Monday, December 21, 2015

Dixie Highway Lecture Scheduled for April 2016

We're currently organizing public programs for the spring related to our ongoing exhibit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South, and we're glad to announce our first confirmed event for 2016.

On Thursday, April 21, 2016 the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies and the UGA Department of History will host Dr. Tammy Ingram, assistant professor of history at the College of Charleston, for a lecture titled "Driving Dixie: The Politics of Early Automobile Tourism" at 4:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries (Room 271).

Ingram's talk will focus on the ways that automobile tourism reshaped both the physical and political landscapes of the South, and Georgia in particular, from the 1910s through the 1930s. "I plan to examine both the effects of tourism on transportation policymaking in the state," said Ingram, and also "the ways in which public enthusiasm for new highway projects and tourist dollars inspired businessmen and politicians alike to sell a very specific vision of the state—and the South—to early automobile tourists." She will also explain how farmers, the most important constituency in the state, took advantage of expensive transportation networks that were built primarily to serve wealthy northern and midwestern tourists. "In the process they, too, helped to remake the state and the region by facilitating the rise of agribusiness and tourism," said Ingram, still two of the biggest sources of revenue in the state a century later.

Following the lecture, attendees are invited to a light reception and book signing for Ingram's recent book Dixie Highway: Roadbuilding and the Making of the Modern South, 1900-1930.  A screening of the Georgia Public Broadcasting documentary Down the Dixie Highway will follow at 6:30 p.m.
This event is co-sponsored by the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies and the Department of History at the University of Georgia.

More about Dr. Tammy Ingram
Dr. Ingram received her PhD from Yale University in 2007 and is currently an assistant professor at the College of Charleston, where she teaches courses on the modern South, twentieth century U.S. politics, and urban history. Her first book, Dixie Highway: Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900-1930, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in March of 2014. It is the first comprehensive study of the Progressive Era Good Roads Movement and the first monograph about the Dixie Highway, a largely forgotten 6000-mile network of roads that crisscrossed the South and Midwest from Lake Michigan to Miami Beach. The book has been awarded an Excellence in Research Award by the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council, the 2015 Malcolm Bell, Jr. and Muriel Barrow Bell Award by the Georgia Historical Society, and was named a 2014 Book of Interest by the Business History Conference. In July 2016, UNC Press will release a paperback edition of the book.

Professor Ingram’s new book project, The Wickedest City in America: Sex, Race, and Organized Crime in the Jim Crow South, offers a broad view of organized crime networks in the postwar U.S. but focuses on a loosely connected group of individuals in the South nicknamed the Dixie Mafia. Ingram has also explored some of her scholarly research interests in several blogs and op-eds for outlets such as the History News Network, Like the Dew, the Huffington Post, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Monday, November 02, 2015

New Exhibit Spotlights History of Disability Advocacy in Georgia

A new exhibit reflecting on the activities and legacy of disability activists in Georgia is now on display in the History Lives Showcase Gallery at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

Created to highlight the establishment of the Georgia Disability History Archive at the Richard Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, the exhibit opened to coincide with the hosting of the Georgia Disability History Symposium held on the University of Georgia campus on October 23, 2015. The event focused on the history of disability advocacy in the state, including disability rights and justice, de-institutionalization, the power and impact of the Olmstead decision, citizen advocacy and self-advocacy, and what the future holds 25 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

A powerful collection of artifacts, documents, and ephemera on display tell the story of Georgia’s disability history. Topics addressed include initiatives for education and awareness to end employment discrimination; housing and transportation accessibility; and challenges facing disabled veterans attempting to receive adequate support and healthcare. The exhibit will remain on display through August 26, 2016.

The archive opened with the collections of a dozen individuals, as well as groups. Those currently open for research include The Eleanor Smith Papers, the Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia Records, and the Patricia L. Puckett Papers.

For more information on the Georgia Disability History Alliance, visit:
http://historyofdisability.com/ 

For more information on donating materials to the Georgia Disability History Archive, contact Mat Darby (matdarby@uga.edu) or visit: http://historyofdisability.com/about/disability-history-donations 


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

October is American Archives Month!

In 1999, the Society of American Archivists (SAA) declared October as the official American Archives Month.

Beginning in 1979, Archives Week/Month saw steady growth at the grassroots level, supported by energetic and creative members of regional, state, and local archives associations; state historical records advisory boards; and repositories working individually and collectively. In 2002, the Council of State Archivists started its online directory of Archives Week/Month activities and resources, including a poster gallery. By 2005, Archives Week/Month was being celebrated in a variety of ways in no fewer than 35 states.

In 2014, in conjunction with American Archives Month, #AskAnArchivist Day was introduced to provide an opportunity via Twitter for archivists to talk directly to the public about what they do, why it’s important and the interesting records with which they work. This year #AskAnArchivist Day is October 1.

This October, the Russell Library will celebrate Archives Month on Twitter by highlighting our newest collections with photographs and stories each day. We'll also be participating in #AskAnArchivistDay on Thursday, October 1st. Follow us @RussellLibrary - we look forward to responding to your questions about our collections, our work, and the archives profession!

Friday, September 18, 2015

'Seeing Georgia' exhibit now open at Russell Library

Athens, Ga. - Six sites with histories of political and cultural battles help to tell the story of tourism in modern Georgia in a new exhibit at the University of Georgia's Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies. The exhibit opens Sept. 18.

The sites featured in "Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism and the Modern South" represent pivotal perspectives-Jekyll Island and Southwest Georgia's Red Hills Region illustrate issues of class and race; Helen and Stone Mountain, notions of reinvention; and the Okefenokee Swamp and Talullah Falls, battles over natural resources.

"We are showcasing sites relevant
to the bigger tourism story," said Jill Severn, Russell Library head of access and outreach, "addressing concepts of identity, commerce, and advertising that shaped the Georgia tourism industry as a whole." The state established the Tourism Division, part of the Department of Industry and Trade, in 1959.

"In the early 1900s Georgia was a way station for people headed to Florida," Jan Hebbard, outreach archivist and exhibit curator, said. "Starting in the 1940s, the state started to become a destination in its own right, crafting strategies to attract tourists and developing a tourism industry that proved to be a huge economic asset."

Today, tourism continues to have a huge economic impact in the state. According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development website tourism is the 5th largest employer in the state with a total economic impact of $57.1 billion dollars, supporting more than 411,000 jobs, or 10.2 percent of all payroll employment in Georgia.

In addition to items from the Russell Library's collections, the exhibit features photographs, postcards, artifacts, and other ephemera drawn from outside institutions and private individuals. Items from a collector in Rayle will add to a recreated roadside stand inside the gallery space. "This exhibit gave us the opportunity to reach out and collaborate with some local collectors as well as collecting institutions across the state, which has been a real treat," said Hebbard. "A few of these collaborations have even led to new donations." The library recently received the collection of Bill Hardman, Sr., the first ever director of the Tourism Division.

Located at 300 South Hull Street, the library is open to the public 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday; 1-5 Saturday, except for home football game weekends. "Seeing Georgia" will remain on display through July 2016, with complementary programs planned for next Spring.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Growth of the Tourism Industry in Georgia

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.  

Advertisement produced by the Georgia Department
of Commerce, ca. 1960s. Courtesy of Ed Jackson.
Bill Hardman, Sr., ca. 1960s
In the early twentieth century, most tourists saw Georgia as a place they drove through on the way to a beach destination in Florida. There was no state run division of tourism and no annual allocation for marketing local attractions. Beginning in the 1940s, state officials set their sights on turning Georgia into a “stop over” destination in hopes of capturing some of the tourist dollars headed further south. The administration of Governor Ernest Vandiver Jr. saw tourism as integral to the state’s growing economy and in 1959 named Colbert, Georgia native, Bill Hardman director of the state’s newly created Tourism Division.

Betty Sanders, first lady of Georgia,
at a tourism event, ca. 1964.

Interior of Georgia Visitors Center.
First Georgia Welcome Center in
Sylvania, ca. 1961.
Jill Severn and I took a short drive up to Dahlonega in late July to meet Bill Hardman Jr., the son of the late Bill Hardman, Sr. He shared stories of his father and ephemera his father saved during his career with the Tourism Division. While serving as the state's tourism director, Hardman revolutionized Georgia’s image
among vacationers. He was the driving force behind the creation of Georgia’s Welcome Centers as well as clever campaigns like “See Georgia First” and “Stop and See Georgia.” Through his efforts, the state shed its reputation for speed traps, clip-joints and poor roads.
Governor Carl Sanders dedicating
Georgia Welcome Center, ca. 1964.

In 1962, Georgia opened its first Welcome Center along Highway 301 in Sylvania, near the South Carolina border. While travelers picked up maps, brochures, and souvenirs or visited the restroom, hostesses armed with southern hospitality and donated Coca-Cola, peanuts, and Royal Crown Cola would persuade them to stay and see Georgia’s many attractions. Soon thereafter, welcome centers were built at Lavonia, Ringgold, Columbus, and Valdosta.  In 1967, tourist spending in the state reached $570.7 million.

Note: The photographs featured in the blog post are drawn from the Bill Hardman, Sr. Papers, recently donated to the Russell Library. This collection should be available for research shortly. We extend temendous thanks to Bill Hardman, Jr. for this generous donation of his father's papers.  

Want to find out more about Georgia Tourism? Visit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the New South on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 18, 2015 through July 30, 2016. 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 russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Monday, September 14, 2015

Okefenokee Swamp: A Defiant Wilderness

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   


Postcard, ca. 1960s. Courtesy of Ed Jackson.
Williamson S. Stuckey Papers,
Russell Library
.
The Okefenokee Swamp is perhaps most famous for its successful resistance of all attempts to subdue and exploit it. Occupying 700 square miles in the southeastern Georgia, it was drained by timber companies, dredged for canal construction, and its wildlife hunted to near extinction. Yet this primitive swamp remains intact, attracting tourists in spite of itself, translating a reputation for danger and mystery into a popular attraction. In the 1920s, conservation groups like the Okefenokee Preservation Society and The Georgia Society of Naturalists began stressing the importance of the Okefenokee ecosystem in hopes of protecting the swamp and its wildlife. After public outcry, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Conservation of Wildlife Resources visited the site and had the U.S. Biological Survey further investigate. In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order #7593 establishing the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge after the government spent $400,000 purchasing land from the Hebard Cypress Company.


Movie Poster and Ephemera Collection,
Hargrett Library
.
Local Native Americans called the Okefenokee Swamp, “Okefenoka,” which means “land that trembles when you walk on it” because of the unstable peat moss deposits that appear like floating islands. Although “swampers” or residents native to the swamp counties include hunters, loggers, firefighters and even canal diggers have long depended on Okefenokee, Hollywood didn’t “discover its unmatched charm” until the 1940s. Movie producers and Swamp Park boosters exploited the dangerous “lost world” atmosphere to tempt vacationers into a visit. Under the direction of Dr. Wilbur Clair Hafford, the Tourist Bureau of the Waycross and Ware County Chamber of Commerce organized a civic, non-profit corporation Okefenokee Association, Inc. for the purpose of developing a tourist attraction at Okefenokee.  With the approval of Georgia Governor Ellis Arnall and the U.S. department of Agriculture, the Association leased 1,200 acres to create the Okefenokee Swamp Park. Opened in October 1946, the Okefenokee Swamp Park continues today as a private tourist destination offering boat tours, educational displays, and sightseeing that capitalizes on the allure of the swamp.
Okefenokee park brochure, ca. 1950s.
E. Merton Coulter Manuscripts, Hargrett Library.
Want to find out more about Georgia Tourism? Visit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the New South on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 18, 2015 through July 30, 2016. 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 russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Friday, September 11, 2015

Jekyll Island: From Millionaires to the Masses

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   

Ephemera Collection, Russell Library. 
Once called the richest, most exclusive, club in the world, Jekyll Island was a playground for northern capitalists during America’s Gilded Age. Between 1888 and 1928, the likes of the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts made up the original 53 members of the Jekyll Island Club.  During the Club Era, according to a 1955 booklet, “Jekyll was not only the greatest of the country’s social islands but one so legendary in prestige that in its hey dey the claim was made that its clientele controlled one-sixth of the world’s wealth.” The Great Depression and onset of World War II caused memberships to dwindle and 1942 marked the Club’s final season.


Governor Ellis Arnall soon thereafter appointed a commission to investigate the purchase of the coastal islands for use as state parks. Georgians largely supported the proposal for the state to purchase Jekyll, eager to enjoy an accessible in-state beach within reach of the average vacationer. Though some politicians opposed the purchase, questioning whether the state belonged in the beach resort business, others hoped to capture tourist traffic headed further south.

Governor M.E. Thompson
and his wife Ann on Jekyll,
ca. 1947-48.
M.E. Thompson Papers,
Russell Library
.
As state revenue commission, M.E. Thompson recommended the purchase of Jekyll Island. Acting as governor he moved forward with the state acquisition of the island on October 7, 1947 for $675,000, renaming the property Jekyll Island State Park. Although taunted by his political foe Herman Talmadge, who dubbed the project “Thompson’s Folly,” Thompson refused to give up on the creation of a state beach park for the “plain people of Georgia.”  In recognition of this work on the project, the Jekyll Island Bridge was named in his honor in 1989.


Although Jekyll is now a “fabulous family vacation spot, open to all,” the Jekyll Island Authority continues to capitalize on the island's high-class history to entice tourists. As one pamphlet advertising “Prime Ocean Front Resort Lots” noted, “Jekyll’s potential is far from being realized” yet it has “a unique identity—one that gives it an edge in the competition with other seacoast resorts.” Although the Jekyll Island Authority promoted resort type development and leased lots to increase profits and make the island economically self-sufficient by 1972 , the state legislature stipulated that no more than half of the property could be developed.

Want to find out more about Georgia Tourism? Visit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the New South on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 18, 2015 through July 30, 2016. 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 russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Note: All the uncaptioned images in this blog post were obtained from the Georgiana Ephemera Collection, courtesy of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Georgia Disability History Symposium: Stories of Advocacy and Action

We are pleased to announce that the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies and the Institute on Human Development and Disability have partnered to present “The Georgia Disability History Symposium: Stories of Advocacy and Action" -- an event intended to increase awareness and understanding of disability history in Georgia, to be hosted Thursday, October 23 from 1:00-7:00 p.m. at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

The afternoon event will feature an array of speakers presenting their experiences advocating over the past several decades, and their thoughts about what still needs to be done, 25 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Dr. Zolinda Stoneman, director of IHDD, will provide the keynote. Speakers’ topics will include disability rights and justice, de-institutionalization, the power and impact of the Olmstead decision, citizen advocacy and self-advocacy. A reception will follow.

An exhibit featuring documents, photographs and memorabilia from the recently created Georgia Disability History Archive, housed at the Russell Library, will be available for viewing. Also on hand will be the ADA Legacy Tour bus, which has traveled over 23,000 miles this year to commemorate the ADA’s 25th anniversary.

To read the full press release, click HERE.
For more information or to RSVP, please contact Mat Darby at matdarby@uga.edu or 706-542-0627.

Friday, September 04, 2015

The Red Hills: From Cotton to Quail

Georgia Game and Fish Magazine, Fall 1954.
John James Flynt, Jr. Papers, Russell Library
Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   


Courtesy of Gary Doster
The region of Southwest Georgia in the Flint River basin near Albany encompassing Thomas and Grady Counties is known as the Red Hills. In the 1874, local Thomas County physician Dr. Thomas Spalding Hopkins touted the benefits of the high elevation and dry climate for improving respiratory ailments. Soon thereafter, the New England Journal of Medicine even promoted South Georgia—particularly Thomasville—as the ideal sanctuary for those suffering from consumption. As a 1890s trade card noted, “why not spend the winter in Thomasville?" With convenient railway access, pleasant surroundings, and a dry climate, northerners flocking to the Red Hills during the winters of the late nineteenth century more than doubled the local population. Depressed cotton prices in the post-Reconstruction Era dropped property values, and soon visitors began buying up defunct cotton plantations and converting them into private hunting resorts. These exclusive seasonal visitors, many whose families still enjoy the region, came for the climate, opportunity to socialize with fellow elites, and the pleasure of hunting in the longleaf pine forests.  


Georgia Room Collection
Hargrett Library
Many of South Georgia’s quail hunting plantations served as the nation’s first outdoor laboratories for wildlife management and forestry research. In the early twentieth century, scientists like Herbert Stoddard (1889-1970) and Eugene Odom (1913-2002) came to the Red Hills to conduct research. By the 1950s, the Cooperative Quail Study Association was established at Robert Woodruff’s Ichauway Plantation, which continues as the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center.  As of 2013, more than 650,000 acres in the Red Hills serve as quail hunting preserves and over 165,000 acres are permanently protected.  In 2012, Red Hills hunting plantations generated $147.1 million per year and employed over 1,400 locals full-time. In that same year Georgia ranked number one in the nation for attracting out-of-state hunters.

Want to find out more about Georgia Tourism? Visit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the New South on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 18, 2015 through July 30, 2016. 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 russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

New Tourism Exhibit Featured in Georgia Connector Magazine

We are excited to have our new exhibit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South featured as the cover story in this month's Georgia Connector Magazine! Click HERE to give it a read.

The story tells readers a bit about the exhibit - our process for developing the topic and getting into the research. There are fantastic quotes from our summer intern, Kaylynn Washnock, who acted as co-curator on the project, as well as our volunteer Bill Hugunine who has been searching through the collections for items to display for more than a year. And finally, there is also a great side piece that focuses on the amazing private collectors who we worked with to borrow items for the display, notably Gary Doster, Ed Jackson, and William Walker.

We hope you'll give the article a read and come and check out the finished product at our opening on September 18th! In the meantime, keep up with Kaylynn's series here on the blog - new installments coming next week. And, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more sneak peek photos of the exhibit during installation. 


Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Stone Mountain: A Complex Attraction

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   


Stone Mountain Materials,
Hargrett Library
.
Since the 1850s, people have come to marvel at the world’s largest mass of exposed granite at Stone Mountain. In 1909, at the height of Civil War memorial construction in the South, the United Daughters of the Confederacy proposed a monument on the site. The Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental Association hired renowned sculptor Gutzon Borglum, creator of Mount Rushmore, to construct a carving of well-known Confederate figures Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Following ongoing disagreements, Borglum left the project in the 1920s with the carving incomplete.

Given recent events in the media concerning Confederate flags and monuments, it is interesting to reflect on the origins of the carving at Stone Mountain. In 1924, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA) announced “the people of Georgia are confronted with the opportunity of having the greatest memorial in the world erected within their borders—a piece of sculpture so heroic in size, so magnificent in conception that the temples of Thebes pale into insignificance in comparison and the rock city of Petra can offer no equal.” Hoping to raise $250,000 to finance the carving, SMMA chairman Hollis H. Randolph urged “when will the people of Georgia awake to a realization of their priceless opportunity?”  The 1920s vision for Stone Mountain was a product of its time, steeped in notions of Lost Cause ideology.

The Civil Rights Movement revived attention in the unfinished monument among pro-segregationists. In 1958, Governor Marvin Griffin led efforts to establish the Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA) to purchase the property and oversee the development of Stone Mountain Memorial Park. The 1959 Master Plan completed by Robert and Company Associates of Atlanta hoped to transform Stone Mountain with the construction of a lake, dam, scenic drives and trails, fishing pier and open-air theater.

Master Plan for the Stone Mountain Memorial, 1959.
S. Ernest Vandiver, Jr. Papers, Russell Library.

Since the 1970s, Stone Mountain has attempted to move beyond promoting a romanticized and largely conflict free vision of the Old South. Although the Confederate carving remains prominent, and an interpreted antebellum plantation is among the featured attractions at the site, developers have created a more marketable identity for the park as a whole to appeal to a culturally diverse audience. In 1998, Herschend Family Entertainment, owner of Dollywood and Silver Dollar City, signed a contract to operate Stone Mountain as a joint public-private family friendly theme park, which now attracts 4 million visitors annually. The park offers a host of attractions, including a laser light show, sky lift, scenic railroad, in addition to hiking trails, a golf course, and fishing and picnicking areas. Though not without controversy, the modern site is more than just Confederate memory.

Interested in talking more about issues of memory? Our pick for September's Rest of the Story Book Club is Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horowitz. I'll be helping to lead the discussion, so if you're interested in further exploring the topics touched on in this blog post, check out the book and join us on Tuesday, September 22nd at 5:30PM for light refreshments and good discussion.

Want to find out more about Georgia Tourism? Visit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the New South on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 18, 2015 through July 30, 2016. 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 russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Helen: An Alpine Invention

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   

Welcome to Helen brochure, ca. 1970s.
Georgiana Ephemera Collection, Hargrett Library.
Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, the Bavarian village of Helen known for fudge and beer was once a prosperous logging and mining town. By the late 1920s, the lumber industry had decimated local resources and moved on. Without logging traffic, the 1.5 mile rail line into Helen shut down in 1928. In the decades that followed locals looked for new ways to attract visitors to the area, with limited success. In 1968, after years of dwindling population and economic prospects Mayor Bob Fowler and entrepreneur Pete Hodkinson met with community stakeholders to discuss ways to revitalize the business district. When local artist John Kollock suggested that the town capitalize on the beauty of the surrounding mountains and transform itself into a Bavarian village, inspired by his time spent in Germany with the military, business owners agreed.

Helen was reborn in April 1969 with a new charter that granted the city control over the exterior appearance of buildings downtown. By the early 1970s, the European ambiance was taking shape and visitors inundated the town, taking part in hot-air balloon races or a range of festivals like Oktoberfest.  A 1971 brochure featuring Kollock sketches encouraged tourists to “leisurely enjoy the charms” and “Old World atmosphere.” Despite the popularity of Helen’s German fa├žade, the town found many critics who bemoaned the campy commercialization detached from authentic Appalachian history. In 2003, Helen was the third most popular tourist destination in Georgia, behind only Atlanta and Savannah. The appeal continues to expand as shops and roadside stands on the outskirts of Helen attempt to allure tourist with homespun gifts, local food stuffs and several options for tubing down the Chattahoochee River.

Roadside stand on the road to Helen.
Photo by Kaylynn Washnock, July 2015.
Want to find out more about Georgia Tourism? Visit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the New South on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 18, 2015 through July 30, 2016. 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 russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tallulah Gorge: Resort or Resource?

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   


Early color lithograph of Tallulah Falls, ca. early 1800s.
Courtesy of Ed Jackson.

A site with remarkable vistas, ample opportunities for recreation, and access to healthful cool air and water made Tallulah Falls irresistible to tourists. As early as 1819, the Niles’ Weekly Register praised Tallulah as an “extraordinary exhibition of nature.” It claimed that although the Rapids of Tallulah were “almost unknown to any person beyond its neighborhood—it however merits to be known and admired, as one of the greatest curiosities in the U. States.” The travel writer concluded “the cataract of Niagara and its great whirlpool and banks, is the only superior natural curiosity to the Rapids of Tallulah.”

Hiking party at Tallulah Falls, ca. 1900-1910.
Dudley Mays Hughes Collection, Russell Library.

By 1877, the “See America First” campaign and more localized efforts of New South boosters to keep wealthy Georgians vacationing nearby attracted nearly 1,800 annual visitors. The completion of the railroad’s expansion nearby in 1882 and construction of several hotels during the 1890s had newspapers foretelling that Tallulah Falls was “destined to be the resort of the South.” In 1909 the Georgia Power Company began acquiring land tracts around Tallulah, recognizing the potential energy that could be generated by damming the river. Despite the efforts of the Tallulah Falls Conservation Association (TFCA), led by Helen Dortch Longstreet, to prevent the dam, construction of the South’s largest hydroelectric development impeded tourism and a fire destroyed the town in 1921.

Governor Zell Miller speaking at dedication of Tallulah Gorge
State Park, 1992. Zell B. Miller Papers, Russell Library.

New types of attractions soon emerged though, as second homes and campgrounds replaced the once booming hotels and boarding houses. Today tourists hike to scenic vistas or enjoy fishing, boating, and swimming in the lake. Despite the dam, trails around the gorge offer stunning views of Hurricane Falls, Oceana Falls, Caledonia Cascade, L’Eau d’Or Falls, the top of Tempesta Falls, and Hawthorne Cascade and Pool. On October 28, 1992, Governor Zell Miller  announced the creation of Tallulah Gorge State Park including the dam, lake, gorge, and 3,000 acres of surrounding wilderness as a joint venture between the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Power Company.

View of Tallulah from my hike in July 2015.
Want to find out more about Georgia tourism? Visit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the New South on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 18, 2015 through July 30, 2016. 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 russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Roadside Culture

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   

Roadside stand in Georgia, ca. 1960s.
Williamson S. Stuckey Papers, Russell Library.
Auto tourism took hold in the United States in the early 1900s. As long-distance road vacations became more common, entrepreneurs in towns along the route also developed offerings to capture tourist dollars along the way. Some took in boarders, while others started roadside stands selling produce. In 1937, Williamson S. Stuckey Sr. opened the first Stuckey’s roadside convenience store along Georgia Route 23 in Eastman, Georgia, offering cold drinks, snacks, souvenirs, and pecan candy. In a 2008 interview with Bob Short, Williamson S. “Bill” Stuckey Jr. reflected on the family business noting “my mother got the idea; well if they are buying pecans why not make some pralines, fudge and log rolls? So it all sorta started from there and grew to where we were in 44 states.” By the 1960s, there were more than 350 Stuckey’s locations across the country.


Letter from Lamartine HardmanPapers,
Russell Library
Not all roadside attractions received positive reviews from tourists though. In 1930, Henderson Hallman, President of the Georgia State Automobile Association, wrote to Georgia Governor Lamartine Hardman concerned that “mysterious holdups and search under the guise of the law” had been frightening women and children “nearly to death” along the Georgia-Florida line near Jacksonville. In the 1950s and 1960s the American Automobile Association (AAA) threatened to place Georgia on the travel black list, citing the infamous speed traps and clip joints in the town of Ludowici, designed to cheat travelers out of their money.

Want to find out more about Georgia Tourism? Visit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the New South on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 18, 2015 through July 30, 2016. 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 russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Roadside peach stand, ca. 1960s.
Ann E. Lewis Papers, Hargrett Library

Monday, August 17, 2015

Remembering Julian Bond

Our staff members were saddened to learn about the passing of Julian Bond over the weekend. A founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, former chair of the NAACP, as well as a former member of both the Georgia House and Senate, Mr. Bond was a talented man who worked for equal rights throughout his life. In 2012, Mr. Bond sat down with our staff to record an oral history with interviewer Bob Short. In the post below oral historian Christian Lopez recalls his interactions with Bond during that trip in DC.   


A few years ago, I had the great privilege and honor of spending a whole day and evening with Julian Bond in DC. Bob Short and I traveled there to record an oral history interview for the Russell Library's Reflections on Georgia Politics program. We ended up having to shoot it in a stark, spare room at American University. It turned out pretty well, I think.

Afterwards, Julian and his wife Pam wanted to treat us to lunch at their favorite spot. Without a word from me, Julian also identified the immediate concern of what to do with all my expensive gear for the rest of the day and evening, and took care of it. He said he understood it was important to me.
After a great lunch filled with much humor, we returned to American and Bob taught Julian's class on civil rights history.

Later that evening, we were guests at Julian's table in the theater at Busboys and Poets, where he and John Lewis were the featured participants in a discussion on civil rights, then and now, moderated by congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. It was a moving experience to hear those two men, so different in their eloquence, each so revered and erudite. That night, as Julian introduced us to people there, it was like being with a rock star. I was asked by a reporter with the Washington Post who I was, and initially I was not allowed towards the front of the theater until Julian stepped forward and said, "It's alright-- Christian is my guest at my table."

Julian Bond was thoughtful, funny, gracious, humble, and so generous with us that day. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Julian's voice and presence will be missed greatly.

-- Christian Lopez


Friday, August 14, 2015

Hitting the Road

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   


Image courtesy of Ed Jackson.
New South boosters like Atlanta Mayor Robert F. Maddox and Atlanta Constitution editor Clark Howell expected improved roads to further unite the North and South and enhance the South’s economic vitality through increased tourism and business.

Image courtesy of Ed Jackson.
The Dixie Highway, with construction beginning in 1915, provided an integrated system of improved roads connecting the South to the Midwest. The most successful product of the Good Roads Movement (1880s-1920s), the highway ran through ten states, connecting Georgia to Lake Michigan and Miami Beach. The dividends of this public-private partnership paid out quickly – nearly 7,000 cars bound for Florida, carrying 27,000 motorists, spent an estimated $2,760,000 along the Dixie Highway during the winter of 1916 alone. According to a Dixie Highway Association advertisement for sign posts, the painted white and red stripe telephone pole logo not only “added advertising value” to local communities but created “enthusiasm in the interest in the highway” among tourists from other states.

Image courtesy of Ed Jackson
Many Georgia cities along the route embarked on new building projects to capitalize on the increased car traffic. Building on the success of the Dixie Highway, the Automobile Club of America, New York, promoted the 1917 Dixie Tour as both restful and recreational touting both “the old romantic South” and “the new South of enterprise and initiative.” Aside from high-class hotels and natural scenery, the Dixie Tour capitalized on wartime patriotism by stressing how the South was home to “battlefields celebrated in the annals” and “great camps where our officers and men are now training to serve Uncle Sam.”

Want to find out more about Georgia Tourism? Visit Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the New South on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 18, 2015 through, July 30, 2016. 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 russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Monday, August 10, 2015

New Exhibit Coming Soon!

Over the past two summers Russell Library intern Kaylynn Washnock assisted in curating the new exhibit, “Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South” opening September 18th in the Russell Library’s Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit investigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It addition to highlighting six popular destinations in Georgia the exhibit considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles of modern amenities in shaping the modern tourist experience. This post is one in a series where Kaylynn offers a preview of the exhibition.   

Bud Freeman showing off WAY too
many rattlesnake rattlers!
The Russell Access and Outreach staff has been hard at work all summer preparing the script and design for the new Georgia tourism exhibit. After finalizing a draft of the script, the real fun began: choosing stuff for the exhibit! 

Article Bud showed us about the collector
of all of those rattles (over 1,000).
Since the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is home to several different plant and animal species we took a visit to the Georgia Museum of Natural History was in order.  Dr. Byron “Bud” Freeman, Senior Public Service Associate and Director of the Georgia Museum of Natural History, was gracious enough to give us a tour and identify animal specimens from the collection that inhabited the swamp. Perhaps the most intriguing, yet also terrifying, thing we saw was a box full of rattlesnake “rattles” collected by a ranger during his time spent studying the Okefenokee Swamp. 


Jill (head of AOU at Russell) and me
holding the chenille bedspread purchased
for the display.
We also searched for a chenille bedspread for an area of the exhibit that will highlight roadside culture. Called “Peacock Alley” or “Bedspread Boulevard,” the section of U.S. Highway 41 in northwest Georgia near Dalton, became known for the peacock designed chenille bedspreads that flapped in the wind at roadside stands. By the 1930s the homegrown industry had evolved into a business employing 7,000 local workers.


Me taking a closer look at the 16mm
footage from the Sanders Collection.
Finally, choices had to be made concerning what audio-visual footage we would display on the monitors in the gallery. We were very interested in a reel of 16mm footage of a Welcome Center dedication ceremony from the early 1960s that had not been seen in decades and needed to be transferred. This film, along with other reels, were donated to the UGA Law School, who then turned to the Russell Library to care for and provide access to the films. We are currently working to have this footage digitized with help from our colleagues in the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and plan on using this rare clip in the exhibit. Other items I viewed included several from the home movie collection, also part of the Brown Media Archives. Silent footage of family picnics, kids frolicking on the beach and families loading up their campers all made frequent appearances in these videos and will appear on the opening monitor, welcoming people into the exhibit.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Open for Research: New Collections Available Now

The Russell Library is pleased to announce the opening of eight new collections documenting the work of a disability rights activist, a community leader, a member of Congress, two judges, commissioners of agriculture and industry & trade, and a press secretary for Senator Russell. These diverse collections include material for the study of economic development and agricultural policy in Georgia; the state’s legal and judicial community; political and legislative issues, including healthcare and immigration; and housing advocacy for disabled citizens. Follow the links below for guides to these collections.

George J. Berry Papers, 1951-2008 (bulk, 1970-2004)
George J. Berry held various leadership positions with the City of Atlanta, the State of Georgia and the private sector and worked throughout his career to attract international business to Atlanta and Georgia. The papers include correspondence, reports, board meeting materials, publications, photographs, audiovisual materials, and memorabilia.

J. Phil Campbell, Jr. Papers, 1926-1996
J. Phil Campbell, Jr. (1917-1998) was an agricultural expert with a career spanning over sixty years that included work as a farmer, Georgia state representative, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture, U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture, and consultant. His papers document his entire career and include correspondence, research materials, speeches, and appointment calendars.

Aaron Cohn Papers, 1931-2012 (bulk, 1945-2000)
Aaron Cohn (1916-2012) served as a juvenile court judge in Columbus, Georgia (1965-2011). His papers include correspondence, clippings, reports, programs, awards, scrapbooks and photographs.

Duross Fitzpatrick Papers, 1918-2008 (bulk, 1983-2001)
Duross Fitzpatrick (1934-2008) served as a United States District Judge for the Middle District of Georgia (1985-2001). His papers document his judicial career and his engagement with the broader legal community and include correspondence, legal notes, clippings, oral histories, photographs, awards, and audiovisual materials.

Jacob L. Goldstein Papers, 1940-2009
Jacob L. Goldstein (1923-2013) was a community leader and businessman in Milledgeville, Georgia. His papers document his civic involvement as well as his military career.

Earl T. Leonard, Jr. Collection of Richard B. Russell Materials, 1957-2007 (bulk, 1963-1971)
Earl T. Leonard, Jr., served as press secretary for Senator Richard B. Russell, a board member of the Richard B. Russell Foundation, and an executive with the Coca-Cola Company. His collection documents Leonard's personal and professional relationship with Senator Russell and contains correspondence, clippings and photographs.

Charles W. Norwood, Jr. Papers, 1967-2009 (bulk, 1994-2007)
Charles W. Norwood, Jr. (1941-2007) represented Georgia’s 9th and 10th Districts of in the U.S. House of Representative (1995-2007) and was previously a prominent dentist in Augusta, Georgia. His papers document his time in Congress and the legislation he supported through constituent services, legislative files, press materials, and personal and political files.

Eleanor Smith Papers, 1976-2014
Eleanor Smith founded and directed Concrete Change, an Atlanta-based, national organization focused on establishing home construction practices that welcome people with disabilities. The papers document her work to create visitable homes, in a move towards universal basic access, as well as her activism across a wide range of disability rights and justice issues. The papers are part of the Georgia Disability History Archive.