Friday, September 20, 2013

Congrats to Bob Short

We are pleased to announce that Russell Library partner Bob Short has won a Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council Award for Excellence in Documenting Georgia History. Short was nominated for his work with the Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Series, which is produced and archived by the Oral History and Media unit of the Russell Library.

Bob Short with his wife Diana.
Reflections began in the fall of 2006 at Young Harris College as a lecture and discussion program hosted by Short. In late 2007, the Richard B. Russell Library began producing the program as an oral history video series to further illuminate and personalize the tectonic shifts that occurred in Georgia politics in the late twentieth century. Over the past six years, we've recorded over 150 interviews with Bob Short, and we couldn't ask for a better partner. Traveling around the state with Bob to collect interviews and meet the movers and shakers of modern Georgia politics is always an adventure, and it feels at times like he really does know everyone. Bob Short is the reason that Reflections on Georgia Politics is so successful. He brings decades of experiences to the table and has a deep knowledge of and passion for Georgia political history. Congratulations Bob!

In the clip below, hear Bob Short interview longtime Atlanta journalist and columnist Bill Shipp about his sometimes contentious relationship with Georgia newspapers and politicians during the time when he wrote columns opposing segregation (start at timecode 39:42)

Post by Callie Holmes, Oral History and Media Archivist, Russell Library

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

George (Buddy) Darden Papers Now Open

The Russell Library is pleased to announce that the George W. (Buddy) Darden Papers are now open for research.

Congressman Darden represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1995. A graduate of the University of Georgia and the University of Georgia Law School, Darden served as assistant district attorney and later as district attorney of Cobb County, Georgia, before being elected as a Democrat to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1980. After serving two years in the State House, Darden sought higher office. Following the death of U.S. Representative Larry McDonald of Georgia’s 7th district, Darden ran for and was elected to the U.S. House in a special election held in 1983. Darden served six terms.

Darden pays a visit to the troops, circa 1989.

During his tenure in Congress, Darden served on the House Armed Services, Ethics, and Appropriations Committees as well as the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Darden and his colleagues faced several major issues including the Persian Gulf War and the rise in military spending. Darden’s legislative record reflects his work to benefit the State of Georgia, such as his support for the Dobbins Air Force Base, and his efforts, along with fellow Georgia Congressman Ed Jenkins, to save jobs at Lockheed’s Marietta, Georgia, facility.

Darden, standing in front of a P-3 Orion, addresses workers at 
Lockheed’s Marietta, Georgia, facility, circa 1993.
A moderate Democrat, Darden strived to represent his constituents’ interests in national issues, such as healthcare reform. Always one to keep local issues in mind, he sponsored a bill to relocate a highway that would have affected the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, located in northwest Georgia.

In 1994, Darden lost his re-election bid to Republican candidate Bob Barr. Following his time in office, President Clinton appointed Darden to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. After Clinton’s presidency, Darden began doing work for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. Darden was unsuccessful in his 2002 run for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House. He is currently a partner with the law firm McKenna, Long & Aldridge.

Chronicling the political career of Congressman Darden, the papers, totaling 290 linear feet of records, offer deep insight into the issues that mattered to Georgians during the 1980s and 1990s. Letters from Darden’s constituents (Series I: Constituent Services) touch on a multitude of topics, including Medicare, Social Security, taxes, gun control, and, to a lesser extent, abortion, the environment, the Iran-Contra scandal, labor and trade regulations, and the military. Legislative files (Series II: Legislative) document his committee service and his work on impending legislation. Other files provide a fuller picture of Darden’s career and interests. Series III: Speeches and Press, for example, is critical to understanding Darden as a politician and public figure through his remarks delivered at events, on the House floor and on other occasions and how the media covered the congressman. Additional records include Series IV: Political, Series V: Personal, Series VI: Office, Series VII: Photographs, and Series VIII: Artifacts

The Russell Library is open for research from 8:30am-4:30pm, Monday through Friday (with the exception of University of Georgia holidays). For more information on this and other collections call (706) 542-5788, email, or visit

Post by Adriane Hanson, Processing and Electronic Records Archivist, Russell Library

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reflections on an Archival Internship

This summer I spent ten weeks processing papers as an intern at the Russell Library. I am a graduate student from Auburn University (War Eagle!) but live in Athens and was selected for the internship. I was hired to process a collection donated by former Athens Mayor, Heidi Davison, from start-to-finish. With Mayor Davison’s papers I learned how to inventory a collection, work with accession records, appraise materials, process papers, create a finding aid and upload it to the library’s system. Heidi Davison’s papers were well-organized and with the help of electronic records guru and archivist Adriane Hanson, I finished the collection quickly. The lessons I learned from processing Mayor Davison’s papers allowed me to have the confidence in my own ability to work as an archivist in training.

I gained even more experience by processing three more collections over the course of the internship. Each collection was different and offered its own unique learning opportunities. The Phillip T. and Maria Alicia Crespo Parkerson Collection  required less processing than Mayor Davison’s records but a more personal biographical approach. The Parkerson papers documented the family’s travels in official and unofficial capacities and unlike the Mayor’s records these papers offered personal insight into the family and how they lived in Latin America. The John C. Foster, Sr. Papers documented the work of former Georgia State Senator. These papers required more physical processing than any of the other collections; some folders had to be removed due to mold, rusted paper clips had to be removed, and two boxes of loose speeches needed to be corralled into order.

The last collection I processed was the smallest and left me most perplexed about its organization. The Melvin Hill Files on the Select Committee to Revise State Constitution  papers were originally housed in large binders in five boxes. When the materials were removed from the binders the collection measured 2.5 linear feet. This collection was definitely a learning experience as I had never processed any collection of this size. It was new to have to give up some of the archival training of creating description and content notes and let the collection stand on its own. Some of the most helpful and meaningful experiences this summer have come from actually applying “more product less process” standards (meaning that we use flexible, efficient processing techniques).

I think the most important knowledge imparted to me through my time at the Russell Library this summer was what you can actually achieve when you process minimally. Four new collections are now available and open to researchers thanks to my work over three months time. These collections are now ready for students, researchers, historians, and others interested in Georgia’s history. I think one of the most important and satisfying aspects of being a processing archivist is the knowledge that you have created access to materials that were previously closed to the public. I could not have chosen a better environment to work and learn than the Russell Library. These past ten weeks have afforded me an immeasurable amount of professional and practical experience as well as personal enjoyment. All of the staff of the Russell Library were friendly, helpful, and made my internship a very memorable ten weeks.

Post by Angelica Marini, Processing Intern, Russell Library

Friday, September 13, 2013

New Collections Now Open for Research

Three new collections are now open for research at the Russell Library. Each represents an important aspect of Georgia’s history and the diversity of those who call themselves Georgians.

Phillip T. and Maria Alicia Crespo Parkerson Collection (1807-2008; bulk, 1965-2004) Documenting the diplomatic careers and philanthropic endeavors of Phillip T. and Maria Alicia Parkerson, the collection includes correspondence, press materials, family papers, and artifacts from the Parkerson family and their life in Latin America.

The John C. Foster, Sr. Papers (1970-2005)
Foster’s papers document his tenure as a State Senator from the 50th District in North Georgia and include constituent correspondence, issue mail, bill files, news clippings, speeches, campaign and political files, and photographs and artifacts. The papers cover many concerns important to modern Georgians: education, environment, development, and correctional issues.

The Melvin Hill Files on the Select Committee to Revise State Constitution (1977-1983)
The collection documents Melvin Hill’s role as staff director for the Select Committee and contains files related to drafts and revisions of amendments and versions of the 1983 Georgia constitution.

Post by Angelica Marini, Processing Intern, Russell Library

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Russell Forum Event: The Divided State of America (9/10/13)

Please join the Russell Forum for Civic Life, the civic engagement program of the Russell Library, for a community forum on the impacts of polarization on American society today. With the help of trained neutral moderators, participants will weigh and discuss several strategies for tackling the gridlock of ideals and circumstance that impact relationships with friends and families and challenge our ability to work together on tough public issues.

All ideas are welcome. The event is free. Registration for the event is NOT required, but participants may request a copy of the forum discussion guide in advance by emailing

Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Room 277, Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries
Directions to event available at

Issue Guide: The Divided State of America: How Can We Get Work Done Even When We Disagree? 

“America today is a house divided on many fronts. We are increasingly partisan in our politics. We are prone to spending time with people who think like we do. We avoid talking about public affairs with our relatives, co-workers and neighbors for fear of alienating people close to us. Our media outlets amplify our differences and fuel polarization. Our lawmakers are increasingly stymied in their attempts to reach agreement on critical bills that affect our jobs, safety and future. Our deep divisions seem intractable at times. Yet many Americans believe that we can and must find ways to address pressing public issues that are critical to our quality of life and the future of our nation. The overarching question posed by this guide is a practical one: How can we get work done even when we disagree?”

The above is excerpted from the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress Issue Guide, The Divided State of America: How Can We Get Work Done Even When We Disagree?

For more information contact Jill Severn, 706-542-5766,