Scrapbooking Vs. Archiving

Miranda Campbell is one of our Graduate Assistants in Special Collections this year. She holds a B.A. in Film–Cinema Studies from University of Central Florida and is a first year graduate student in Georgia College’s M.F.A. program.

Aimlessly searching through our Special Collections archives, I discovered a compilation of scrapbooks associated with the school, scrapbooks that have been donated through the years and have fallen under the many name changes the school has had: Georgia Normal and Industrial College, Georgia State College for Women, Georgia College at Milledgeville, etc.

Flipping through these scrapbooks I started to realize that it sort of felt the same as the project I’d been tackling at work for the past couple weeks. Mikaela and I—Special Collections’ other graduate assistant—had been given the task of re-appraising and re-processing the entire collection of Dr. James Calvin Bonner, a notable figure of Georgia College responsible for heading the History Department for twenty five years. Bonner was Chairman of the Department of History and Political Science from 1943 to 1969, a time when the school was known as G.S.C.W.

In short, re-processing is the sifting through and sorting of archival letters, photos, manuscripts, what we’ve been donated, etc., and ordering it in a way that is accessible for researchers interested in the collection, through which we create a finding aid. We seemed to have fallen down a rabbit hole with this collection, as it has taken up the better portion of our work time for the past three weeks.

Most recently in the Bonner collection we’ve stumbled upon what at first looked like a bottomless box filled with photographs, but what we quickly realized were collections of thoughtfully placed photographs that Bonner himself glued on single sheets of paper. We then imagined he stuck these pages in binders since the papers have the mark of three ringed holes on the left hand side. In figuring out where to home this newly processed box – if it should be its own series or be absorbed into another – we learned that Bonner called these notebooks, though most of the pages are comprised as photos with captions and other paper stubs that match or add to the material. We continued along this new label called “Local History Notebooks,” however, it got me thinking how the pages were so similar to the resemblance and style of a scrapbook.  This started another rabbit hole in an infinite amount of rabbit holes and conundrums that make Special Collections the special place it is, and is the train of thought that inspired this post! (And how fitting that it is American Archives Month!) Finding these radically different scrapbooks that serve as a magnifying glass laid over the years at this university, the different name changes its endured, made me realize that scrapbooking is a lot like archiving, just a little more fun. It’s archiving with a part hat on. Continue reading “Scrapbooking Vs. Archiving”

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All the News, All the Time: Alternative Presses at Georgia College

Mikaela LaFave is one of our Graduate Assistants in Special Collections this year. She holds a B.A. in English from Georgia College and is now a first year student in the department’s masters program.

For anyone coming of age in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, the words counter culture, underground newspaper, and zine may have an almost mythic status. For those of us born a little to late, here’s a refresher course. An underground newspaper was a form of publication popular in the 60s and 70s in major North American cities and were a group of loosely related, radicalized newspapers. While the term underground is a bit of a misnomer (these newspapers published openly), they deliberately flaunted the social conventions of the day and called for revolutionary overthrow. Georgia had its own underground newspaper called The Great Speckled Bird, which published from 1968 to 1976, that you can find digitized from Georgia State University. The Bird, as it’s commonly styled, was an advocate for both national and local change in the city of Atlanta. Zines were another popular form of spreading news untouched by traditional media. Short for “fanzine,” zines existed as a means of self-expression for those unable to publish in the mainstream. Both of these methods provided an outlet for those from the 60s to the 90s who felt that their voice needed to be heard.

What might surprise you is that a little slice of the counter culture has made it to Milledgeville through self proclaimed alternative presses of the 1990s and into the present! Today, we will be taking a look at the different publications of the Georgia College student body; whether interested in spreading news not published elsewhere, provide another outlet for students to express themselves, or simply find a candidate to place on the ballot for Mayor of Milledgeville in the 90s, alternative presses have had a varied history in our town of literary fame.

We’ll first take a trip back the the 90s, when most of our current students at the college were just being born and flannel was the hottest trend. Starting in 1993 and running until 1995, students were able to pick up a copy of the Mooncalf Press, available at bars downtown – some still there, like the Brick, and others that have disappeared in favor of the changing downtown scene. Styling itself as an underground newspaper, as well as a zine, Mooncalf allowed its contributors to muse about life in Milledgeville around the growing alternative music and culture scene of the 90s. Continue reading “All the News, All the Time: Alternative Presses at Georgia College”