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

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