“I am loved”: A Marketing Campaign Marks Milledgeville

Much of what we process in the archives belonged to former students of this campus, from the days of Georgia Normal & Industrial College through the days of Georgia State College for Women and more recently, Georgia College. I was adding a few donations from alumni when I opened a box to find a rat cap sporting different pins and patches. These caps were common in the GSCW days, and students have always personalized their caps with ribbons, pins, and patches, so their appearance was no surprise. What was a surprise was the red “I am loved” pin on the cap. cap

When I was 8 years old, my family took our first (and only) trip on a plane to go to Disney World. I was nervous because of the intimidating people at security and the threat of hijacking; this was May 2002, not long after the attacks of 9/11. My seat on the plane was separate from but close to my family. The seat next to me was occupied by a young woman who I thought must’ve been a real grown-up because she was traveling alone. In reality, she was probably no older than most of the students at Georgia College. She had a backpack covered with colorful pins and when she realized how scared I was, she started talking to me. The flight was only an hour, but it felt like the longest conversation I’d ever had in my young life. I don’t remember much of it now, but she told me not to be nervous, that no matter what happened I was loved. When the plane landed she reached into her bag and handed me a red pin with white letters: “I am loved.” Continue reading ““I am loved”: A Marketing Campaign Marks Milledgeville”

How Two Men and and a Woman broached the topic of Mental Illness Differently in their Correspondence

Katie Autry is a student in Holly’s GC1Y, The History of Georgia College, this semester. This is her Historical Object Analysis submission.

Back in the day, it didn’t take long for you to straighten up if someone threatened to “send you to Milledgeville”. If you’ve ever heard that phrase but never understood what was so wrong with Milledgeville, let me tell you.

Milledgeville was the home to Central State Hospital, the state’s (and once the world’s) largest mental asylum from 1842-2010, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities tells us. Though Central State employees strongly believed they were doing good work for the mentally insane, stories have come out from sources such as Atlas Obscura about the lack or patient care and unethical medical practices done there, such as the staff to patient ratio being 1:100 at one point.

Now, imagine you were the wife of a very prestigious community member, a highly regarded faculty member at Georgia College, and your husband was the one saying he was going to “send you to Milledgeville.” Scary, right?

For Mrs. Ida Bonner, wife of Dr. James C. Bonner, this was a scary reality she was going to have to face. It was also a scary and difficult decision for him.

Mrs. Bonner lost two children in her life, first her son, Allen, and later in life, her daughter, Paige. Her only child who outlived her was Jim Bonner. After the death of her daughter, Ida was overcome with sadness and depression. Soon after, she developed Alzheimer’s and dementia. Not much research had been done about these diseases at the time, so Dr. Bonner saw few options other than to send his wife to Central State.

After visiting Special Collections, I chose to dive deeper into some letters sent to Dr. Bonner just after Mrs. Bonner was placed at Central State. The letters come from three friends of the Bonners, two men and one woman, each offering their condolences on Mrs. Bonner’s affliction. How his friends corresponded about his wife’s commital to Central State and the underlying mental health issues that precipitated this event is fascinating. Continue reading “How Two Men and and a Woman broached the topic of Mental Illness Differently in their Correspondence”

Baseball at Georgia College – The 1970s vs. Today

Jake Newton is a student in Holly’s GC1Y, The History of Georgia College, this semester. This is his Historical Object Analysis submission.

Baseball has always been one of America’s favorite past times. Since the early 1970s, it has also been one of the many sports at Georgia College that has provided entertainment and historical value to this campus.

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Georgia College is represented by the colors green and blue today. However, this has not always been the case. In the beginning of the baseball program’s history, Georgia College was well known for their colors being brown and gold. The baseball team had brown and gold uniforms with word “Colonials” on the jersey. This color combination was temporarily changed to become blue and white in the mid 1970s, but returned to brown and gold in the 1980s. The colors changed one last time in 1997 to the colors we use today, blue and green. Not only were our colors different in the 1970s through mid-1990s, even the school’s mascot and name were different. Before the Bobcats, we were known as the Colonials. The mascot, colors, and name all changed when we became Georgia College and State University, the state’s designated public liberal arts university.

Continue reading “Baseball at Georgia College – The 1970s vs. Today”

The Skill and Energy of The Woodchopper’s Ball

Bryan Irlbeck is a student in Holly’s GC1Y, The History of Georgia College, this semester. This is his Historical Object Analysis submission. You can catch the Jazz Band in concert tomorrow night and Friday night in Russell Auditorium.

Ever since I enrolled at Georgia College, I was interested in how well the Music Department paid tribute to the genre of jazz, a quite good but dying type of music. I was happy to see during a concert that they had put together quite a solid jazz band. This led me to thinking about how their past jazz groups sounded up on stage though, so I looked into it at the library. The Special Collections Department was very helpful in locating the exact material I was looking for, and within about 2 minutes I was handed an album recorded by their jazz band from 2009. The album looked authentic and was just what I was looking for.

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Continue reading “The Skill and Energy of The Woodchopper’s Ball”

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.

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[Photograph]. (2018, September 17). https://www.facebook.com/The.Annoying.Bird/.

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?”

The Wait is Over: Andalusia Re-opens – with Items from Special Collections

August 9th, 2017 went down in Georgia College history with the formal gifting of Andalusia to the college from the foundation running the house. It makes this the fourth historic property listed in the National Register of Historic Places that the GCSU Foundation now owns. Others include The Old Governor’s Mansion and Atkinson Hall. The Milledgeville Historic district, which encompasses much of the college, received national register status in 1972. Since the gifting of the property, Andalusia has been closed for restoration. Matt Davis, the director of Historic Museums for Georgia College, and his staff have restored Andalusia to the mid-20th century style home in which Flannery O’Connor lived and wrote. They want visitors to not only get a better understanding of Flannery’s influences and farm life, but also feel like they are a part of that time period as well. The plans include much more than preserving and restoring the buildings. There is also discussion of additions, such as a visitor center and an education building close to the farm’s entrance.

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Flannery O’Connor’s bedroom featuring items that belong to Special Collections

Continue reading “The Wait is Over: Andalusia Re-opens – with Items from Special Collections”

Working with the Community to Capture Oral Histories

The oral history collection at Georgia College has been around for many years, but it is a little hard to locate as it is really not one collection, but a bunch of smaller collections. Further, outside of Dr. Mary Magoulick’s GC2Y course, no oral histories of community members have been added to Special Collections’ holdings in years. Many people miss that these are available, since the transcripts and recordings are not available online.

Last fall, Catherine and I worked with a collection called Tales from the Back Stoop, digitizing the files on tapes and transferring them to DuraCloud storage, which is our cloud-based “dark archive.” A dark archive means that this is where we store preservation copies of files online. In an archive, digital files often have an access copy, which is the one patrons use, and a preservation copy, which is largely unused in hopes that it will have less degradation over time. Eventually, we will provide an access copy of all of the Tales from the Back Stoop files on the library’s website.

Tales from the Back Stoop was created over a decade ago by several members of the local community who interviewed other community members and then turned those memories into a play. Some of those newly-digitized oral histories were used in a video for the Office of Inclusive Excellence’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast. From that exposure, there was renewed interest in the Tales from the Back Stoop project, particularly in forming a new group of community members that would focus on interviewing members of the African-American community in Milledgeville. The new project would consist of setting up interviews and asking the interviewees not only their opinions on how the city of Milledgeville and the world have changed over the years, but also have them discuss specific events that have not been captured in traditional news sources, like the city’s paper. Since many of the target interviewees are at an older age, the task to update the collection must be done in a timely manner.

The Other America from Joe Windish on Vimeo. Continue reading “Working with the Community to Capture Oral Histories”