Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cherry Blossoms

Russell team in DC this week to film an oral history interview and pick up a collection. Looks like a nice time to be in the capital -- check out those cherry blossoms!

Russell team in DC to film an oral history -- took a stroll b... on Twitpic

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Return to Vietnam

On March 16, 1968 U.S. Army forces invaded a village in South Vietnam, killing hundreds of unarmed civilians in an event known as the My Lai Massacre. Twenty-six soldiers were later charged with criminal offenses for their roles in the murders, but only Lt. William Calley was convicted and sentenced to life in prison forty years ago today - on March 29, 1971.

Many Americans were outraged over the conviction, arguing that Calley was a scapegoat for the Army’s continued failures in Vietnam. Constituent letters flooded the offices of politicians and five state legislatures requested clemency for the soldier. Calley’s sentence was ultimately reduced to ten years. He served less than four years under house arrest in his quarters at Fort Benning before winning an appeal for his release in 1974.

In the column above Georgia Congressman William “Bill” Stuckey expressed his sentiments on the original sentencing of Lt. William Calley. Stuckey uses this incident to frame his growing dislike for ongoing operations in Vietnam. He writes, “If the government is not going to support our fighting men, then I can no longer justify drafting them into an impossible situation.”

Right: This Clifford Baldowski cartoon depicts prisoners locked behind bars in "murderers' row" looking on as William L. Calley, Jr., is walking out of the prison doors. Selected from The Clifford Baldowski Editorial Cartoon Collection, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies.

Post by Jan Levinson, Outreach Archivist, Russell Library

Monday, March 28, 2011

Brush with Fame

Although I completed processing the Hugh Peterson, Sr. Papers almost a year and a half ago, material still emerges at the Peterson home Sandridge Manor (located in Ailey, Georgia) that has to be added to the collection. On our most recent visit, we uncovered amazing documentation of some of the biggest names in 20th century history passing through Washington, D.C. and Savannah, Georgia.

According to the Savannah Morning News, Amelia Earhart stopped in Savannah in November 1931. This photograph (right) shows Hugh Peterson, then a senator in the Georgia Legislature, and Andrew Smith, manager of the Hotel Savannah, posing with the legendary aviatrix. There is little information on her stop in Savannah but a letter auctioned by Christies in 1994 that was written by Earhart to a woman in Augusta, Georgia, reveals that she was forced to stop in Georgia because of bad flying weather.
I saw The King’s Speech last year and was thrilled when it won many Oscars in February. Even more exciting was finding evidence of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Washington, D.C. on June 9, 1939. Their trip was historic for a number of reasons: they were the first ever reigning British Monarchs to visit the United States; their appearances boosted the public’s opinion of them in light of King Edward’s abdication of the throne; and, most important, the royal couple’s tour of Canada and the United States served to reinforce support for Great Britain in the event of war. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum gives an extensive account of the King and Queen’s time spent with the Roosevelts, which included a picnic at Hyde Park during which hot dogs were served. The luncheon food made a big splash with the media and, according to a letter from Queen Elizabeth to Eleanor Roosevelt, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.

Post by Renna Tuten, Processing Archivist, Russell Library

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What's Up at THATCamp

A few weeks back (March 4-6, 2011 to be exact) I attended an interesting "un-conference" at Emory University. This is a short chronicle of that experience.

THATCamp brings together various individuals employed in the "digital humanities" to share ideas, present relevant work, and collaborate on future projects. True to its "un-conference" advertising, THATcamp provided a flexible structure -- a schedule of educational sessions based on session proposals sent in by attendees and voted on the first day on site. The sessions focused on group discussion but offered everyone opportunities to break apart and create their own presentations, too. All sessions focused on one of three tracks: digital humanities project, programming, or pedagogy. I focused on the digital humanities project track which included information quite relevant to my work here at the Russell Library -- that of building, providing access to, and assessing digital collections.

It was refreshing to attend a conference with a clear vision for how to build a closer knit community of librarians, archivists, teachers, and technology workers -- something that is sorely lacking at institutions across the country. The flexible format of THATCamp definitely built a sense of camaraderie among it's "campers". We all came together to learn from each others experiences in the various realms of digital humanities, serving as both teachers and students during the three day exchange. Although this was the first THATcamp in Georgia, the conference clearly filled part of a growing need. I look forward to seeing what this idea inspires next!

Post by Abby Adams, Access and Electronic Records Archivist, Russell Library

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What's Cookin'?

Russell Library director Sheryl Vogt and I recently traveled down to Ailey, Georgia to visit Sandridge Manor, a home built in the 1940s by Hugh Peterson, Sr. and Patience Russell Peterson. Although my project processing the Hugh Peterson, Sr. Papers came to an end in December 2009 (which you can still read about in "Progress on Peterson" here on the blog), we periodically travel down to Ailey to pick up more items that are part of the Patience Russell Peterson Papers.

Patience Russell Peterson (or “Miss Pat” as she was known) was one of Senator Richard B. Russell’s younger sisters. She was active in politics and civic activities from the time she was a teenager until she passed away in 2002 at the age of 100. Much of her time was spent supporting her husband, Congressman Hugh Peterson, and his political career. But Miss Pat also found the time to participate in a wide variety of activities and clubs, including the Ailey Garden Club, the Georgia State Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of American Colonists, Daughters of Colonial Wars, Magna Carta Dames, and Colonial Dames of America. She was also the first woman selected to serve a full term on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents in 1970, a governing body that she helped her husband plan forty years earlier when he was tapped to draft the Georgia State Government Reorganization Bill of 1931.

As we were looking through her things it was easy to see how passionate she also was about keeping up with current events, researching the genealogical lines in her family and helping others do the same, listening to and playing music, and writing poetry. She was also very invested in making her house a home – something we found evidence of through her substantial collection of books and clippings about home d├ęcor, gardening and cooking. About an hour before we left to return to Athens, I found a small cache of cookbooks she amassed before she was married in 1930. I instantly fell in love with the illustrations on the covers as well as their small size. Bon appetite!

Post by Renna Tuten, Processing Archivist, Russell Library

Above: Cox’s Manual of Gelatine Cookery, Third American Edition, Revised and Enlarged be Miss Marion Harris Neil, 1910

Below: Desserts of the World presented by the Genesee Pure Food Co., 1909; Dainty Desserts for Dainty People: Salads and Savories by Janet McKenzie Hill, 1901

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Right to Vote

Forty years ago today -- on March 10, 1971-- the U.S. Senate approved the 26th amendment to the Constitution, which proposed lowering the voting age to 18. The House of Representatives acted likewise, and on June 30, 1971 the amendment received ratification by the 38 required states, and became law.

The Congress had faced mounting pressure to pass the measure as the war in Vietnam raged on. “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote,” was a frequent saying of proponents of the amendment who felt it was unjust to draft young men to fight in a war when they lacked the means to advocate for an end to the war or their conscripted service in it.

The roots of the movement originated in 1940. President Franklin Roosevelt instituted a national conscription, requiring that all men between the ages of twenty-one and forty-five register for one year’s military service – to be selected by a national lottery. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the required term of service for those conscripted was extended and the age range was expanded to men ages eighteen to sixty-four.

Post by Jan Levinson, Outreach Archivist, Russell Library

Friday, March 04, 2011

Perdue Papers Come to Russell Library

After serving more than three decades in state and local government including two terms as Georgia’s governor, Sonny Perdue has committed his political papers and memorabilia to the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia. By a special arrangement with the Georgia Archives, the Russell Library will house both the former governor’s personal and official state papers. This collection joins the papers of thirteen other Georgia governors.

“The addition of Sonny Perdue’s papers means that Russell Library now holds more than half the personal papers of modern Georgia’s governors,” said Sheryl Vogt, Director of the Russell Library. “We are happy that the legal agreement with the state archives allows us to house these records.”

“Governor Perdue’s papers continue the cornerstone documentation provided by the state’s past leaders, which reveal the rich and complex history of Georgia’s modern history,” Vogt said. “Researchers will have great interest in Governor Perdue’s collection not only because he was the first Republican governor since 1871 but also he served during a period challenged by significant population growth, environmental challenges, and economic decline.”

George Ervin “Sonny” Perdue was born in 1946 in Perry, Georgia, to Ervin and Ophie Perdue, a farmer and teacher, respectively. After graduating from Warner Robins High School, Perdue attended the University of Georgia where he played football and was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree. He remained in Athens to attend the University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine and earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1971. Perdue entered the Air Force following graduation and left in 1974 holding the rank of captain. In 1972, he married Mary Ruff, whom he met while they were both students at UGA.

After settling back in Georgia in 1974, Perdue became a small business owner in Houston County concentrating in agribusiness and transportation. He became active in public service, including sitting on the Houston County Planning and Zoning Board, during the 1980s. Perdue was elected to the Georgia State Senate in 1990 representing his Middle Georgia district in the General Assembly for the next 11 years. While in office, he chaired the Senate Higher Education Committee and also served as President Pro Tempore and Majority Leader. His other committee assignments during his tenure included Ethics, Finance and Public Utilities, Health and Human Services, Reapportionment, and Economic Development, Tourism and Cultural Affairs.

In 2002, Perdue launched a gubernatorial campaign against incumbent Roy Barnes. He campaigned for governor on a platform of restoring public trust in state government and defeated Barnes with 52% of the vote thus becoming the first Republican governor in the state since 1871. From 2003 through 2010, Perdue concentrated his efforts on improving transportation, safety, education and ethics in government. He established the Commission for a New Georgia, which studied management issues within state government and focused on improving customer service in state agencies. His work on conservation culminated in the introduction and subsequent passing of the Georgia Land Conversation Act, which was signed into law in 2005. Together as Governor and First Lady, the Perdues pursued initiatives involving the needs of children in the state, particularly those in foster care. Gov. Perdue won re-election in November 2006 against former Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor. Following his departure from office, the former governor resides with his wife in Bonaire, Georgia.

Governor Perdue’s official papers include executive files, which consist of subject files generated by his administration including those of his assistants and others pertaining to legislators, agencies and organizations, and counties. These records also contain proclamations, scheduling files, Legal Division records, Public Officials Commission records, and External Affairs files. Perdue’s personal political files include those pertaining to his campaigns, his work in the State Senate, clippings, the Commission for a New Georgia, and those of the First Lady. Photographs, artifacts, and audio-visual material are a part of both the official and personal papers.

For more information on the Sonny Perdue Papers, please contact the Russell Library staff at (706) 542-5788 or email The Richard B. Russell Library is open for research Monday through Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm, with the exception of University of Georgia holidays.