Usery: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

You first heard of W.J. Usery, Jr. last spring when several of us in Special Collections drove out to the former Secretary of Labor’s estate to collect some of his materials. I wrote a blog post on what it means to do an “archival appraisal.” We spent a morning sorting through memorabilia, packaging picture frames, and cataloguing information we would need after acquiring his collection.

This semester we’ve cleared shelf space within the archive to make room for Usery’s dense and impressive collection. We joke that he is becoming this academic year’s James C. Bonner, meaning we expect Usery materials to pop up well after we’ve closed each box and considered the collection finished. Not unlike Floyd Griffin, a phrase Brendan and I have come to use quite frequently while cataloguing Usery’s materials is “this man did everything.” From being one of the greatest allies and progressive forces for labor union workers to mediating some of the United States’ biggest disputes, Usery’s positive influence has directly and indirectly touched the lives of many. From awards of high recognition and honor to framed photographs with Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, and others, it’s easy to see from these materials that Usery had a hand in political change for decades. Continue reading “Usery: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”

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Josh’s Marvel Converts the Sounds of the Past

Back when Georgia College was called the Women’s College of Georgia in the 1960s, several of the groups recorded their performances. As you might guess, few folks today have record players, though they are making a comeback due to a niche market. However, most people can’t play records anymore.

Of course, when a group of alumnae are getting together for an informal reunion and they all participated in one or more of those performances during their time at the college, they want to hear themselves! This is where our audiovisual emulation and migration capabilities in Special Collections come into play. Thanks to my predecessor, Josh Kitchens, we have a setup of wires and tubes and contraptions that doesn’t look like it should work, yet always miraculously does. I rue the day that computer or those drives have to be replaced, as I’m fairly certain I cannot re-engineer Josh’s Marvel. Included are a record player, a reel-to-reel, a U-Matic player, and a VHS player. There are probably other pieces that I haven’t noticed yet because I haven’t needed them (yet).

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Behold Josh’s Marvel

Continue reading “Josh’s Marvel Converts the Sounds of the Past”

Come On In, Y’all

It is officially October, and though pumpkin-flavored everything and sunset colored leaves are certainly indications, we know it is October for a more particular reason: October means Georgia Archives Month. Organized by the Society of Georgia Archivists in 1969, GAM represents 100 repositories that cherish historical records. Georgia College is one of those repositories.

This year, the theme is called “Come on in, Y’all! Accessible Archives in Georgia.” We’ve decided to focus on ways in which the Ina Dillard Russell Library has changed and developed over the years, how its resources have become more accessible to students, faculty, and visiting researchers and writers. Using information and materials located within our archive, we’ve designed a digital exhibit to display on a touch screen in the Atrium of the Library, found on the first floor near Books & Brew.

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Continue reading “Come On In, Y’all”

Caro Lane Receives the Golden Deeds Award

Shayla Burnett is one of our two Student Service Opportunity Award Fellows in Special Collections this year. She is a freshman at Georgia College majoring in Exercise Science.

On my first day volunteering in Special Collections, I was shown the archive’s public and private spaces in the library, which consist of many boxes of manuscript collections, exhibits, and old books. After Holly gave me a tour, she gave me my first assignment — to rearrange the files and finding aid of a collection of my choosing. I chose the Caro Lane papers. The files of Caro Lane consist of personal correspondence, certificates of awards and appreciation, and her nomination for the Golden Deeds Award (along with Golden Deeds newspaper clippings, photographs, and other miscellaneous items). Continue reading “Caro Lane Receives the Golden Deeds Award”

Tales From the Back Stoop: 30 Fresh Perspectives on Milledgeville

Catherine James is one of our two Student Service Opportunity Award Fellows in Special Collections this year. She is a freshman at Georgia College majoring in Mass Communication.

Downtown Milledgeville, 1973
Downtown Milledgeville, as seen in 1973.

I am just about two months into my new life in Milledgeville and am almost entirely unaware of the stories, accounts, and histories that make up the quaint little town that I’m slowly learning to call home. Although, from what I’ve gathered in the bits and pieces of history that have been sprung on me through tours, classes, word of mouth, and even details as small as the names of certain campus buildings, Milledgeville has no shortage of rich history. I have only recently started assisting in Special Collections, and it has already taught me a tremendous amount about my new city that I would have otherwise most likely overlooked. Continue reading “Tales From the Back Stoop: 30 Fresh Perspectives on Milledgeville”

A Milledgeville Legend: Floyd L. Griffin, Jr. and his collection

Floyd_Griffin_Military (1)Anything you can think of, Floyd Griffin has probably done in his lifetime.  From an illustrious military career to a Division II College Football Championship to a political career in Milledgeville and the State of Georgia to continuing active participation in the community, an active lifestyle seems like an understatement when I think of all Floyd has done.   Fortunately for me, I got to have an in depth look at his life and accomplishments as I cataloged the many items that were donated as part of his collection.

Floyd L. Griffin, Jr. was born in Milledgeville in 1944.  He graduated from Tuskegee University in 1966 with a Bachelor’s in Building Construction and then began his military career as helicopter pilot in Vietnam and as part of an Engineer company.  Shortly after returning home,  Griffin was stationed in Virginia and went to Florida Institute of Technology and received his Master’s in Contract and Procurement Management.  His military career would continue with 14 assignments including a tour in Germany and tour as an ROTC instructor at Winston-Salem State and Wake Forest.  He would also be a coach on the first WSSU football team to win the CIAA Division II college Football Championship.   His final assignment was as Director of Contracts and Construction in the U.S. Army Community Family Support Command in the Pentagon.   In 1990, Griffin retired from his esteemed military career as Colonel.   After returning to Milledgeville, he earned an Associates in Funeral Service from Gupton Jones College and began work in the family business as a funeral director and embalmer and eventual CEO at Slater’s Funeral Home. Continue reading “A Milledgeville Legend: Floyd L. Griffin, Jr. and his collection”

Lost and Found

Brendan Starr is one of our graduate assistants in Special Collections this year.  He holds a B.A. in History from Georgia College and is now a second year student in the department’s masters program.

Recently hired as a graduate assistant in Special Collections,  my first task was to finish processing the additions to the David M. Sherman papers and updating the finding aid to current standards. There were boxes of files and assorted objects that needed to be properly recorded in the finding aid for further use by students, researchers, and the public. Traditionally in an archive, collections come in faster than the archivists can process them. This creates backlogs in archives all over the world.  Between 1995-2005, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), in College Park, Maryland, had  a backlog of two million boxes, which translates to billions of pieces of paper. All of those items have to be sorted and cataloged for further use. There are only so many archivists on staff, though, so the backlog at NARA is not going away anytime soon. Continue reading “Lost and Found”