Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Cheer from the Russell Library!

Inspired by a large knit American flag, the Russell Library's own Adriane Hanson (electronic records guru, knitter extraordinaire) created this miniature Georgia flag version as a holiday gift!

Adriane told us that to design the project, she used a combination of the specifications for the flag to get the internal proportions correct, and information from a flag request form to get the right length vs. height proportions. "Each stripe and the blue square were knit separately with a seed stitch and then pieced together," she said, adding that "the seal was made with felt and a sharpie, with a few modifications from the original to make it possible, and the seal and stars are sewn on.”

The changing design of the Georgia State Flag is quite interesting and political.  You can read more about it here: State Flags of Georgia

Sharing this photo to add a a little holiday cheer to your day. Happy holidays from the Russell Library!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Application Deadline Extended for Community Docent Program

The University of Georgia’s Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries is extending the application deadline for participation in its docent program to Friday, January 9, 2015.

The Docent Corps is a skilled group of volunteers who provide tours of the exhibit galleries to visitors, ranging from fifth graders to adults. Docents are trained to highlight permanent and rotating exhibitions and to help increase awareness of the many resources offered by the three special collections libraries: The Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The Walter J. Brown Media Archive and Peabody Awards Collections, and The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies.

A 10-week training program, hosted from Feb. 17 through Apr. 21, provides an opportunity for docents to meet curators, archivists, and other special collections staff, learn about the collections and techniques for leading tours, and become familiar with all parts of the Special Collections Libraries Building. Follow-up monthly meetings throughout the year provide opportunities to learn about new exhibits in the galleries and programs sponsored by the three special collections libraries.

The program seeks applicants who are enthusiastic, flexible, and open to working with visitors of all ages. No previous experience in the arts or humanities is required, but a love of history and experience with teaching or public speaking is desired. For more information about the training schedule and expectations, please visit the FAQ’s page. Interested individuals can apply online by visiting:

Applications must be submitted by Friday, January 9, 2015. Please direct any questions to Jan Hebbard at or (706) 542-5788. Note: All candidates selected for admission to the docent program will be required to submit to a background investigation.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

“I do not belong to any organized party”: Making Sense of the Democratic Party of Georgia Records

Note: In February of this year, the Russell Library embarked on a one-year project to process the records of the Democratic Party of Georgia (Georgia Democrats) and the Georgia Republican Party (GAGOP), funded by a generous grant of up to $58,777 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). Project archivist Angelica Marini has been providing a series of short articles throughout this year highlighting various aspects of the records as she works to organize, describe and make them available. In this blog post for the project, Angelica provides an introduction and overview of the records of the Democratic Party of Georgia, which are scheduled to open for research in January.

Governor-elect Jimmy Carter (left) and
David Gambrell, at the State Democratic Convention
in Macon, Georgia, 1970. 
In 1970, newly elected Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter appointed David Gambrell to the position of state Democratic Party Chairman. To celebrate the appointment, Democratic friends gave him a cake in the shape of a donkey. Written across the donkey in icing was Will Roger’s infamous quote about Democratic Party politics: “I do not belong to any organized party. I am a Democrat.”

This satirical Will Rogers quote unintentionally reflects some of the major problems I faced as I began making sense of the DPG’s records. When the party donated its records to the Russell Library, they were not especially disorganized, but it took considerable time to determine how the records were arranged and used by the party. What I discovered is that the DPG records document the party’s actions and work more than political plans, elections, and campaigns.

The Democratic Party of Georgia Records (1962-2007) cover an historic period of Democratic domination in state politics. The DPG records offer researchers an inside look at a strong and powerful organization but also one that was minimally organized. While the party was organized centrally at state party headquarters, they exercised their political power with a very lean organizational structure. The bulk of the collection (1968-1990) is comprised of records created and accumulated by officials and staff of the DPG. The records are arranged in seven series that represent the functions and organization of the party: I. Administrative, II. County and District, III. Financial, IV. Committees and Conventions, V. Campaigns and Elections, and VI. Photographs and Ephemera, and VII. Audiovisual Materials.

Prior to the Civil Rights movement and the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the DPG was a racially conservative party committed to the system of segregation. The Civil Rights movement changed the predominantly white Democratic Party into an organization that better reflected the racial dynamics of the state. In the 1970s, the formerly conservative party aligned with more liberal national policies and platforms; it was a party in transition.

In 1975, the Democrats weathered major organizational changes and convened its first ever Charter Convention, where they codified policies, outlined new goals, and drafted new rules for delegate selection. Some of these changes created greater access for minorities as affirmative action became an effective way of including those who were formerly excluded by law and tradition. These kinds of changes were common for Democratic parties in southern states after the Civil Rights movement as engrained ties to Jim Crow were systematically transformed through legislation as well as in the regional political culture.

In the late 1970s, all county committees were charged with reorganizing according to the rules of the new state charter; other changes loosened the ties to state government and the role of the governor in the party. These changes created greater diversity within party politics but also in the electorate at large. The records of the DPG document some of the most important political transitions specific to the state but also to region-wide changes that affected the national political landscape.

The earliest records in the collection, which date from the 1960s, are primarily financial and administrative, documenting the party’s involvement in county, state, and national politics. The day-to-day activity and function of the state party are reflected in administrative correspondence. Letters to and from the Chairmen and Executive Directors relate to a number of topics including finances, organization, and membership. The financial records also tell part of the administrative story as fundraising records show a party bankrolled by major events like the Dollars for Democrats campaign and the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

The largest series of records, Committees and Conventions, document the work of local and statewide committees and the conventions that party members attended. The Democratic Party was an organization with power dispersed throughout the state. The major work of the party was done at the local level and the interactions between the state party staff and their county, district, and regional committees and chairs and these records reflect a party in action. The State Democratic Executive Committee, the State Democratic Committee of Georgia, Standing Committees, Special Committees, Democratic County Committees, and Precinct Coordinators all had important roles in making the party function in power. Committees and conventions may seem like two separate organizational functions, but the records they produced were inseparable; most of the committees’ work was made official through convention dialogue and voting.

Congratulatory cake, featuring quote by Will Rogers,
for David Gambrell, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, 1970.
Overall, The Democratic Party of Georgia Records are an important source for understanding the historic and dramatic changes in the political landscape of the state and region. The records document the active work carried out by the party rather than the strategy and deliberation behind political platforms and policy planning. The DPG, as it existed in the late twentieth century, was the political power in the state and, as a result, did not generate the kind of political plans that the GAGOP did in their formative years. What these records demonstrate instead is how the party operated throughout the state. Administrative and financial records reflect an existing system of political activity related to fundraising with minimal interference from state headquarters. County and district materials reflect the power of distinct groups within the state party. Notably, the records also have a significant digital component, which you can read about in an earlier blog post, Let’s Get Digital!: Electronic Records Day 2014.

Post by Angelica Marini, Project Archivist, Russell Library

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Tribute: Carl Sanders (1921-2014)

The staff of the Russell Library would like to pay respects to former Georgia Governor Carl Sanders who passed away on Sunday in Atlanta. Below is a short biography of Sanders, highlighting his political career, followed by a few clips drawn from the Russell Library audiovisual and oral history collections. For more information on the Carl Sanders Papers, visit the Russell Library website.

Sanders and his supporters celebrating his election
as governor of Georgia, 1962.
Carl Sanders was born in Augusta, Georgia on May 15, 1921. He accepted a football scholarship to the University of Georgia, but in 1943 enlisted in the Air Force and trained as a B-17 pilot. After serving during World War II, he returned to UGA where he completed law school in 1947. In that same year he married Betty Foy of Statesboro, Georgia.

Sanders entered private practice in Augusta and eventually started the law firm of Sanders, Thurmond, Hester and Jolles. In 1954, he made a successful bid for the Georgia House of Representatives. Two years later, in 1956, he won a seat in the Georgia Senate. At the time, the seat rotated between Richmond, Glascock and Jefferson counties. Sanders was subsequently elected to the same seat by both Jefferson and Glascock counties due to his overwhelming popularity, becoming the only man to serve three consecutive terms in a multi-county district. In 1959, Governor Ernest Vandiver named Sanders as Senate Floor Leader. He went on to serve as president pro tempore of the Senate from 1960 to 1962.

Clifford H. Baldowski cartoon commenting
on the campaign strategies of Sanders and
Griffin in the 1962 gubernatorial election.
Sanders took the next step in his political career by running for governor in 1962 against Marvin Griffin. Shortly after his announcement, federal courts ruled that Georgia's county unit system was unconstitutional. The state would elect its officials by popular vote, giving the urban candidate, Sanders, a greater change at victory.

As a moderate on racial issues, he faced an outspoken opponent of integration in former Governor Marvin Griffin. While agreeing that Georgia should keep its tradition of segregation, Sanders believed it was imperative that the state avoid violence and obey the laws of the country. Unlike Griffin, his campaign issues were not built around race. Instead, Sanders focused on the elimination of corruption in state government and pushed for overall progress for the state. He also wanted to improve education and bring industry to Georgia. With his positive message, Sanders emerged victorious, becoming the youngest governor in the country at the time. He was 37.

Upon his election, Sanders set about following through on his campaign promises. In order to revitalize Georgia's educational system, the new governor created the Governor's Commission to Improve Education in 1963. Based on the commission's findings and with the approval of the General Assembly, the state raised teach salaries, added more teaching positions, and reorganized the Department of Education. The program also built new school buildings, established more junior colleges and vocational schools, and created the Governor's Honors Program. Sanders also appointed the Governor's Commission for Efficiency and Improvement which helped to reform many government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and the Highway Department, as well as the prison and state merit systems.

In May 1963, Sanders sought to draft a new state constitution. With the appointment of the Constitutional Revision Commission, he hoped to condense and clarify Georgia's Constitution. While the General Assembly approved the new constitution, it was never put on the general ballot. The momentum was lost when federal courts declared that the General Assembly was incorrectly apportioned and the constitution was, therefore, invalid. Sanders would later play an integral part in the passage of the reapportionment of congressional districts, but would never succeed in revising the constitution.

Unable to succeed himself as governor, Sanders returned to private life in 1967. Instead of returning to Augusta, he and his family remained in Atlanta where he started a new law firm. On April 25, 1970, Sanders announced his campaign for governor. He ultimately lost this final campaign to Jimmy Carter. Though this was his last attempt at public office, he continued to work for other Democratic candidates such as Zell Miller, Andrew Young, and Sam Nunn. He also went on to serve as Finance Chairman for the Democratic Party of Georgia during George Busbee's term as governor.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Recap: 2014 Scholars & Policymakers Symposium

The two-day Scholars & Policymakers Symposium here at the Richard B. Russell Library came to an end last Tuesday, and it was a success! We were so lucky to have remarkable speakers, panelists, and moderators here to join us for this occasion celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Library. Thank you to all who participated!

Each of the four panel sessions covered one of our established collecting areas: politics of public good, social relations, economy, and environment. By having three panelists and a moderator for each, attendees heard a variety of viewpoints from individuals with different research specialties and life experiences. While opinions of those on a given panel may have differed, each discussion as a whole shed light on the topics at hand.

Throughout the symposium there was praise for the library’s namesake, Richard B. Russell. The event kicked off with opening remarks from Norman Underwood, current chairman of the Russell Library Foundation, who thanked the the Library's director Sheryl Vogt, for giving, “40 years and most of her heart to furthering Senator Russell's legacy and preserving his papers."

Without the strong foundation provided by the Richard B. Russell Collection, the Library could not have expanded in scope and collecting to the wide array of political papers it now holds. And truly, the core of this programming initiative was to recognize the scholarship that has grown from these archival holdings. From discussion of  early transportation efforts, labor unions, and the National School Lunch Program, to the history of race relations in the South, Georgia’s agricultural economy and poultry industry, and national security and foreign relations during the 1950s and 60s -- scholars reported clearly that their explorations through the collections of the Richard B. Russell Library provided great help in producing rich, new insights into modern American history.

Chris Lopez, oral history and audiovisual archivist, was able to record all of the panel sessions. The full video should be up on the YouTube channel soon. In the meantime, our staff has created an audio playlist on SoundCloud. We hope you enjoy the re-listening to the program, or enjoying it for the first time!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Powell Moore Lecture at UGA Today!

Longtime federal government official Powell A. Moore will deliver a lecture on politics titled "Washington Insights Over Half a Century: Midterm Elections in the Sixth Year of a Two-Term Presidency" today (Nov. 3) at 3:30 p.m. in Room 271 of the University of Georgia Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

The lecture will consider whether the Democrats will maintain control of the U.S. Senate or if control will shift to the Republican Party. Co-sponsored by the UGA School of Public and International Affairs, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, the event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served in the lobby immediately following the lecture.

Moore, a UGA alumnus, most recently served as representative of the U.S. secretary of defense to the Organization for Security and Cooperation (2006-2009). Active in public policy affairs in Washington, D.C., for more than 40 years, Moore has also served as assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs under President Ronald Reagan; on the White House staff under Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan; and as chief of staff for Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee. He began his Washington, D.C., career in 1966 as press secretary to Sen. Richard B. Russell of Georgia, for whom one of three U.S. Senate office buildings is named, as well as the library on UGA's main campus.

"UGA alumnus Powell Moore has enjoyed a remarkable career in service to five presidents in domestic roles in legislative affairs and in the foreign policy arena," said Stefanie Lindquist, dean of UGA's School of Public and International Affairs. "His interview with Bob Short for the Russell Library oral history series is a must-see: a fascinating walk through the Georgia and national political scenes from Richard Russell to Watergate to the Cold War and beyond. These experiences provide Powell Moore with a unique vantage point on today's politics. Come and be fascinated."

This summer, the Russell Library announced the opening of the Powell A. Moore Papers. The papers capture Moore's career involved in legislative affairs, public policy and international relations in the federal government and in the private sector. The papers include reports, news clippings, invitations, program materials, artifacts and audiovisual materials related to his work and to numerous presidential campaigns, conventions and inaugurations from 1972 to 2009.

Moore is a graduate of Georgia Military College and received a bachelor's degree in journalism from UGA. He serves as a board of visitors member for both the School of Public and International Affairs and the Cox International Center.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Ashton Ellett

Ashton Ellett, PhD candidate at the University of Georgia and former exhibit intern at the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, will be speaking at our Scholars & Policymakers Symposium today at 9:00a.m. on the Politics of Public Good panel session. Ellett received his bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from Westminster College in 2008 and his master’s in United States History from the University of Georgia in 2010. He is currently working on his dissertation at UGA.

Ellett’s areas of interest in research and teaching include African American history, business & Capitalism, Conservatism, political & legal study, 19th & 20th century United States, the American South, War & Diplomacy, and Georgia History. His master’s thesis, “Organizing the Right: Service Clubs, Conservatism, and the Origins of the Two-Party South in Cobb County, Georgia, 1942-1968,” and his in-progress dissertation, "Recasting Conservatism: Georgia Republicans and the Transformation of Southern Politics since World War II," both focus on the changing Republican Party in Georgia.

While at Westminster College, Ellett served as the Young Democrats president as well as the editor-in-chief of the Alati Political Magazine. He graduated summa cum laude with a minor in English before coming to the University of Georgia. Ellett is a member of the American Historical Association (AHA), the Georgia Association of Historians (GAH), the Southern Political Science Association (SPSA), and several other organizations devoted to politics and history. Ellet’s talk at the symposium will highlight his research focused on the history of the National School Lunch program for the exhibit “Food, Power, and Politics: The Story of School Lunch” now on display through May 15, 2015 in the Russell Library Gallery. The exhibit examines the complicated history of the NSLP with a focus on people and events in Georgia. Ellet co-wrote the script and helped to adapt it for use as a featured special collection on the New Georgia Encyclopedia (forthcoming, spring 2015).

He has won two awards for his work as a teaching assistant, and his piece from 2013 was published in the Georgia Historical Quarterly. He is currently researching for the Georgia Department of Transportation to help organize their centennial celebration.

Come hear Ashton Ellett along with a host of other great speakers at the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium happening today from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. All sessions are free and open to the public!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Chris Manganiello

Dr. Chris Manganiello, another one of our featured speakers for the upcoming Scholars & Policymakers Symposium Oct. 27-28, currently serves as Policy Director of the Georgia River Network in Athens, Georgia. In this role Manganiello analyzes government policy and controls, implements communications for the GRN, and organizes fundraising and events. He received his Ph.D. with honors from the University of Georgia. His dissertation, “Dam Crazy with Wild Consequences: Artificial Lakes and Natural Rivers in the American South, 1845-1990,” was awarded the Rachel Carson Prize by the American Society for Environmental History.

Manganiello has written and edited a number of academic publications including “Hitching the New South to White Coal: Water and Power, 1890-1933” for the Journal of Southern History and Environmental History and the American South: A Reader, which he edited with Paul S. Sutter. His other publications include “The Flint River: A Sun Belt River and the Burden of History,” and his contributions to the blog Georgia Water Wire, which details water-related news and policies.

After noticing that there were few written histories of the water resources in the southeastern region of the United States, Manganiello began working on a new book project, titled "Southern Water, Southern Power: How the Politics of Cheap Energy and Water Scarcity Shaped a Region." Noticing that all of the lakes in the southern Blue Ridge and Piedmont were man-made, he began to investigate who created these artificial water sources. This in-progress book focuses on the manipulation of the environment to make cheap sources of energy and how this affects social power.

Manganiello has presented at a number of academic conference panels and presentations concerning regional environmental issues, focusing specifically on concerns of urban drought, river valley wildlife management, and southern waterscapes and lakes. He was awarded the Smithsonian Institution Pre-Doctoral Fellowship by the National Museum of American History for 2008-2009. He was also one of four students at the University of Georgia to receive the Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award in 2011. He is a member of the American Society for Environmental History and the Southern Historical Association.

Don’t miss Dr. Chris Manganiello’s appearance on the Politics of Environment panel discussion, happening at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28. We hope to see you at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries for the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium next week. And stay tuned to the blog for more speaker spotlights as the 40th anniversary celebrations approach!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Michelle Brattain

Dr. Michelle Brattain, Associate Chair in the Department of History at Georgia State University, is one of our featured speakers for the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium happening Oct. 27-28, 2014 -- just one week away! Brattain received her bachelor’s degree in United States and women’s history from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and went on to receive her PhD in United States History from Rutgers University. Her research and teaching specialties include modern United States history, the history of ideas about race, Southern history, and the history of labor. She now teaches undergraduate courses on United States history in the 20th century and the history of race and human variation at Georgia State University.

Brattain remains very involved in the writing community both as a writer herself and as a part of the editorial boards for Americana and the Journal of Southern History. She previously worked as an editor for Atlanta History for six years until she moved to the Journal of Southern History’s board in 2007. She has been an editorial board member for Americana for over a decade. In addition to reviewing dozens of books, she has published many works herself. Her recent pieces include “Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism: UNESCO and the Politics of Presenting Race to the Postwar Public” and “Miscegenation and Competing Definitions of Race in Twentieth-Century Louisiana,” along with a handful of others.

Her 2001 book The Politics of Whiteness: Race, Workers, and Culture in the Modern South examines race, specifically in the textile industry in Rome, Georgia from the 1930s to the 1970s. It discusses the relationship between race and class during most of the 20th century. Her thorough research for this book helps to paint the picture of white supremacy in textile mills that ultimately shaped Southern politics. Brattain is currently working on a manuscript titled "What Race Was: Popular and Scientific Constructions of Race in the Postwar United States."

In 2002, she received the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award for the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State University. She was named an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Library Resident Fellow by the American Philosophical Society in July of 2003. She has also received multiple grants and awards for her research through Georgia State University.

Dr. Michelle Brattain will speak as part of the Politics of Social Relations panel at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28. We hope you will join us for this and other discussions at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. Be on the lookout for more Speaker Spotlights on our blog as we get geared up for the symposium next week!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Jason Sokol

Dr. Jason Sokol, Assistant Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire and author of There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights, will be one of our featured scholars at the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium October 27th-28th. Sokol received his bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College followed by his master’s and PhD in history from the University of California at Berkeley. He specializes in American politics, race, and civil rights, and conducts research on similar topics including 20th century U.S. history, the Civil Rights Movement, and political & African American history. Sokol is currently teaching courses in history and race relations at the University of New Hampshire.

His first book, There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights, studies the full narrative of the Civil Rights Movement by taking white southerner’s experiences into account as well. Sokol combed through newspapers, oral histories, news archives, and other publications to find personal accounts for his book. It depicts the white southerners’ attitudes and actions during the time in their own words, and sheds light on a viewpoint otherwise overlooked. There Goes My Everything was named one of the 10 best books of 2006 by Jonathan Yardley in the Washington Post Book World and won the Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award. Sokol’s second book, All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn will be published in December of this year.

In addition to his two books, Sokol boasts a variety of other accomplishments and accolades. His writing pieces have appeared in a number of publications including the Journal of American History, the Journal of Southern History, The Boston Globe, The Nation, and more. He has received fellowships from Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell University. Sokol is also the recipient of the Harvard University Certificate of Teaching Excellence.

Come hear Dr. Jason Sokol at the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium happening Oct. 27-28, 2014 at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. Be on the lookout for more Speaker Spotlights on our blog as we get closer to the October symposium!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Let’s Get Digital!: Electronic Records Day 2014

Today we celebrate the third annual Electronic Records Day brought to you by the Council of State Archivists with the aim of raising awareness about the importance of electronic records and issues related to preservation and access.  Electronic records are "born digital,” files produced in a computer environment. Yesterday's boxes of papers are today's e-mail, websites, databases, and word processing documents. And to ensure a record of the 21st century, those computer files need to last well into the future, along with the paper.

Archivists have already started the process of creating best practices for archival preservation and access of digital archives. The collections we receive at the Russell Library include a lot of paper, however, in the last five years alone, 25% of donations have included some computer files. Even more compelling is that all new collections this year have had a significant digital component. The myth of the "paperless office" has been largely debunked or at least questioned  (see Digital Trends, BBC, New York Times, Book) and that can lull us into a false sense of security. Because while there is still a lot of paper around, which can be collected, preserved, and made accessible through well-understood archival practices, some very important things are only being produced in digital form. There may be no such thing as a paperless office, but most offices are definitely hybrids of computer files and paper.

Take the records of the Democratic Party of Georgia (DPG), for example. As part of an NHPRC-funded project to process the records of Georgia’s two political parties, the Russell Library has been working to address the preservation and access needs of this hybrid collection. The records date from 1962 to 2007, but its paper records essentially stop around 1990. Scattered materials related to campaigns can be found in the paper records; financial disclosures, form filing records in county and district materials. But individual campaigns are not documented in the paper records. The DPG’s electronic records, however, contain some of the most comprehensive campaign and election materials in the collection. Over fifteen individual campaigns from 2000 are documented in the electronic records. These materials include campaign mailers, campaign budgets, correspondence between the political director and candidates, strategy memos, and more.

Some of these materials were never created to be printed or used in paper form. For example, photographs of DPG events and survey data collected about voters were produced and used in digital form only. Budget files and statistical information about caucus voting, redistricting population percentages, and other voting files contain complex formulas with color coded notations. Spreadsheets contain multiple sheets with multiple sets of data calculations. These are invaluable records of political strategy and work that would lose important functionality and meaning if printed out or even if they were converted into a static form like PDF. By preserving these records in their electronic version, we capture the functionality of the records.

Preserving records in their electronic form has a lot of advantages. Digital archives can be more accessible, sent easily to researchers anywhere in the world. No longer do you need the means to travel to access this part of the historical record; an internet connection will do. Large quantities of data can be searched, analyzed, and combined with other data to reach a better understanding of their meaning. The information that was frozen in reams of dot matrix-printed sheets can be analyzed for trends once it is stored in a database.

Important records are being produced in electronic form so how do we best preserve them and make them accessible? Early conversations with records creators is critical. Archivists can help with identifying what the creators should focus on saving over time and contextual information to capture to make them more useful to researchers. Once the electronic records are in the care of archivists. they need regular attention to keep them accessible. Servers and other storage media fail and have to be replaced. The software needed to open a file format is no longer produced and another solution needs to be found to open it. Care needs to be taken that the file is not altered in any way to preserve authenticity. This constant management takes technological infrastructure, money, and sound policies and practices. But given the significant content and research potential, the effort is well worth it.

Curious about what it takes to preserve digital records, and what you might need to do with your own files?  Check out the Council of State Archivists Electronic Records Day page or the Library of Congress Personal Digital Archiving page. Curious about the Democratic Party of Georgia’s born digital files? Expect their open access in January of 2015!

Post by Adriane Hanson, Processing and Electronic Records Archivists, and Angelica Marini, Project Archivist

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Russell Library Named Recipient of 2014 Governor’s Award

Russell Library director, Sheryl Vogt (center) posed with
Governor and Mrs. Nathan Deal and the 2014 Governor's Award. 

Governor Nathan Deal has named the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies as one of the thirteen recipients of the third annual Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities. This year’s winners were announced during a ceremony held at the Georgia Capitol on Tuesday, October 7th. Other 2014 winners included individuals and organizations such as The Atlanta Ballet, the Freedom Singers, and the Center for Civil and Human Rights -- all were recognized for their “commitment to preservation and promotion of Georgia’s culture and heritage.”

This year's recipients were said to exemplify Georgia's thriving and always-expanding creative sector with various programs, financial contributions, and active connections and devotion to their communities. The Russell Library was recognized for its 40 years of showcasing Georgia’s political history through its collections, exhibits, symposiums, and programs.

With particular emphasis on the role of Georgia and the U. S. Congress, the Russell Library's collection development and programming focus on the dynamic relationship of politics, policy, and culture—generated wherever public interest intersects with government. The breadth and depth of Russell Library’s collections provide an interconnected framework of perspectives and experiences for understanding the increasingly diverse people, events, and ideas shaping Georgia’s political landscape.

The Library pursues alliances and opportunities for collaboration with individuals and organizations that advance its mission. Russell Library is a founding member of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress and a primary partner and official repository for the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies, a collaborative project dedicated to documenting and chronicling the activity and perceptions of lesser known participants in the civil rights movement in Georgia.

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Russell Library is hosting a Scholars & Policymakers Symposium on October 27-28, 2014. Events will include a forum on the library’s beginnings, a documentary film screening on former Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and a series of panel sessions focused on the library's key collecting areas. This two day event will feature twenty five acclaimed speakers who will highlight the impact of Russell Library collections.

Speaker Spotlight: Monica Gisolfi

Dr. Monica Gisolfi is another featured speaker at our upcoming Scholars & Policymakers Symposium hosted Oct. 27-28. Gisolfi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina Wilmington

She received her Ph.D. in United States history from Columbia University in 2007 and now teaches history courses on the Gilded Age, the United States, the South, and public & environmental history. She specializes in southern American history and her research interests include the histories of environment, agriculture, and landscape as well as public memory and commemoration.

Gisolfi’s piece “From Crop Lien to Contract Farming: The Roots of Agribusiness in the American South, 1929-1939” was published in Agricultural History and later included in a compilation of writings entitled The Best American History Essays 2008. As Gisolfi writes in her piece, the crop lien system was thought to be the catalyst behind southern poverty and issues in the South. This publication examines the changing agribusiness industry from the crop lien credit system used by sharecroppers and farmers in the mid 19th and early 20th centuries to the multi-million dollar contract farming business today that includes the poultry industry.

Her next piece, “Leaving the Farm to Save the Farm: Poultry Farmers, Contract Farming, and the Necessity of Public Work, 1950-1970” was published in Moving Workers, Moving Capital. Gisolfi is currently working on an untitled book examining the growth of southern agribusiness and its effects on humanity and the environment.

Don’t miss Dr. Monica Gisolfi’s appearance on the Politics of Social Relations panel (Oct. 28, 1:45-3:15PM) at the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium happening Oct. 27-28, 2014 at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. And stay tuned to the blog for more speaker spotlights in the weeks leading up to the event!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Building the Party, One Point at a Time: The Georgia GOP’s Four Star Program

In February of this year, the Russell Library embarked on a one-year project to process the records of the Democratic Party of Georgia (Georgia Democrats) and the Georgia Republican Party (GAGOP), funded by a generous grant of up to $58,777 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). Project archivist Angelica Marini has been providing a series of short articles throughout this year highlighting various aspects of the records as she works to organize, describe and make them available. In her third blog post for the project, Angelica focuses her attention on the records documenting one of the Georgia Republican Party’s innovative efforts to increase political participation and win elections.

One of the Georgia GOP’s top priorities in the last two decades of the twentieth century was to open up state politics and create a competitive two-party system. In the 1980s, the GOP primarily concerned itself with fundraising to maximize the financial resources of specific candidates in specific races. In 1991, following his re-election as party chairman, Alec Poitevint, along with Executive Director David Shafer, worked to craft an ambitious political plan that focused on organizing Republicans, increasing the size and visibility of the party across the state, and making the group a true alternative to the Democratic Party. With the State Executive Committee’s approval, Poitevint and Shafer began putting that plan into action, most notably implementing what they called “The Four Star Program,” a strategy “designed to strengthen the party at its grass roots.”

The Four Star Program combined basic political organization with a healthy dose of competition. Modeled after plans used by the Kentucky and Florida Republican Parties, the Georgia program urged counties to enroll in a contest that awarded points for the achievement of specific political goals. As counties hit certain point levels, they earned status as a one-, two-, three-, or four-star county. The county with the most points overall would win $1000 with second place garnering $500. In addition the program divided counties into five groups, adding another level at which the counties could compete.

This year-long program, which ran September 1, 1991 through August 31, 1992, pushed counties with no political organization into officially incorporated Republican groups. More than anything, the Four Star Program taught local groups and individuals how to be politically active and affect change in local, state and national elections. A Four Star Program manual distributed to each county representative included a list of 33 distinct items or goals. As groups organized and achieved these goals, their points were tallied and publicized in the Four Star Program newsletter.

Party members were encouraged to find any outlet at all that would make the Republican philosophy more accessible and visible in the community; maintaining this presence was a key part of the program. Points were awarded for activities like having a “county Republican booth at your County Fair” or by hosting other Republican-sponsored events like “fish frys, picnics, or Lincoln Day events or dinners.” Each letter to the editor published in a local or statewide newspaper supporting “the GOP, your county party, local elected GOP officials, local GOP candidates, or their positions” was awarded two points.

Other broader goals included promoting frequency and consistency in county organizations; submitting the minutes of regularly scheduled meetings could gain a group up to thirty points. The program also sought to extend reach of the Republican Party by building a more diverse constituency; for fifteen points, each county could submit evidence of an affiliated group for women, African Americans, young people and others.

The Georgia Republican Party Records contain invaluable evidence of the Four Star Program’s success and the efforts to build party strength at the county level. Each county that competed submitted materials to state party headquarters for verification. For example, files submitted by Four Star Camden County, winner of the top prize with a total of 415 points (out of a possible 456), include correspondence between county organizational leaders and state party coordinators, a county political plan, monthly updates, meeting minutes, newsletters, and press materials.

About a year after the program’s implementation, Poitevint issued “Breakthrough ‘92: A Report on Our Progress” in which he affirms the importance of the program and its impact on elections. He confidently states that in the November 1992 elections “records were set or broken at virtually every level of government.” A graph included in the report shows “dramatic increases” in the “Republican voting strength” of the top ten counties in the Four Star Program. The proof: Georgia elected a Republican Senator, Paul Coverdell, and sent three new Republicans to the U.S. House in the 1992 elections.

Post by Angelica Marini, Project Archivist, Russell Library

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Annual Parthemos Lecture Hosted at Special Collections Building Oct. 15

The Department of Political Science at the University of Georgia will host its annual Parthemos Lecture on October 15th from 3:30-5:00 in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries, Room 271.  This year's invited speaker is Dr. David Mayhew.

Dr. David Mayhew is one of the world’s leading authorities on Congress and American party politics. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of his landmark book, Congress: The Electoral Connection, which is one of the most widely read and cited books in political science. His other award-winning books include Divided We Govern (2005) and Partisan Balance: Why Political Parties Don’t Kill the U.S. Constitution (2011). He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Sciences. He has been a member of the board of overseers of the National Election Studies of the Center for Political Studies, and has served as a Guggenheim Fellow, a Hoover National Fellow, a Sherman Fairchild Fellow at the California Institute of Technology, and an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. He received the Samuel J. Eldersveld Career Achievement Award from the American Political Science Association in 2004.

For more information about the event contact John Maltese at 706-542-2057

Monday, September 29, 2014

Reflections on School Lunch #1

We opened our new exhibit, Food, Power, and Politics: The Story of School Lunch, this past Friday (Sep. 26) in the Harrison Feature Gallery. In addition to helping visitors learn more about the history of this program since the original legislation was passed in 1948, we also want to know what visitors remember about their own experiences with school lunch over the years.

At the end of the exhibit, visitors enter our Reflection Area -- a room filled with questions asking what YOU (the visitor) think and remember about the topic treated in the feature gallery. So, naturally the six questions on the wall right now tie into all things school lunch. For you blog readers that haven't had the chance to see the physical exhibit yet, we hope you've been keeping up with our #schoollunch posts where our interns Kaylynn and Ashton have featured some of the text and photos/artifacts on display.

Our staff would like to start a larger discussion about some of the questions we have posted in the gallery space -- we want to hear what you think! So here goes, question #1....tell us what you think:

Over the new weeks as we get some responses in the gallery, we will post those here, so keep up with us here and on Twitter @RussellLibrary

Friday, September 26, 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Gregory Mixon

You can find Dr. Gregory Mixon, Associate Professor for the Department of History at UNC Charlotte and author of The Atlanta Riot: Race, Class, and Violence in a New South City, on the list of speakers for our Scholars & Policymakers Symposium October 27th-28th. Mixon received his PhD from the University of Cincinnati and now teaches courses on African American history and racial violence at UNC Charlotte. His research and teaching interests include racial violence, race relations, Southern history, urban history, the Progressive Era, and black southern state militias.
His first book, The Atlanta Riot: Race, Class, and Violence in a New South City, focuses on the tragic event that started on September 22, 1906. The massacre left over 30 people dead and 70 injured. He works to trace the sources of the riot by examining political, social, and urban factors affecting race relations in the early 20th century. While noting the causes most commonly cited, such as the instigation of the press, Mixon also explores the role that white elites in Atlanta played in generating new forms of political and racial divisions that led to the explosive conflict. While this was his first book published, Mixon has written several other pieces for the Georgia Historical Quarterly and Atlanta History: A Journal of Georgia and the South.

Mixon is currently working on two additional publications. His second book, tentatively titled We Called It a Band of Brothers, focuses on African American militiamen in the Southern states, specifically Georgia, between 1865 and 1910. During his writing process, Mixon was one of twenty-five scholars invited to participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute focusing on African American Struggles for Freedom and Human Rights from 1865 to 1965. The courses he teaches in 19th and 20th century African American history and his research for his second novel made him a perfect candidate for the month-long institute. Mixon is also writing a political biography on Henry A. Rucker, the only African American to be appointed as a Collector of Internal Revenue in the district of Georgia, from 1897-1911.

Don’t miss Dr. Mixon’s appearance at the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium happening Oct. 27-28, 2014 at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. He will speak at the Politics of Social Relations session, from 10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28. And stay tuned to the blog for more speaker spotlights in the weeks leading up to the event!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Tammy Ingram

Dr. Tammy Ingram, Assistant Professor of History at the College of Charleston and author of Dixie Highway: Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900-1930, will be one of our acclaimed scholars for the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium taking place October 27th-28th. In addition to her many scholarly achievements and accolades, she is also a University of Georgia alumna (class of 1998).

Ingram received her PhD from Yale University in 2007. Before coming to the College of Charleston in 2011, she served as the Kirk Visiting Scholar at Agnes Scott College and as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Southern Studies at the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Dixie Highway: Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900-1930, Ingram’s first book, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in March 2014. The book uses the Dixie Highway, a largely forgotten 6000-mile network of roads that looped from Lake Michigan to Miami Beach and back up again, as a lens for examining local, regional, and national politics during the Progressive Era Good Roads Movement. The work is one of the few books about the social and political implications of modern transportation policy that does not focus on the Eisenhower interstate highways.

So, why roads? Ingram says her love of and curiosity about roads began during childhood. Her father taught her to drive at a young age and she always loved exploring the back roads near her Georgia home. While researching migration patterns during the early 20th century in the South, Ingram discovered farmers’ constant talk about roads and went on to find that there was little research on early road building. Though some may still question her decision to write on the topic, Ingram has responded simply that, “Ordinary things are interesting if you have enough curiosity to ask questions about them.”

Ingram is currently working on a second book project tentatively titled Dixie Mafia: Sex, Race, and Organized Crime in the South, which offers a broad view of organized crime networks in the postwar U.S. but focuses on the so-called Dixie Mafia. The book examines a series of high profile cases between 1954 and 1987 in order to understand the ways in which fears about crime shaped postwar politics in the South and nation.

In addition to her scholarly work, Dr. Ingram has contributed essays and op-eds to publications such as the Huffington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Like the Dew.

Don’t miss Dr. Ingram’s appearance at the Scholars & Policymakers Symposium happening Oct. 27-28, 2014 at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. She’ll speak at the opening session, Politics of Public Good, from 9:00-10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28. And stay tuned to the blog for more speaker spotlights in the weeks leading up to the event!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Moore Papers and More: Reflections on an Internship

My ten-week internship this past summer in the Arrangement and Description unit of the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies has been an incredible experience. I graduated in December 2013 from the University of Maryland at College Park with a Master of Library Science (MLS) with a specialization in archives and, prior to my arrival at the Russell in May, I had completed a number of internships in the archives field. My experience here, however, has been unmatched in many ways. It has been amazing to see the inner workings of this university special collections department. Although the staff is not large in number, it more than makes up for it in the effort, dedication, hard work, and enthusiasm that they bring to the workplace on a daily basis.

My primary task for the internship was to process the papers of Powell A. Moore, a native Georgian with a lengthy career in legislative affairs, public policy and international relations. While staff described it as “not a particularly large collection,” it was nearly fifty linear feet of material, much larger than anything else I had processed thus far in my career.

Early on in my internship, I came to appreciate new ways of doing things when organizing and describing collections. Most of the other places where I interned did not adhere strictly to the “More Product, Less Process” approach, which stresses organizing and describing collections quickly and efficiently to make more collections available faster. The goal at those other places was to capture as much information as possible and provide extremely detailed descriptions for every item. Of course, every repository is different in terms of its resources, mission and users. The Russell Library would not be able to open as many collections in a timely manner if it provided item-level detail for all its collections. Most of its researchers do not require that time-consuming description. The Special Collections Libraries at UGA are also blessed with a climate-controlled high-density storage vault where conditions are kept at an ideal 50 degrees F and 30% humidity year-round.

The Powell A. Moore Papers were the right type of challenge at this stage of my career. I had to balance my desire to put every item in the collection “in its place” with the goal of creating an organizational scheme for the papers that could be generally described to the researcher in a finding aid or guide to the collection. It wasn’t easy!  Occasionally spending extra time processing parts of the collection paid off in terms of discovering content, but it did not always reveal as much about the collection’s structure and organization as I would have liked. I learned to gauge the amount of research value that was added from the time I spent on different parts of the collection and adjusted my efforts accordingly.

The average person who knows anything about archives work often draws the conclusion that the work is a solitary task. I got a taste for the importance of donor relations while working on the Moore Papers when it came time to make decisions about what items should or should not be retained for the collection, what archivists call appraisal. Through emails and phone calls, I had the opportunity to communicate with Mr. Moore about items from his papers that I determined did not have significant research value. It was an invaluable experience to be able to educate the donor on the theory and practice behind these decisions and to make arrangements for these materials to be handled according to his wishes.

Another huge takeaway was the use of electronic tools and technology when processing archival collections. My use of Archivists’ Toolkit made it possible to create the EAD-compliant finding aid for the Moore papers. I was able to accession an addition to the Eleanor Smith Papers and begin to create a process plans for the papers of Georgia State Senator Eric Johnson. I also was involved with processing the electronic records of the Georgia Project, Inc. and accessioning the electronic records of both Moore and Johnson. I expect to see a lot of exciting things occur with electronic records in archives in the near future.

In conclusion, I want to thank the staff at the Russell Library for giving me a top notch experience that I will not forget. Their blend of friendliness, humor, and professionalism that I found there is not something easily duplicated. I feel privileged to have learned so much about the archival profession from such a wonderful and talented group of people.

Post by Mark Walters, Political Papers Processing Intern, Russell Library

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Story of School Lunch: Competitive Foods in the Cafeteria

Over the past two summers Russell Library interns Ashton Ellett and Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Food, Power, and Politics: The Story of School Lunch” opening September 26th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit examines the complicated past of the National School Lunch Program, from feeding malnourished children and putting excess commodities to good use, to the more recent debates over childhood obesity and nutrition in America. This post is one in a series where Ashton and Kaylynn provide a preview of key documents featured in the exhibition.   

Changes during the 1960s and 1970s resulted in a greatly expanded, more expensive school lunch program. School districts had to manage providing meals to more children, purchasing increasingly expensive food, hiring additional food service personnel, and expanding cafeteria facilities. As schools looked for ways to fund their growing programs in a deflated economy they turned increasingly to private partners.

During the Nixon administration, the passage of HR 14896 extended the provision for free breakfast and summer food programs. Another provision, however, that allowed for the “sale of competitive foods” in schools caused great controversy. While the sale of these fatty and high-sugar items would surely increase revenue, many citizens feared these items could negate the program’s original purpose—to provide American school children with access to a nutritious meal. According to Dr. John Perryman, executive director of the American School Food Service Association in Washington, D.C.:

Letter from Dr. John Perryman to Congressman
John W. Davis (Ga.) September 15, 1972

John W. Davis Papers, Russell Library.
"We have now opened the door to the sale of ANY food item to ANY child of ANY age in ANY school location at ANY time. We have further made the proceeds available to virtually ANY group, thereby assuring that never ending pressures will be brought upon school authorities to permit constant revenue-producing promotions. By the few words of Section 7 we have translated in a tragic number of instances, school food service from a child nutrition program into a money making gimmick."

Ultimately, the provision passed and competitive foods were allowed in the  nation’s schools. Debates over the lingering effects would continue for the next two decades as awareness of childhood obesity increased.

Want to find out more about School Lunch? Visit Food, Power, and Politics: The Story of School Lunch on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. from September 26, 2014 through May 15, 2015. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email or call 706-542-5788

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Athens Science Café to Spotlight Nutrition and Childhood Obesity

ATHENS, GA – University of Georgia foods and nutrition professor Caree Cotwright will speak about nutrition and childhood obesity at the October meeting of the Athens Science Café on Oct. 22 at Chase Street Elementary School. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the event will start at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Science cafes are informal meetings commonly held in coffee shops, pubs or community centers where people have an opportunity to learn from and interact with a scientist. Unlike traditional lectures, science cafes involve more open discussion and debate among the audience.

For this event, organizers of the Athens Science Café decided to branch out from their traditional downtown venues. “While we typically hold our cafes at bars and coffeehouses, we welcome the occasional opportunity to develop community partnerships," said ASC representative Stephanie Pearl. “ASC is excited about partnering with the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies and the Clarke County School District for this edition of the cafe.”

On Sep. 26 the Russell Library, a political archives at the University of Georgia, will open the new exhibition, “Food, Power, and Politics: The Story of School Lunch” examining the complicated history of the National School Lunch Program. “We approached the organizers of Athens Science Café about developing an event connected to the issues explored in this exhibit,” said lead curator Jan Levinson. “It seemed only fitting that a discussion about childhood nutrition should take place in one of our local schools.”

The event will take place in the cafeteria of Chase Street Elementary School. Cotwright will give a short introductory talk before leading an informal discussion among participants about nutrition and innovative interventions to combat the problem of childhood obesity. Healthy snacks will be generously provided by Heirloom Café and Fresh Market.

For more information about this event visit the Athens Science Café website at or follow @AthScieCafe on Twitter. For more information about the new exhibit “Food, Power, and Politics: The Story of School Lunch” visit the Russell Library’s website at or follow @RussellLibrary on Twitter.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Russell Library to Open New Exhibit, Food, Power, Politics: The Story of School Lunch

The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia will feature the exhibition, “Food, Power, and Politics: The Story of School Lunch” Sep. 26, 2014 to May 15, 2015. The exhibition examines the complicated past of the National School Lunch Program, signed into law by President Harry Truman on June 4, 1946.

With a focus on people and events in Georgia, the exhibition was developed in celebration of the Russell Library’s 40th anniversary in 2014. U.S. Sen. Richard B. Russell, Jr. authored the original legislation establishing the NSLP and played a crucial role in steering it through both houses of Congress. Russell said that the creation of this program was his proudest legislative achievement during his long career in the U.S. Senate.

School lunchroom in Georgia, ca. 1955.
Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection, Russell Library
What began as a way to strengthen the nation through better nutrition for school children soon became a complicated program administered by local, state, and federal partners with competing interests. “The story behind this initiative is one of twists and turns, as the program evolved to meet the changing needs of children, politicians, and corporate interests over time,” said lead curator Jan Levinson. A bigger and broader program more than 60 years after its original passage, the National School Lunch Program continues to be a political hot-button today.

In addition to Russell, U.S. Sen. Herman Talmadge, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs (1968-1979), also played a key role in school lunch. Talmadge’s support of the Childhood Nutrition Act (1966) and subsequent amendments greatly expanded the NSLP, including the creation of the school breakfast program.

The exhibit script was assembled by two PhD students in the University of Georgia’s Department of History: Ashton Ellet and Kaylynn Washnock. Both served as summer interns, conducting research, writing, and editing, as well as selecting original documents and artifacts for display. “We were lucky to have two very talented historians working on this project, and I think the finished product shows their commitment and talent for public history,” said Levinson.

The exhibit features historic images depicting schools and children in Georgia dating back to the 1920s as well as related ephemera, including lunch pails, sample menus, and classroom activity packets.  Letters, speeches, and assorted publications document the legislative battle to create and expand the program from the 1940s to the 1990s, complemented by video and oral histories.
The Russell Library is collaborating with UGA’s Athens Science Café and the Clarke County School District to sponsor an event focused on childhood nutrition featuring speaker Dr. Caree Cotwright, associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, taking place on Oct. 22 at Chase Street Elementary School. Other events complementing the exhibit are scheduled for spring 2015.

The exhibit is free and open to the public through May 15, 2015. More information about the complementary program series can be found by visiting The galleries of the Special Collections Libraries are open from 8am-5pm Monday through Friday and 1-5pm on Saturdays. The building is not open on the Saturdays of home football games. Admission is free. For more information contact Jan Levinson at or by calling 706-542-5788. To schedule a tour of the Special Collections Libraries Galleries, contact Jean Cleveland at or by calling 706-542-8079.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Story of School Lunch: Increased Participation in the 1950s

Over the past two summers Russell Library interns Ashton Ellett and Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Food, Power, and Politics: The Story of School Lunch” opening September 26th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit examines the complicated past of the National School Lunch Program, from feeding malnourished children and putting excess commodities to good use, to the more recent debates over childhood obesity and nutrition in America. This post is one in a series where Ashton and Kaylynn provide a preview of key documents featured in the exhibition.   

Chart showing participation of Georgia schools in
NSLP from 1943-1960. Richard B. Russell Collection, Russell Library.
With participation in the school lunch program growing during the 1950s, local administrators felt constant financial pressure. During the 1943-1944 school year just over 1,000 Georgia schools took part; by 1960, this number of participating schools had increased to nearly 1,800. These Georgia schools served an average of 500,000 meals per day -- 9 million meals per month. Despite this growth, the funding for the program was based on the decade old data.

On December 28, 1960 Claude Purcell, state superintendent of schools, wrote to Senator Russell about proposed amendment HR 12896.  Given the National School Lunch Program’s success in Georgia, Purcell was especially concerned with the government’s reimbursement rate for school lunches. He hoped to see the reimbursement rate increase from 3.6 cents to 5 cents per meal, so that the price of the meal for paying students would not have to be raised, fearing any increase would force more students into the free or reduced lunch. As Senator Russell noted in his response, Congress did not pass the amendment. (See letter exchange below).

Several amendments to the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) in 1962 sought to improve the under representation of low-income participants in the program. However, Congress did not appropriate additional funding to make these reforms a reality until the passage of the Childhood Nutrition Act (CNA) in 1966, which expanded institutional eligibility and enacted a pilot breakfast program. The consequences of making good on the mandate would steer the program into uncharted territory in the following decades as school lunch transformed from a farm subsidy into an antipoverty program.

Want to find out more about School Lunch? Visit Food, Power, and Politics: The Story of School Lunch on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 26, 2014 through May 15, 2015. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email or call 706-542-5788.