policies.

After noticing that there were few written histories of the water resources in the southeastern region of the United States, Manganiello began working on a new book project, titled "Southern Water, Southern Power: How the Politics of Cheap Energy and Water Scarcity Shaped a Region." Noticing that all of the lakes in the southern Blue Ridge and Piedmont were man-made, he began to investigate who created these artificial water sources. This in-progress book focuses on the manipulation of the environment to make cheap sources of energy and how this affects social power.

Manganiello has presented at a number of academic conference panels and presentations concerning regional environmental issues, focusing specifically on concerns of urban drought, river valley wildlife management, and southern waterscapes and lakes. He was awarded the Smithsonian Institution Pre-Doctoral Fellowship by the National Museum of American History for 2008-2009. He was also one of four students at the University of Georgia to receive the Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award in 2011. He is a member of the American Society for Environmental History and the Southern Historical Association.

Don’t miss Dr. Chris Manganiello’s appearance on the Politics of Environment panel discussion, happening at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28. We hope to see you at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries for the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium next week. And stay tuned to the blog for more speaker spotlights as the 40th anniversary celebrations approach!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Michelle Brattain

Dr. Michelle Brattain, Associate Chair in the Department of History at Georgia State University, is one of our featured speakers for the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium happening Oct. 27-28, 2014 -- just one week away! Brattain received her bachelor’s degree in United States and women’s history from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and went on to receive her PhD in United States History from Rutgers University. Her research and teaching specialties include modern United States history, the history of ideas about race, Southern history, and the history of labor. She now teaches undergraduate courses on United States history in the 20th century and the history of race and human variation at Georgia State University.

Brattain remains very involved in the writing community both as a writer herself and as a part of the editorial boards for Americana and the Journal of Southern History. She previously worked as an editor for Atlanta History for six years until she moved to the Journal of Southern History’s board in 2007. She has been an editorial board member for Americana for over a decade. In addition to reviewing dozens of books, she has published many works herself. Her recent pieces include “Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism: UNESCO and the Politics of Presenting Race to the Postwar Public” and “Miscegenation and Competing Definitions of Race in Twentieth-Century Louisiana,” along with a handful of others.

Her 2001 book The Politics of Whiteness: Race, Workers, and Culture in the Modern South examines race, specifically in the textile industry in Rome, Georgia from the 1930s to the 1970s. It discusses the relationship between race and class during most of the 20th century. Her thorough research for this book helps to paint the picture of white supremacy in textile mills that ultimately shaped Southern politics. Brattain is currently working on a manuscript titled "What Race Was: Popular and Scientific Constructions of Race in the Postwar United States."

In 2002, she received the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award for the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State University. She was named an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Library Resident Fellow by the American Philosophical Society in July of 2003. She has also received multiple grants and awards for her research through Georgia State University.

Dr. Michelle Brattain will speak as part of the Politics of Social Relations panel at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28. We hope you will join us for this and other discussions at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. Be on the lookout for more Speaker Spotlights on our blog as we get geared up for the symposium next week!