Wednesday, March 30, 2011

30 March 1909: Bludwine Flows to the Pacific

On this day in 1909, the Athens Banner ran the following story:

Bludwine was the 1894 creation of Henry Claude Anderson of Oconee County and "a chemist friend" who developed the formula for a cherry-flavored drink that would be considered a healthy "food drink." Anderson originally wanted to call the product "G.D." for "good digestion," but settled on "Bludwine" and focused advertising on the drink's use as a blood tonic and digestive. The drink was "made principally from wheat, oats, lemons, oranges, ginger, peppermint, and grapes," and used the slogan "For Your Health's Sake." 

Anderson was active in the temperance and prohibition movements at the time, and wanted to produce "a non-alcoholic food drink with enough 'ginger' to make it invigorating, and with a pungency and flavor that would tempt the tippler and the toper to leave their toddy in perference for a drink that was more delicious and more wholesome." However, after prohibition was enacted in Georgia in 1908, finding whiskey-laced Bludwine in the glasses of public drunks was not an unusual circumstance.

At the time of this story about contracts in Hawaii, the company was still privately held. The following year, Anderson would incorporate with capital stock of $100,000, equal to $2,330,000 in today's dollars. By 1917, Anderson had 100 bottling plants in 26 states. After the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was passed, health claims could not be made without proof on labels. The company had to change its name to "Budwine" to remove reference to "blood." Its slogan changed to "Makes You Glad You're Thirsty," to remove health claims.

In 1929, the Anderson family sold the company to Joseph Costa, a member of the family behind Costa's ice cream parlor, an Athens institution since 1908. Business continued to dwindle, and by 1969, Budwine was only available locally in Athens. The company officially closed in the 1980s.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Get Your Newsletters!

On this day, we'd like to remind you to subscribe to our two Heritage Room newsletters. They will be delivered to your email Inbox, and are a great way to keep up with genealogy and history throughout the year.

Our Genealogy and History Events newsletter covers everything from historical programs at Andersonville Historic Site and quilt displays at the Macon Cherry Blossom Festival to free lectures about Lafayette in Georiga and using U.S. Serial Sets and other government documents. Our area has many fantastic educational and research opportunities, and we also let you know about distance learning opportunities with webinars and online courses provided by other historical and genealogical societies.

Our Genealogy Tips and News newsletter makes sure you will not miss out on newly available resources and discoveries. With information and links to using Second Life for genealogy research and how to write a family history to details about how to safely remove photographs from magnetic photo albums, we make sure you know what is new, what is available, and what can be helpful for the family researcher.

Click here (or either of the above newletter links) to read the current newsletter and subscribe to have them delivered. It couldn't be easier, and is a great time saver, so sign up today!

Friday, March 25, 2011

25 March 1918: "Make a Date with Cleopatra"

On this day in 1918, the Colonial Theatre on Washington Street began a three-day run of the silent film "Super-Production" Cleopatra:

The star of the film, Theda Bara, was a box office draw similar to Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin at the time. She was the first "vamp," and her movies established Fox Studios. Many of her previous films had been subject to bans and censorship by state morality boards; the state of Georgia banned her movie Sin in 1915. Though far more revealing than her previous productions, Cleopatra was given a pass by most state boards due to its "historical" nature.

The Colonial Theatre sat between the First Baptist Church and the back of the Davis-Nicholson department store, across the street from the Georgian Hotel, where the Boar's Head Lounge and Paine Insurance Company are located today.

Originally built as the Opera House in 1886 with seating for 1,006 patrons, it had a large canvas fire curtain that ran the length of the stage with ads for local businesses painted in circles along the bottom.  In front of the stage was an orchestra pit, and usually at least a pianist to accompany performances.

In 1906, the theatre was remodeled to include additional seats and red velvet curtains to frame the fire curtain. There were two levels of ground seats, and two levels of balcony seating, and later, a Wurlitzer organ replaced the piano in the orchestra pit. They showed both movies and live plays by traveling national shows and local performances by glee clubs, and other organizations.

The Depression hit the entertainment industry with fewer shows coming to town, and fewer people able to afford ticket prices. In March, 1932, the balconies collapsed inside the theatre, and it was demolished later that year.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

22 March 1904: Free Cake for the Ladies

On this day in 1904, the
Athens Banner ran this announcement from local ice cream vendor, W. D. Bowden:

The cake was part of a promotion by Gold Leaf Flour. Over the course of the week, in a newly vacated office on the corner of College Avenue and Broad Street, the Cape County Milling Company of Jackson, Missouri, would be holding blind comparisons of flour brands and flour demonstrations to show bread made of their product was "whiter than any flour manufactured. Comparisons and investigation solicited." 

The company also offered to add to their exhibit any locally produced bread made with their flour, and distributed free slices of "Aunt Laura Billups cake" and coffee to those who attended, noting that  "Ladies are requested to bring their friends."

The Cape County Milling Company went out of business in 1953, but the mill is now a Missouri state park.

W. D. Bowden is listed in the 1904 Athens City Directory as an ice cream manufacturer, though he was also active in real estate. Bowden did not have his own store, so likely sold his products to the many cafes, department store lunch counters, diners, and local grocery stores in Athens and surrounding areas. He lived in Athens until his death in 1920, and is buried at Oconee Hill Cemetery.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

19 March 1914: "Want a Baby?"

On this day in 1914, the Athens Banner asked the following question of its readership:

The baby was the daughter of Mrs. Nancy Rosser, 19, who had died not long after giving birth. She was buried at Oconee Hill Cemetery on March 18th, 1914, in a lot owned by her aunt, Mrs. Temperance Parks. She is buried near her cousin, Cleaveland Levrett, who died at age 17 in 1911, and her grandmother, Rebecca Burns, who died at age 90 in 1912.

In June, the Banner ran a story about Mrs. Parks' attempt to gain custody of her niece's baby, by then called Ethel Luena by the hospital staff and "the young women of the neighborhood" who devoted time and care to her, and held the sleeping infant during the court proceeding. According to reports from the court, Mrs. Parks had gone to claim the child from the hospital and was turned away by the head nurse, who Mrs. Parks believed was planning to take the baby out of state. 

The attorneys for the head nurse admitted that Mrs. Parks was a blood relative of the child, and that the head nurse had denied Mrs. Parks custody. Their argument was that "for the health, the care, the progress and general food of the little one," Ethel Luena would be better off in an orphanage. There were no orphanages in Athens, so the child would be sent to another town that would have a place for her. Augusta, Hapeville, and Macon all had orphanages that took girls at this time.

The newspaper noted that Mrs. Parks lived near the Southern Mill, which indicates she and her husband were not wealthy people. Judge Charles Brand presided over the case, and ruled in favor of the head nurse, Miss Elizabeth Slaughter. 

The fate of the child is unknown, but by 1921, Mrs. Parks had left Athens and moved to Macon.  She appears as a patient at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville in the 1930 U.S. Census, and though she has a joint marker with her son at Oconee Hill Cemetery, she is not buried on the lot he shares with his cousin and grandmother.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

16 March 1900: "An Athens Lady" Publishes "An Interesting Work"

On this day in 1900, the
Weekly Banner ran the following story: 

An early report about the book in 1893 noted that "it is pronounced by professors and literary persons who have read chapters from it to be full and concise and meritorious in all respects." Miss Mitchell's research for Georgia Land and People is part of the William Letcher Mitchell Papers, 1823-1929 collection held at the University of North Carolina library. 

Frances Letcher Mitchell lived another 27 years after her book was published; in 1902 it was one of the items placed in the cornerstone of the Winnie Davis Hall building on the State Normal School campus. She died in 1927 after a long suffering illness. In her obituary, her book was said to be "notable for its charming style, historic value, and high patriotic feeling." She is buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery.

Several publishers offer reproductions of the original text through major book retailers, and  Barnes and Noble even offers a free e-book version for their Nook e-reader. Other free digital formats (ePub, PDF, Kindle, Daisy, Djvu) of Georgia Lands and People can be found through the Internet Archives. Georgia Land and People is also, of course, available in the Heritage Room.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

The History & Genealogy Expo Is March 19th!

On this day, we'd like to remind everyone that the Clarke-Oconee Genealogical Society is hosting their annual History & Genealogy Expo this Saturday, March 19th, from 10am to 4pm. This year the Expo will take place at the Fellowship Hall at Campus View Church of Christ at 1360 South Lumpkin Street in Athens, across the street from the UGA track.

The schedule of activities includes: 
  • 10:30am-11:30am: General session showing to use "Ask Granny" pedigree charts to collect family information.
  • 10:30am-12:30pm: Dr. Robert Nix will be available to help you identify and find information in your old family photographs.
  • 11:00am-12:00pm: Donald Summerlin will discuss the Digital Library of Georgia's historic newspapers collections.
  • 1:00pm-2:00pm: Jim Morgenthaler will discuss Restoring Old Photographs.
  • 1:30pm-3:00pm: How to use the "Ask Granny" pedigree charts with seniors to help them recall family information and stories.
  • 3:00pm-4:00pm: Harold Lawrence spaks on Using Church Records for family history research.
There will be lineage and/or historical societies from Clarke, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Morgan, and Elbert counties, as well as several book publishers, including Mary Warren's Heritage Papers and Southern Historical Press from Greenville, SC. Many of the historical societies will also have their books available for purchase.

The Expo is free and open to the public--you don't want to miss it!

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    11 March 1913: "Movie" of UGA Pushball Game Seen Around the World

    On this day in 1913, the Athens Banner reported that a film of the second annual Freshman-Sophomore Pushball game would be included in Universal's Animated Weekly newsreel features:

    The Lyric was a nickelodeon in the store front now occupied by Walker's Coffee and Pub. They showed short silent filmstrips all day, and featured occasional live evening entertainment, at a cost of five or ten cents per show. Among the more popular films at nickelodeons were filmed athletic events, especially boxing matches. 

    According to reports in the Red and Black, the manager for the Lyric theatre had taken several films of various athletic events on campus that year, and that "the University students appreciate Mr. Posey's interest in taking these films and are showing their appreciation by a constant attendance at his interesting productions." 

    The Banner's original announcement of the film's inclusion in the Animated Weekly stated, "A bit of advertising that Athens and the University of Georgia will get next month will be by way of the 'movies.'"  The clip film featuring the Georgia game was distributed internationally to over 100 theatres.

    The pushball game was a contest between the freshman and sophomore classes to determine which class would get to have a spring banquet. In the past, both classes would schedule a banquet, but it became a contest to see which class had their banquet most disrupted by the other. After the hijinks of spring 1911, where class members were kidnapped from trains en route to secret banquet locations, local citizens insisted on obnoxious behavior on the part of the students. A pushball contest was offered to the classes by Dr. S. V. Sanford, "to confine their activites within reasonable limits." 

    Pushball was becoming a nation-wide popular college activity in the early part of the twentieth century. The game was played on a football field, with teams of 11 players per side. To score, a team must "shove the ball under and between the cross bars [sic] of the goal post [sic]" to earn five points, and over the crossbar to earn eight points. If the ball only made it half-way over the goal, the team still earned two points. 

    Dr. Sanford requested that the game be divided into four quarters, rather than two halves, so new teams were fielded for each quarter. Total enrollment at the university in 1913 was just 682, so this division meant most of each class would get a chance to prove themselves on the field.

    The 1913 game went to the Sophomore class, and those who had participated in the contest paid only 30 cents toward their March banquet; those who skipped the game were charged a dollar fee. Later in the month, they were able to go to the Lyric to watch their victory on Universal's Animated Weekly newsreel #52, that also featured the inaugural parade for Woodrow Wilson and scenes from the Mexican civil war.

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    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Be Savvy about Your Online Genealogy Research

    On this day, we'd like to encourage you to sign up for the Heritage Room's free class, Genealogy on the Internet, on Thursday, March 17th, from 10am-1pm here in the library's Educational Technology Center.

    This class introduces the many and growing resources for researching your family history online, and includes handouts that provide descriptions of the various sites available and their offerings. Time to explore on your own and ask questions is provided in the last part of the session. These resources are not limited to Georgia, or even to the United States. This class is not intended for beginners in computers or genealogy.

    The class is free, but space is limited, so registration is required. Call us at (706) 613-3650, ext. 350, or email us at to reserve your space. We hope to see you there!

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    7 March 1951: Robert Frost Speaks at UGA Chapel

    On this day in 1951, at 11 o'clock in the morning, Pulitzer prize-winning poet Robert Frost spoke to an overflowing crowd of students and faculty at the University of Georgia Chapel. This visit to the campus, Frost's seventh in as many years according to the Athens Banner-Herald, was part of the University's Sesquicentennial lecture series.

    Frost was introduced by Hugh Hodgson, then head of the UGA music department. In his lecture, Frost pointed out that "books played a dominant role" for "every profession and science," and yet he believed colleges were neglecting such basics in the instruction of their students. He also read several poems, including Birches, Mending Wall, and Death of the Hired Man.

    After the lecture, the Red and Black student newspaper, then a weekly, ran an editorial asking "why such dignitaries should be forced to speak in the cramped quarters of the Chapel while the Fine Arts auditorium is not in use."  The paper cited "countless students turned away in disgust" in January from an overcrowded Chapel lecture by Atlanta journalist Jack Tarver as evidence of the on-going problem. 

    For Frost's lecture, they noted that of the mere handful of students able to fit  into the building that morning, many could not see Frost as they were positioned behind columns and just outside the doorways. The editorial ended with a warning that students would lose interest in these events "because they know seats will be virtually unattainable." However, speakers continued to be scheduled for the Chapel and artistic performances in the Fine Arts auditorium for the rest of the Sesquicentennial Year.

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    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    5 March 1954: Ham and Eggs Show!

    On this day in 1954, the Seventh Annual Ham and Egg Show distributed awards at the Union Institute on the corner of Pope and Baxter Streets to competitors from Clarke, Oconee, and Madison counties. Athens and Hull dominated the proceedings.

    First place overall winners were Tom Neely of Athens for Ham and Emma Lee Smith of Hull for Eggs. The 4-H Club Premium List student winners were Tom Neely of Athens for Ham, Benjamin Smith of Hull for Side, Betty J. Moore of Athens for Shoulder, and Robert L. Sheats of Athens for Eggs. Adult Premium List winners were C. G. Griffith of Hull for Ham, Valley Turner of Athens for Shoulder, Amos Smith of Hull for Side, and Emma L. Smith for Eggs. The first prize for Canned By-Products went to Corene Smith of Hull.

    A total of 72 families entered 93 dozen eggs, 108 pieces of meat, and 36 canned by-products into the competition. There were adult and student prize categories, including a 4-H Club Premium list of winners for students. Prizes were donated by local businesses, but were not specified in the newspaper report. According to the University of Georgia extension agent for black Clarke County residents, Lloyd C. Trawick, the show had been the best yet for the three communities. 

    The host of the two-day competition, the Union Institute, started life as the Jeruel Academy in 1881, a private school for African-American students that was supported by several rural churches. The co-ed institution had both resident and day students, and offered college preparatory, theology, industrial, and music instruction. They also had an intense football rivalry with the Knox Institute, the first African-American school in Athens. In 1886, the Jeruel Academy/Union Institute moved into their location at the corner of Pope and Baxter Streets, and would stay until the school's closing in 1956.

    The Union Institute had hosted an Annual Farmers' Conference Course for Instruction for black farmers for nearly 40 years, featuring such speakers as University of Georgia Chancellor David C. Barrow and Dr. George Washington Carver. The goal of the conference was to educate black farmers about the latest practices in agriculture, and keep them aware of, and supporting, the work of the school.

    Ham and Egg Shows began in 1916 when Otis Samuel O'Neal, the UGA county extension agent for Houston county's black farmers, was looking for a way to increase hog and poultry production amongst the residents in his district. The first show was simply called "The Ham Show," and featured 39 hams and 17 dozen eggs. In 1979, Fort Valley State University named their new veterinary medicine building after O'Neal. 

    Today, only the Lowndes County Extension Service office still has Ham and Egg Shows, with entries of 46 cured hams and 40 dozen eggs in 2011. The show includes an auction for the winning items, with some hams selling for $25 per pound.

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    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    2 March 1882: A Page in the Life of Athens

    On this day, and many others, the
    Southern Watchman devoted the most of their third page of the newspaper to bits of news that either did not merit or had not been pursued as full news stories. 

    Each column would often begin with short, one-sentence pieces that seemed more like small talk than news, then expand to editorial opinions, sarcastic quips about conditions or people in town, and, at times, corrections to stories previously run in the newspaper.

    The first column of the page was called "Personal Mention," and devoted to what would later be published in other local papers as "Society Notes" or "News of Interest to the Ladies," and consisted of mostly gossip and the various travels and health situations of locals:

    Holman thinks he has the swinney.
    Prof. White has the prettiest team in the city.
    Major Miller Lumpkin reached Athens this week and is sick.
    Hon. H. H. Carlton has returned from a trip to Atlanta.
    Joe Hodgson has a six months boy that weighs 25 pounds.
    Mrs. Crawford Long has one of the handsomest homes in Athens.
    A highly aesthete whisky-poker club has been organized in Athens.
    Miss Emma Mell will assist Mrs. Crawford with her school.
    Ed Potter can look in a chicken's mouth and tell its age to a day. 
    A Hancock avenue belle will be the next victim to Cupid, so Madam Rumor says.
    Miss America Carlton has returned from a pleasant visit to friends in Oglethorpe.
    Policeman Arnold, the boys say, arrested a little contraband for appearing on the street with her shoes unbuttoned.
    Frank Rhodes says he is thinking seriously of joining the church. When Frank reforms the devil will go into bankruptcy.
    Tom Hampton gets excited every time a pretty girl enters his store and has been known to tie up a gallon of molasses in a paper sack and put a dollars' worth of sugar in a jug.
    Policeman Pierson's mustach [sic} looks like some fellow had just "hollered" boo! and woke it up; while Ben Culp reminds us of a man who suffers with hereditary nightmare.

    The second column was "A Bird's-Eye View of the City," and covered more general topics:

    Mule trade lively.
    Flower garden work progresseth slowly.
    Athens needs about 1,000,000 pounds of paint.
    The twittering of the blue bird is heard in the land.
    A number of new buildings are contracted for in Cobbham.
    Our Jewish friends have a large and flourishing Sabbath-school.
    The Athens Foundry has four new apprentices. This is a fine business.
    Brooklyn, a large colored village near the city, speaks of incorporating.
    A number of our citizens have contracted for windmills, to pump water.
    We have engaged the services of a first-class society editor, young ladies.
    Col. Huggins says with $10,000 he will build a street railroad in Athens.
    Mr. Gleason died at the house of his sister, and not in jail, as reported to us.
    The students from the Agricultural College ought to pay frequent visits to Mr. Meeker's farm.
    Manager Jones has lost money on the Opera House this season, which is a reflection on Athens.
    An Athens gentleman is working on some Northern capitalists to get them to build another factory in or near our city.
    What policeman was it that the other night listened for two hours to water dripping on a tin roof, under the impression that he had found a burglar?

    The next three columns were short items that each had a short headline: 

    Our police force have been for several days working up a highly interesting and sensational case, but they want it suppressed until the affair ripens.
    This work was completed last week and is pronounced one of the best in the county. Its cost is about $3,900. King, the builder, has a contract to build another bridge in Fulton county.
    The roads leading to Athens are badly cut up, and it is almost impossible for wagons to travel them. Farmers are getting short of supplies and unless the weather breaks starvation will stare some sections in the face.
    There was called a meeting of Council Monday evening to take some action in regard to the Oconee Cemetery; but owing to the absence of the Mayor no official action was taken. Council will doubtless take charge of this cemetery, and elect a regular keeper.
    We are happy to announce that Mrs. Julius Cohen, who has been very low for some time, is somewhat better at last accounts.
    It seems like the very floodgates of heaven have been raised this winter. There has been almost continuous rainfall since Christmas, with very few clear days. It is injurious to business and ruinous to our farmers, who have no opportunity to break or prepare their lands.
    We never knew money matters so tight. The bad roads have quarantined our trade, and even some of our best men find it hard to collect enough to meet their monthly bills. There seems now, however, to be a break in the weather, and if it will only stay clear for a few days our streets will be filled with wagons and the blockade raised.
    R. H. LAMPKIN.
    In connection with his first-class bar Mr. R. H. Lampkin has opened a fine restaurant and has also nice beds for his patrons. This is the best equipped bar in the city, and only the purest liquors sold. The old Gibson rye and Maxey's corn specialties. His rooms have just been newly furnished, and the public will be well cared for. Now don't forget the place. The only ten-pin alley in the city.
    There is no disguising the fact that there is great want and destitution in our midst. Not only many blacks, but even some whites, are actually suffering for the necessaries of life. Owing to the wretched weather they could not get work, and both their money and credit are gone. A gentleman remarked to us the other day that he had a load of wood thrown off at his door, and in less than an hour had seventeen applications to cut it up. And yet hundreds of negroes leave the farms to seek employment in the city.
    On Monday last an unbroken schedule went into effect, extending over the Northeastern Railroad to Clarkesville. There is no change of cars between Athens and that point. This shows that the R. & D. intends to act in good faith toward our city and our people are joyous.

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