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…
How did the check go unnoticed for so long? Its been nearly 4 decades!
Did the check writer ever realize nearly $2,000 never left his/her’s bank account?
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!
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.
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!
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”→
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.
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”→
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”→
What do you get when you mix an uncensored, sexually exploitative art show put on by Georgia College and State University’s Art Department with a cacophony of performance reactions and concerns?
You get “Mexotica.”
In 2004, an art show put on by performance artist and writer Guillermo Gomez-Pena and a number of volunteers, in conjunction with the school’s Art Department, was held in Russell Auditorium. The reactions erupted discussion that travels the entire spectrum.
Gomez-Pena works in a number of artistic mediums exploring cross-cultural issues, immigration, and the politics of language. His mixing and blending of genres and art forms, of truth and fiction, seeks to create a “total experience” for the viewer/reader. He is the creator of La Pocha Nostra–an online collaborative art laboratory for performance artists to link up and connect with other rebel artists. Its main function is to destroy borders separating people by race, gender, and other cultural differences. La Pocha Nostra’s mission statement is “to provide a base for a loose network of rebel artists from various disciplines, generations, and ethnic backgrounds.” The term is meant to represent Mexican empowerment, to praise abnormality and indecency. Click on this interview for Guillermo’s detailed explanation of where the name originates.
The school’s Colonnade featured several articles of audience reaction following the performance. President Dorothy P. Leland, who was newly appointed president at the time, is quoted in the articles. Mexotica was the first visual arts performance she attended at GCSU, and what a way to acclimate her to the fine arts within the university. Gomez-Pena allowed students the freedom to wear and perform what they wanted, and I think that’s one of the most important takeaways in all of this. Performance is about trusting other artists. One student told The Colonnade that she felt like she was in the red light district; others felt it was fuel to confront issues regarding sexual exploitation. Continue reading “Mexotic-huh?”→
Note: This is the final part of a three part series on the day to day administration and life of Georgia Normal & Industrial College students from 1890 to 1930. Find part one here and part two here.
“We don’t need no education…”
“School’s out forever…”
While housing and fashion are the somewhat more glamorous parts of college, today we’re here to talk about the respected and resented, controversial topic of rules and regulations. Girls at Georgia Normal & Industrial College had more than just the Student Judicial Board and Honor Code to worry about while out and about in Milledgeville. These girls were held to a high standard, as former President John Harris Chappell, and later President Marvin M. Parks, expected them to abide by a code of conduct that would probably impede even the most rule-abiding student among us today.
To examine these particular codes of conduct, I initially turned to what has become my favorite resource – A Centennial History of Georgia College. (The name has gotten familiar enough that I feel like I don’t even have to write out the full name anymore, but here you are.) And if you’ve ever wondered why historians rely so heavily on prospectuses from 1891 to 1924, here’s your answer: the main building of the G.N. & I.C. campus burned in 1924, sending all administrative records up in smoke. What have we got to go on, then? Prospectuses, photographs, and personal histories recorded in memorabilia.
At this point, it is important to note that the ages of G.N. & I.C. students was much different than Georgia College students today. Students during this era ranged in age from 16 to 20, with preference given to younger girls rather than older. This differs wildly from the 17-22 year old age range on campus today. Younger students in the 1890s meant that Chappell took his role of “in loco parentis” very seriously, leading to his autocratic reign as president. Chappell was absolute in his enforcement of rules on his students, going so far as to admonish parents of students for breaking them, and asking them to avoid sending their young daughters to the school if they were not willing to play by his rules. However, there were also pockets of delightful resistance, of which I hope to highlight.Continue reading ““The game ain’t worth winning if you’re breaking all the rules:” G.N. & I.C.’s own Crime & Punishment, or Rules and Regulations of the Founding Years (1890-1924)”→