The Gene Hunter

I’ve been working through Dr. Clyde E. Keeler’s collection on and off since July of this year. Clyde Edgar Keeler was mostly notably a medical geneticist known for his studies of Cuna Indian culture, lab mice, and genetics of vision, but he also held interests in art, theater, archaeology, and anthropology.

His is one of those collections that every few years has new items added to it. The bulk of his collection originally found its way to Georgia College in 2014. A few additions were made in 2016, with the most recent occurring in June 2018.

Dr. Clyde E. Keeler at Howe Laboratory at Harvard Medical School (1935)

Keeler’s academic career began at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he concentrated in zoology and earned both a bachelor’s and his first master’s degree. He continued his graduate studies at Harvard University. It was here, at the age of 23, that Keeler found the first structural nervous system abnormality that could be linked to the mutation of a single gene. The particular defect was found when Keeler examined microscope slides of mouse eyes. (We hold roughly 500 glass slides of Keeler’s mouse research here in special collections.) He discovered that the specimens were missing the rods of the retina, an interior structure of the eye. Keeler was later able to prove that this flaw was caused by a single-gene mutation. This work formed the basis of Keeler’s master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation at Harvard. Keeler’s efforts in this area were also instrumental in eventually finding the precise location of the DNA mutation responsible for the inherited human eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. Continue reading “The Gene Hunter”


Check It Out!

money kid GIF by indigenous-media


This week in Special Collections I stumbled across something quite interesting while working on a refoldering project. Refoldering is when we receive acquisitions — in this case from the Georgia College Alumni Association — and have to go through every document to put them into new archival folders in order to ensure the collections longevity. It’s monotonous work, but this ensures that the items aren’t housed in acidic environments that can damage them over time.

During this “insanely fun” process, I found an uncashed check in the amount of $1850 that was written to the Alumni Association in the 1970s 😲.

I have so many questions questions surrounding this mysterious check…

  1. How did the check go unnoticed for so long? Its been nearly 4 decades!
  2. Did the check writer ever realize nearly $2,000 never left his/her’s bank account?
  3. Did the Alumni Association ever receive a new check regarding the generous donation?

Interestingly enough, it’s not outside of the norm for us to come across bizarre or out of the ordinary artifacts. From autopsies, to an exiting college presidents welcome address to her new institution, to even lost marriage certificates, Special Collections is the place for rare and peculiar finds.

As for what has happened to the puzzling check, we are returning it to the original recipient. It shall be arriving at the Alumni Associations office shortly!


Panty Raids, Jock Raids, and Streaking… Oh, My!

A lot of what gets written about on our blog in Special Collections is the result of a tangent someone follows. While re-foldering files from the Office of the President from the 1981-82 school year, I found a memo titled “Re: Panty Raids and Jock Raids.” I stopped immediately and showed Holly the memo, chuckling at the stern tone in which the Division of Student Affairs warned against participating in the raids. Trenae, another Graduate Assistant in Special Collections, was familiar with the term because of a Spongebob episode. Thinking my interest in the topic could turn into a blog post, I started doing some research.1981 Panty Raid Memo006

Continue reading “Panty Raids, Jock Raids, and Streaking… Oh, My!”

Are Special Collections and Their Old Formats Dying?

In today’s society, most of our world is viewed through a screen or the lens of a smartphone. Technological advances are hindering our abilities to do things the “old-fashioned way.” Our attachment to technology is diminishing the sentimental value of memories. For instance, when going to live sporting event or a concert, instead of remembering the event and good feelings associated with it, we are merely remembering the point in time when we tried so hard to essentially remember the moment forever. We spend so much of our time wrapped up in our phones and trying to preserve special moments forever that we sometimes forget to just watch, just listen, and just experience. Instead of enjoying the moment we spend most of the time trying to capture the moment.

Image may contain: one or more people
[Photograph]. (2018, September 17).

Personally, I think technology is crippling our brains ability to properly store and remember information, and recent research in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology backs me up. Most people today have this technological pretense that advanced telecommunications are the way of the future. Most things are done either online or with our phones. People no longer keep hard copies of things such as family photos and other memorabilia because said things can be accessed at the click of a mouse or the scroll of a finger.

Continue reading “Are Special Collections and Their Old Formats Dying?”

Jessies and JUULs: The Changing Perception of Tobacco Use on Campus

Jessica McQuain is one of our new graduate assistants in Special Collections this year. She is a first year student in the MA in English program. Jessica also earned B.A.s in English and Spanish from Georgia College in 2016.

There’s a professor on campus who’s (in)famous for his knowledge and passion for Milledgeville history. Even without having taken a course with him, most folks at least recognize the name Dr. Bob. As the University Historian, Dr. Bob Wilson is a frequent flyer here in Special Collections. Recently, he came by to ask if we could peruse issues of The Colonnade from 1948 to 1952 for some research he’s doing on a prior student. While flipping carefully through yellowed pages of our college paper, I was flabbergasted by how many cigarette ads I found. Every issue had at least a half page ad for Chesterfield cigarettes, often touting Hollywood film stars as examples of the glamor of smoking. Even more than being glamorous, these ads promoted smoking as healthy!

From The Colonnade, April 10, 1951

When I started this research, the current Colonnade had a front page story on the dangers of using the e-cigarette JUUL. Often described as a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes, the JUUL still delivers nicotine and is popular for being discreet and for offering various flavored pods. The article even states that students “hit their pen in class.” Overall, e-cigarettes are presented as dangerous and addictive. The declining rates of smoking are considered a success, and the choice to voluntarily expose oneself to provenly harmful nicotine is presented as mysterious.¹ Continue reading “Jessies and JUULs: The Changing Perception of Tobacco Use on Campus”

The Importance of Documenting Diversity

Trenae Johnson is one of our graduate assistants in Special Collections this year. She holds a B.A. in Studio Art with a cognate in Psychology from the University of South Carolina and is now a first year masters student in the Art Therapy program at Georgia College.

Spectrum 1988-1989 - smaller
From the 1989 Spectrum.

As a new member of the team here in Special Collections, I am honored to say that the other graduate assistants and I have been working on a project that it set to document diversity throughout the university. The project started out as a part of the display for Georgia Archives Month. However, the project has been expanded beyond Georgia Archives Month and is now apart of an ongoing collection here in Special Collections. Nancy, the associate director of special collections says, “I think it is a learning experience for them [graduate assistants], and it also introduces them to campus folks they might not ever meet.” And I could not agree with her more! Continue reading “The Importance of Documenting Diversity”

New Year, New Projects, New Faces

The beginning of each school year always proves a bit hectic. It almost seems as though overnight Special Collections shifts from the slow drawl of summer, with researchers dropping by or calling in with requests once every couple days, to suddenly juggling three projects at once.

This year, Special Collections welcomed two new graduate assistants (in addition to me) and two new undergraduate Service Learning Opportunity students. In the past, Special Collections hasn’t always been this filled with staff, but this year we’re lucky to have a full house with all hands on deck. New graduate assistants this year are Art Therapy major, Trenae Johnson, and English major, Jessica McQuain. Our two new Service Learning Opportunity undergraduates are Business undecided, Reese Christian, and Laurie Gentry, who majors in Art and plans to pursue Art Therapy as well.

The first big project Trenae, Jessica, and I have begun to tackle is putting together the physical exhibit for Georgia Archives Month. In the past we’ve featured the NAVY Waves uniform for the 2016 theme, “Archives Big and Small: Showcasing Our Gems.” Last year, we focused on the library’s major innovations and renovations beginning with the school’s original opening in 1889, the loss of materials from the Main Building fire of 1924, all the way to the most recent addition in 2010. This year’s theme is called “Faces and Places: Documenting Diversity during Georgia Archives Month.” For the visual exhibit, we’ve decided to spotlight staff around campus, those that often go unrecognized. Through Front Page and other news media such as The Colonnade, students are often informed of their peers’ accomplishments and achievements, we’re exposed to faculty recognition, and we’re updated on clubs and athletics, social events, etc. Acknowledging student and faculty achievement is, of course, important. It’s our duty as a university to root for one another, and to document the marks we make, the imprints we leave. But what about custodial? What about landscaping and grounds? Food service? Parking and transportation? Facilities operations? There are so many other moving parts to the “well-oiled” machine that keeps Georgia College, or any university, operating, and it’s important to remember this not just during the month of October but always. Continue reading “New Year, New Projects, New Faces”