Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Burson Collection Open

The William H. (Bill) Burson Scrapbooks are now open for research at the Russell Library. Bill Burson was born July 31, 1928 in Thomaston, Georgia, located in Upson County. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in Journalism in 1948 and served as a war correspondent in the Korean War. After the war, Burson served as an aide to Senator Herman Talmadge and later to Governor Carl Sanders. In 1967, the newly elected governor, Lester Maddox, appointed him Director of the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services. Over the next three years Burson fought a “War on Hunger” attempting to create food stamps programs across Georgia. Burson was elected State Treasurer in 1970 and campaigned for the U.S. Senate in 1972. After losing the senatorial campaign, he worked as a lobbyist for business interests in the Southeast. In 1975, he became Zell Miller’s administrative and special assistant, a position he held until his retirement in 1991.

Above: Page from scrapbook volume 13, 1968; Below: The Burson family during Bill’s campaign for State Treasurer, 1970.

This collection includes a series of twenty-five scrapbooks compiled by Burson, containing artifacts, photographs, programs, speeches, correspondence, and clippings. The scrapbooks contain information regarding his education, various fraternal and academic organizations to which he belonged, appointments to numerous positions, his election to the position of State Treasurer and 1972 senatorial campaign, and his years spent as a special assistant to Governor Zell Miller. Topics include the Korean War, education, welfare and food programs, Medicaid, Planned Parenthood, birth control, sex education, financial reform, and Governor Jimmy Carter’s government reorganization plan.

Additional materials include thirty-eight photographs illustrating Burson’s experiences as a war correspondent on the frontlines with the U.S. 7th Infantry Division during the Korean War. Other photographs document both his campaign for treasurer and for the U.S. Senate. Certificates, commissions, diplomas, and plaques document Burson’s many achievements at the University of Georgia, State Department of Family and Children Services, and as State Treasurer. Seven original editorial cartoons by Clifford (Baldy) Baldowski, Bill Daniels, David Boyd, and Eric Devericks depict the difficulties Burson faced as he attempted to revise welfare and food programs across the state and his 1972 senatorial campaign.

Above: Burson interviewing Pvt. Warren Cappel, the "Front-Line Stop" sign put up by 24th Division Engineers to discourage excursions to the front, circa 1951.

The Russell Library is open for research from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. For further information on the William H. (Bill) Burson Scrapbooks, please contact russlib@uga.edu or call (706) 542-5788.

Post by Kat Shirley, Head of Arrangement and Description, Russell Library

Monday, August 24, 2009

Informal Forum (8/28/2010): Weighing the Options

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 "Weighing the Options: How Can We Encourage Healthy Weights Among Georgia's Youth?" at a public forum this coming Friday, August 28th, from 3:00-4:30 PM, in the Russell Library Auditorium.

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

Post by Jan Levinson, Assistant Outreach Archivist, Russell Library

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

RFCLG Launches Website!

The Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia announces the launch of its new website!

To find out more about RFCLG, visit: http://www.libs.uga.edu/russell/rfclg/

If you want to learn more about moderating and framing issues, consider registering for the 2009 Public Policy Institute, to be held October 15-16th at the Russell Library.
Or, find us on Facebook!

Post by Jan Levinson, Coordinator, Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Unsuccessful Advertising

Two jewels in the Russell Library's collection of campaign ads come from the Carl Sanders collection. In 1970 Sanders ran a losing race against Jimmy Carter, whose populist message effectively countered the image Sanders cultivated: the cool competence of a former governor and skilled attorney. The Sanders 1970 campaign, unsuccessful as it may have been, yielded some of the more interesting political ads ever televised.

In 1969 Sanders hired the Burton Campbell Advertising Agency to develop his public image. One of Burton Campbell's chief creative writers was Hugh Wilson (who would later find great success as writer and producer of WKRP in Cincinnati). Wilson was enamored with the work of the Maysles brothers, creators of "direct cinema" documentaries whose art was elevating the ordinary or, conversely, bringing the extraordinary back down to earth (check out the Gimme Shelter or Grey Gardens, two of their masterpieces). Wilson hired Albert Maysles to shoot the ads, and in the summer of 1969 Maysles followed Sanders for four days, shooting five hours of film. Two longer commercials were edited from this footage, with, as Sanders's confidante Judge Norman Underwood put it, "impressive but not persuasive" results. Hugh Wilson put it this way: "I'm the man who got Jimmy Carter elected governor of Georgia." Enjoy!


"Running Again"

Craig Breaden's article on the Sanders/Maysles campaign ads, "Carl Sanders and Albert Maysles: Direct Cinema meets Georgia Politics, 1969" appears this fall in the Journal The Moving Image from the Association of Moving Image Archivists.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Registration for 2009 PPI

Registration for Public Policy Institute Opens August 20, 2009

Registration for the Russell Forum for Civic life in Georgia's 2009 Public Policy Institute opens on Thursday, August 20, 2009. Visitors will be able to register online or print the application and mail it with payment by check. On Thursday, visit www.libs.uga.edu/russell and follow the RFCLG link on the front page. Questions or problems, contact Jill Severn jsevern@uga.edu

Post by Jill Severn, Head of Access and Outreach, Russell Library

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Collection Open!

The Thomas Gresham Collection of Lester Maddox Speech/Press Files is now open for research in the Russell Library.

Thomas Gresham
The collection consists primarily of speeches and press releases written by Thomas Gresham, Bob Short, Jack Thomas, Cliff Brewton and other members of Governor Lester Maddox’s press department. Copies and drafts of speeches made to the Georgia General Assembly include inaugural addresses, the State-of-the-State addresses, and budget messages. There are also remarks to numerous schools, colleges, businesses, and civic and social organizations including the American Legion, Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, Lion Club, American Turpentine Farmers, Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and Georgia Bar Association. Accompanying several of the speeches are speaking schedules, handwritten notes, and fact sheets that summarize the event for the speech writer, documenting the purpose of the speech and information about the audiences’ race, sex, religion and political attitudes.

Of particular interest are several transcripts of meetings between Governor Maddox and the press department. During these meetings the Governor would speak extemporaneously about how his speech writers should handle subjects such as the War on Poverty, local control of education and the role of vocational-technical schools, wasteful spending on foreign aid, prison reform, the importance of providing proper utilities, such as water and sewage, throughout the state, and building an economy based on local agriculture and industry. These themes are echoed throughout Maddox’s speeches along with messages concerning the Vietnam War, desegregation, the increased role of the federal government in education, and concern over hippies and draft dodgers.

These files were maintained by Thomas Talmadge Gresham, a speechwriter for Lester G. Maddox and member of the governor’s press department. Over the course of his position under Governor Maddox, Gresham wrote or drafted over 200 speeches on various topics from patriotism to the importance of women in Georgia. After his service to the Maddox administration, Gresham became a communications officer in the Georgia Department of Highway Safety. This collection complements the Clifford Hodges Brewton Collection of Lester G. Maddox Speech/Press Research Files and William H. (Bill) Burson Scrapbooks already held by the Russell Library.

Above Left: Notes on conference with Gov. Maddox, 1968. Below Right: text of a speech given by Maddox, July 15, 1969.

The Russell Library is open for research from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. For further information on the Thomas Gresham Collection of Lester Maddox Speech/Press Files, please contact russlib@uga.edu or call (706) 542-5788.

Post by Kat Shirley, Head of Processing, Russell Library

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The End Nears...

Well, folks, it looks like this project -- processing Hugh Peterson, Sr.'s papers -- is starting to wrap up. Indeed, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. For those of you not familiar with processing collections, once the actual papers, photographs, maps and other miscellany are processed, the writing and counting starts.

I’m counting photographs, folders, boxes, linear feet, maps – you name it! If it can be counted and turned into a statistic, it probably will be. Writing about the collection is a great way to synthesize what has been processed and counted in order to describe the collection. The most difficult thing is trying to write for a researcher who has never seen the collection using the mindset and knowledge of an archivist has spent 18 months working with it.

With the help of a good supervisor, though, all will be counted and written. With the help of our access and outreach unit, everything will be put on our website and we’ll even create a baby exhibit. Yes sir, it is August: the students are coming back to campus; the days are getting shorter, and the collection is almost ready to be opened.

In this post, I have included some images from appointment books given as promotional items at the turn of the century. They somehow capture my excitement at being almost done!

Post by Renna Tuten, Project Archivist, Russell Library

Monday, August 10, 2009

Relief, Recovery, and Reform

Relief, Recovery, and Reform: Echoes of Handling Hard Times

In the grip of the Great Depression, the Roosevelt Administration proposed the New Deal, a program to restore American prosperity. This program followed a three-step course of action to transcend the economic turmoil and suffering of the American people –first relief, then recovery, and finally reform. In recent months I have been thinking of these steps as the United States is once again rocked by a profound economic downturn. These steps to rebuilding a battered country have their echo in the rhetoric and proposals of experts, politicians and citizens everywhere. What can we do right now? What will do to get back on track? And finally, what can we do to avoid this chaos in the future? The new National Issues Forums guide developed by the Center for Civic Engagement at Hofstra University provides an excellent opportunity for people to address these questions in the context of the current economic downturn and to clarify some ways to move from relief, to recovery, to reform.

A small group gathered on Friday, July 31,at the Russell Library to participate in the Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia’s informal Friday Forum. The group threshed the approaches proposed in the new Hofstra issue book, which explore strategies for expanding prosperity as the United States rebuilds its economy. The guide starts with a basic question, “Once we restart the economy, how can we build it into a place where we would want to live?” The guide then offers three approaches for discussion purposes that encompass most of the concerns expressed by people through focus groups and surveys and respond to background research data compiled as part of the preparation for the guide. Here are the approaches:

Approach #1: The Enterprise Society
Rewarding ambition and innovation is the best way to spread prosperity to every citizen.

Approach #2: Shrink the Wealth Gap
Too many people have been unfairly shut out of the nation's prosperity. We need to restore fairness to the system.

Approach #3: An Equal Start
We need to ensure that all citizens develop to their full potential. Education is a critical part of prosperity.

I moderated the forum and kicked off the discussion by asking what people’s greatest concerns were about the current state of the U. S. economy. Most of the attendees mentioned the impact furloughs would have in the Athens-area. A few days before the forum, the governor of Georgia announced additional cuts in state budgets that included at least 3 furlough days. In the Athens-area, a large percentage of the population works at the University of Georgia and at public schools so it was not surprising that this topped people’s list of concerns.

Forum attendees did share other more general concerns. One participant remarked that he was very sad to read the high percentage of Americans who no longer believe the American Dream is possible. After some discussion of this statistic, the consensus of the group was that most Americans don’t really understand how great disparities of wealth are in the United States. When I asked if people thought things were getting better yet, they pointed to the rising stock market and some other signs of economic stability, but balanced this with news of job losses. Still they were eager to look ahead to considering strategies to avoid replicating the conditions that allowed this economic downturn to occur and to strengthen people’s foothold in the economy in the future.

In looking at the proposed approaches for rebuilding the U.S. economy, the group found the first approach, which emphasized using free market principles to restore the American economy, to be unlikely to provide broad prosperity. Although not in favor of huge tax increases, most felt strongly that tax cuts to the wealthy would not generate enough well-paid jobs to achieve the sort of turnaround to the economy they saw as necessary. They pointed out that the recent history of low taxes and low regulations had not increased prosperity, but had in fact, widened the gap between rich and poor. Still, several in the group remarked that they felt it was important to keep the country’s entrepreneurial spirit vibrant and that excessive regulation of business wasn’t a good solution any more than few or no regulations were.

Talk of regulations and balance moved the group into discussion of the second approach which emphasized the tremendous imbalances in the tax code and the lack of power most working people had to redress unfairness in their work environment as key problems to tackle. Some participants were quite surprised to realize how high taxes were in the 1960s-1980s in comparison to the last thirty years. Others were aware of American taxation history and pointed out during the period of higher taxes that entrepreneurial spirit had not been appreciably dampened. Others disagreed with this assessment, but in general most agreed that a flat tax model was not going to encourage broad prosperity. At the end of this discussion arc, most participants favored a middle ground on taxes and government regulation. They supported more regulation but not excessive regulation and they favored caps on extreme executive salaries. They supported using taxes as a means to more than just pay for basic government services. They were in favor of taxes if they could be put toward rebuilding infrastructure (like high speed rail lines), exploring and implementing green energy technologies to reduce dependence on foreign fossil fuels, and making education more affordable. No one felt that unions would take hold in the U.S. the way they had in the wake of the Great Depression. Too much negative attention and a lack of a strong union tradition in some of the most economically devastated areas like the South made this idea unlikely to work according to several people who spoke out in this part of the forum.

The group turned its attention to the last approach, which proposes that improving and expanding access and quality of education to learners of all ages from pre-K to adult would solve many of the nation’s economic problems and provide broader prosperity. Although most in attendance at the forum agreed that education plays a vital role in achieving prosperity, most felt that it would be a long term or middle term solution and not immediate panacea for the ailing U.S. economy. They did discuss that the most talented students were not becoming teachers today, because they couldn’t make a decent salary and the working conditions were not great. Two students at the forum acknowledged that teaching was a great way to contribute to making society better, but neither they nor their friends were planning to pursue teaching as a career. One student also pointed out that with escalating education costs, many of their acquaintances couldn’t afford to become teachers and still pay off their educational loans. Ultimately, most in the group agreed that although there was much in the public education system that was broken and needed to be fixed in order to boost education levels, right now, the U.S. needs to focus on tightening regulation of the financial industry and revising the tax code. After these core areas are addressed, then education should be a key part of a plan to rebuild prosperity.

The forum closed with a return to one of the initial personal stake questions, “Where are we now and where are we headed?” The group was cautiously hopeful and agreed that constructive dialogue of how to move forward was heartening even in the face of furloughs.

On the path to relief, recovery, and reform,
Jill Severn

Post by Jill Severn, Head of Access and Outreach, Russell Library

New Staff Bio!

Name: Christian Lopez

Title: Oral History Coordinator

Joined Russell Staff: July 2009

What I do at the Russell Library: I coordinate the production of new oral histories and the migration of older oral histories to digital media formats.

Previous work experience: Library Associate - Access Services, UGA Science Library

M.L.I.S. University of South Carolina 2008
B.A. English, University of Nevada, Reno 1991

Professional Memberships/Affiliations:
Association of Recorded Sound Collections
Georgia Library Association

Best part of the job: That’s tough, because I enjoy everything about my job. I really like the people I get to work with and their stories. The Russell staff, people I meet through Reflections on Georgia Politics interviews, and those I’m introduced to through our other media and oral histories all have great stories to share.

Alternate Career Path: Struggling folk musician

Favorite Pastimes: Hanging with the family, playing music, learning and researching old tunes and songs

What surprises me most about this job: Trouble-shooting technologies and creative problem-solving (figuring how best to get from point A to B efficiently) - are big parts of our work. It’s a great learning environment to be in and really rewarding to work through challenges and see a big project come to fruition.