Thursday, July 30, 2009

Homegrown Talent

The 2009 LSA Art Exhibit

Opening Reception

Friday, August 7th from 3:30-4:30 PM

Main Library entryway

Each year the Library Staff Association coordinates a nonjuried exhibit of artwork to showcase the diverse talents, hobbies, and interests of the UGA Libraries’ staff and faculty. Some examples of artwork in past shows include: calligraphy, computer & digital art, drawings, handmade books, knitting, crocheting, sewing, lino & hand prints, mixed media, paintings, photographs, poetry, quilting, embroidery, cross stitch, sculpture/pottery/ceramic, stained glass, woodworking.

Come One, Come All... to the opening of Homegrown Talent, the 2009 Library Staff Association Art Exhibit! Join us for light snacks and drinks at the Main Library, as we celebrate the creative leanings of our friends & colleagues. The reception will take place on Friday, August 7th from 3:30-4:30 PM in the entryway of the Main Library (in front of the exhibit cases). The artwork will remain on display through the end of August.

For questions, email ( or call (706-542-5788).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Senior Class Trip

Recently I discovered a group of photographs that document class trips to Washington, D. C. From 1937 to 1941 in the Peterson collection. Graduating classes from the First Congressional District visited Hugh Peterson at the U.S. Capitol and, while there, had their picture taken with him.

Right: Ludowici High School group with Congressman Hugh Peterson at U. S. Capitol, May 26, 1938

There are so many things about these class pictures that appeal to me. It’s exciting to think about these students and how most of them had probably never been to our nation’s capitol before. Having grown up in the First District myself, I know firsthand that the towns are small and that, for the most part,you have to make your own fun. The clothes and hairstyles are also fun to look through. Since this was a big day for the group, they always looked their best - pretty hats on the ladies and the young men in their suits. The chaperones and teachers look nice, too, but appear a little annoyed or tired in each photograph, possibly the consequence of having to watch a group of teenagers for an extended amount of time!

The photos from 1941 seem most poignant. It’s always a little strange to see a photograph of people before a significant event happens that will affect their lives. The groups came in April, May, and June of that year and within nine months each one would know the tragedy of Pearl Harbor. In particular, it’s difficult to look at the young men in those shots and wonder who went to fight and where, and if he ever made it back. Hopefully those young men had fond memories of their trip to our nation’s capitol that they took with them overseas.

Above: Brewton-Parker Institute, Mt. Vernon-Ailey, Georgia school group with Congressman Hugh Peterson at U. S. Capitol, June 3, 1938.

Post by Renna Tuten, Project Archivist, Russell Library

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Free Public Forum This Friday!

Are you interested in deliberative discussion? Looking for a constructive way to spend your Friday afternoon? Then the Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia (RFCLG) has the event for you!

As part of our informal forum summer series, RFCLG invites you to explore the approaches proposed in a new NIF issue guide "Regaining American Prosperity: Building an Economy That Works for Everyone" at a public forum this coming Friday, July 31st, from 3:00-4:30 PM, in the Russell Library Auditorium. The guide was developed by the Center for Civic Engagement at Hofstra University and explores strategies for rebuilding the economy in the United States. Our own Jill Severn, will moderate the discussion. To preview the issue guide prior to the event, visit:

We hope you can come & discuss! If you have any questions, give us a call (706-542-5788) or send an email to

Post by Jan Levinson, Assistant Outreach Archivist, Russell Library

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tooting our Horn

The Russell Library staff congratulates our own Abigail Griner, Access and Electronic Records Archivist, on the publication of her first professional article!

"Where's the Context: Enhancing Access to Digital Archives" appears in the juried journal Provenance, the Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists, vol. XXVI, 2008. This article is a great contribution to the growing scholarship on electronic records management and moving archives into the digital age. We're all proud of you Abby -- Congratulations!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Russellite Joins Crew

The Richard B. Russell Library Media and Oral History Unit welcomes the addition of Christian Lopez to our ranks. Chris assumes the duties of Oral History Coordinator, with two major areas of responsibility: (1) managing the production of new oral histories, and (2) migrating older oral histories from "legacy" media (such as audiocassettes and reel-to-reel tape) to digital media formats.

While he's new to the Russell, Chris is a UGA Libraries veteran, and earned his M.L.S. from the University of South Carolina in 2008. His interests in recorded sound and history extend to other parts of his life: Chris is active in the Athens traditional music scene, singing and playing mandolin and guitar with the group Curley Maple. They rock. He is married to Anne Burnett, the Foreign and International Law Librarian at the University of Georgia School of Law, and they have a son, Jesse. Anne and Jesse rock too.

Welcome to the Russell, Chris - we're very glad you're here!

Post by Craig Breaden, Head of Media and Oral History, Russell Library

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Rowland Collection Now Open!

The Richard Russell Library is pleased to announce that the J. Roy Rowland Papers are now open for research. The collection consists of the congressional papers of U.S. House Representative J. Roy Rowland who served twelve years as a Democrat from Georgia, 1983-1994. Rowland represented Georgia’s 8th District, which included the cities of Macon (1983-1994), Albany, Valdosta, and Warner Robins (added to district in 1992).

He served on the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, the Public Works and Transportation Committee, and the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families. He was also significantly involved in the National Commission on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), the National Commission to Prevent Infant Mortality, and the Congressional Sunbelt Caucus in addition to other memberships on boards, task forces, and caucuses. As a trained medical doctor, Rowland’s primary legislative interests focused on health issues. He also authored or supported legislation in the areas of transportation, agriculture, education, defense, the environment, and foreign affairs. The papers primarily document the activities of Rowland’s Washington, D.C., office and include legislative research files, bill files, legislative mail, speeches and statements, project and grant files, casework, press releases, photographs, and audiovisual materials.

A sample from the collection (below), a letter written to Rowland by President Bill Clinton, June 25, 1993. Clinton discusses Rowland's role on the National Commission on AIDS.

The Russell Library is open for research from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. For further information on the J. Roy Rowland Papers, please contact or (706) 542-5788. Or, visit us online at

Post by Katherine Shirley, Head of Processing, Russell Library

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Birth of the Board of Regents

In the late 1920s, Georgia Governor Lamartine Hardman introduced the idea of reorganizing the state government. It had grown to house over 200 departments and was in desperate need of an overhaul. Although legislation stalled in the Georgia Legislature near the end of Hardman’s term, Georgia’s next governor, Richard B. Russell, saw it as his first priority and appointed Hugh Peterson to chair the Committee for the Reorganization of State Government. During the first half of 1931, Peterson oversaw numerous testimonies of state employees including those in charge of Georgia’s institutions of higher learning.

At that time there were 26 institutions in the University of Georgia System with boards governing each one. A total of 358 people made up these boards. After much input and research, the committee drafted S. B. 46, An Act to simplify the operations of the Executive Branch of the State Government. It included the recommendation that a Board of Regents comprised of 11 members be created to manage all of the institutions under the University System of Georgia – roughly 3% of the original group!

Post by Renna Tuten, Project Archivist, Russell Library

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Grinning Through The Pain

On the 4th of July, most Americans gather to celebrate freedom, the end result of our forefathers signing the Declaration of Independence. In 1951, this holiday had added meaning for war correspondent Bill Burson, as it was the date he was inducted into an elite club, exclusive to those avoiding death and making the best of wartime abroad.

Below: Burson (center) becomes the butt
of a joke amongst his fellow reporters.
Among his numerous careers, William Burson was a journalist. After writing for the United Press in a few southern states, Burson served as a war correspondent in the Korean War from 1950 to 1951. Much of his writing during this period documented the life stories of the soldiers he met while covering the great victories and little defeats of the U.S. military. What strikes me most when going through Burson's collection of scrapbooks containing newspaper articles, photographs, and letters from Korea is the surprising humor injected into these stories of war.

As described by Burson, American reporters and soldiers in Korea shared a great sense of camaraderie -- a feeling that gave their stories a tone more suited to the tales told on a long camping trip than those from a battlefield. Burson built a strong connection with the 17th infantry regiment, lead by the enigmatic Col. William W. "Buffalo Bill" Quinn. However, he seemed to share an even stronger connection with his fellow journalists in the war – a group which never failed to have a few laughs in the middle of the fray.
Above: Burson (seated in the background) makes an attempt at a serious pose as his colleague plays janitor.

On July 4, 1951, Burson received a letter extending him membership in an exclusive group that could only be joined by those who were “sick and tired of Korea, kimchi and honey buckets.” This prestigious organization was called The Ancient and Venerable Order of the Aching Back. Accompanying this letter was a large certificate honoring Burson for remaining steadfast, despite the back pain. These tokens are a sure sign that these reporters found ways to celebrate their hardiness and revel in their plight, despite the hardships and sadness of war.

Post by Christina Keene, Summer Intern at the Russell Library. Keene is processing the William H. Burson Collection, composed largely of scrapbooks documenting Burson’s many professions. These scrapbooks contain photographs, newspaper articles, and awards that Burson received throughout his life.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Outside the Box - July

Object: Campaign Sash & Yard Sign

Janet B. Scarborough Merritt was elected to represent Sumter County in the Georgia State House in 1964. The only woman in this body at the time of her election, and the first to represent Sumter County, Merritt called herself a “full-time” representative. She served four terms in that position: she was elected again in 1966, in 1968 (after reapportionment combined Sumter with Macon and Schley counties into the new 46th district), and in 1970. In 1972, after a second reapportionment, Merritt was defeated for re-election by her former colleague in the House, Oliver Oxford, in a run-off. Merritt ran against Oxford a second time in the 1974 election, but was again narrowly defeated in a run-off.

Merritt's papers document her campaigns, her time in the state legislature and her community activities including heavy involvement in the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.). Of particular note are materials documenting Merritt’s ongoing battle to change Georgia’s state flag. In 1969, Merritt sponsored a bill to change the Georgia flag adopted in 1955, shortly after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling, back to the 1879 version, which did not include the Confederate battle flag.

Campaign Sash & Sign...
Merritt’s younger daughter, Jane Myers, still vividly remembers helping her mother on the campaign trail with a few essential, homemade tools:

“Mother made those blue banners for my friends and me to wear. She also made the yard signs to be given out to those who requested them. She assigned the "Merry Maids" areas in Americus [Georgia] to go door to door wearing the banners, giving out cards and asking people to vote for Janet Merritt for Georgia State House Representative.”

Meritt went on to tell her daughters recollections of politicking at the age of 5 or 6. “She would visit her grandmother Ella in Americus and they would go riding in a horse drawn carriage with her cousin Charles R. Crisp.” Unbeknownst to the youngster, her cousin represented Georgia’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. “At the time she thought it was just a ride in the country.”

July's “Outside the Box” object will be on display in the lobby gallery of the Russell Library, open 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, until August 1st. For further information on the Janet B. Scarborough Meritt Papers, please contact or visit

Post by Jan Levinson, Assistant Outreach Archivist, Russell Library

Oral History News Flash

I am extraordinarily pleased to announce that our oral history project, Reflections on Georgia Politics, has renewed its partnership with Young Harris College. If you have been following any of our posts on the project, you may be aware that Reflections began at Young Harris in the fall of 2006, as a public program for the College’s Institute of Continuing Learning (ICL). Bob Short, author, interviewer, and knowledgeable soul on all things Georgia politics, organized and produced the program. When the Russell Library came on board in late 2007, Reflections became a traditional one-on-one oral history series independent of ICL.

Renewing formal ties with Young Harris College, a partnership that will lend critical support to producing and processing the Reflections collection, was a priority for Bob and me, and was supported by Russell Library Director Sheryl Vogt and University Librarian William Gray Potter. President of Young Harris College, and former Georgia Secretary of State, Cathy Cox was also committed to the project. Cox, who has donated her papers to the Russell Library and has already taken her turn in the interview chair opposite Bob for the series, recognized the value of this project to Young Harris, UGA, and all students of Georgia history. Working with Jay Stroman, Young Harris College’s Vice President for Advancement, we were able to sort out the final details in recent weeks. The partnership will create greater access for scholars and students across the state, providing internet portals to the program through both UGA and Young Harris. Additionally, transcription and DVD copies will be made available at both the Russell Library and Young Harris’s Duckworth Library.

Welcome Young Harris – we are happy to have you as our partner!

Post by Craig Breaden, Head of Media and Oral History, Russell Library