Saturday, April 30, 2011

30 April 1919: Cigarette Ad Includes Endorsement from a Medical Journal

On this day in 1919, the Athens Banner included this large advertisement:

(click image to enlarge)
Sweet Caporal cigarettes also distributed collectible cards, pins, and domino discs with each package of cigarettes, primarily featuring baseball players and other athletes, but also bass, birds, flags, cartoons, or actresses as well. Many of these cards can currently be found on memorabilia and auction websites.

Flavored cigarettes were banned in the United States as of 22 September 2009, as part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (pdf). Plain Sweet Caporal cigarettes are still manufactured today by Imperial Tobacco Canada.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

27 April 1905: Frightening Accident at the Cemetery

On this day in 1905, the following story ran on the front page of the Athens Banner:

Miss Susie Gerdine Badly Hurt Yesterday by Her Horse Falling at Cemetery.

     Yesterday afternoon about seven o'clock Miss Susie Gerdine sustained painful and serious injuries in Oconee cemetery, while riding her horse across teh river bridge.
     The horse wanted to come back towards the city and Miss Gerdine wanted to cross into the new part of the cemetery.
     In attempting to make the horse cross the bridge the animal became unmanageable and reared on its haunches. Miss Gerdine slipped from the horse's back and the animal fell across her body.
     Mr. Edward Bancroft was near by [sic] and went to her assistance and in a moment several ladies were present. She was carried to the residence of Mr. J. H. Bisson and as soon as possible Dr. Carlton was summoned. It was deemed advisable to remove her in her home on Hancock avenue. This was done and as soon as she reached home, the physician made a careful examination of her injuries.
     Below her waist she had no use of her body for several hours, and the indications are that she is suffering from a severe shock to the spine.
     Late last night Miss Gerdine had partly recovered the use of one side of her body.
Athens Banner, 27 April 1905, p. 1, col. 5

Miss Susie Gerdine was, at the time, a teacher in the Athens city schools and a charter member of the Athens chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Her accident occured on Confederate Memorial Day, April 26th, where there were commemorations at Oconee Hill Cemetery for the veterans of the war buried there.

The next news of Miss Gerdine in the Athens papers comes on 3 May 1905, as part of the Society page, simply noting that "Miss Susie Gerdine is very much better." 

In 1908, Miss Gerdine was hired with Anne Wallis Brumby to be co-principals for a three-year term of the Lucy Cobb Institute, of which both women were alumnae. The women gave academics at Lucy Cobb Institute an upgrade, requiring math and Latin in order to graduate with a diploma, though other special certificates of completion were offered for those focusing on music or other areas. Those given demerits had to memorize long stanzas of poetry, with Miss Gerdine picking a different poet each year. They also introduced basketball to the school, and encouraged both mental and physical fitness in their students.

In 1916, Anne Brumby decided to resign as co-principal, and Susie Gerdine chose to follow her lead rather than give up teaching in order to handle the demands of running a large school alone. In June, 1919, they would both be part of the first class of women to graduate from the University of Georgia while continuing to teach at Lucy Cobb.

"Miss Susie," as she was known to the students, taught history, physics, and swimming until 1931, and "was universally admired" by her students. It was Miss Susie who would preview movies when they came to town, and, if deemed appropriate for her students, would then chaperone them on their walk downtown to and from the theatre in two straight lines on the sidewalk. Decades later, her students would remember her as "our favorite" and "the best teacher I ever had...(she) made history live then and it continues to live for me now,"  and that her classes "made the past and its people real."

Miss Susie Gerdine died on 8 October 1932, at the age of 59. She is buried with her family in Oconee Hill Cemetery.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Don't Forget Our 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. Now that the sequicentennial of the Civil War has begun, there are more and more opportunities you don't want to miss.

Our Genealogy and History Events newsletter covers everything from cemetery tours to book repair sessions and classes for everything from how to do genealogical research to how to make ancient tools and weaponry. 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 new obituary collections, how to register for Atlanta History Center summer camp, new resources available online on, and even an Historic Markers of Georgia app from Georgia Historical Society, we make sure you know what is new, what is available, and what can be helpful for the family researcher and historian.

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!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

21 April 1869: Power and Potential of Water in Athens

On this day in 1869, the Southern Watchman published this inventory of horse power availalbe in the Athens area:

Water Power in and Around Athens, Ga.
   We are indebted to JAMES D. PITTARD, ESQ., for the following useful information, which we are assured is perfectly reliable: 
     Athens Factory Shoals, Athens, on Oconee River; 200 horse power; 100 in use.
     Georgia Factory Shoals, 4 miles from Athens, on Oconee River; 300 horse power; 125 in use.
     W. A. Carr's Shoals, Athens, on Oconee River; 125 horse power; none in use.
     S. J. Mays' Shoals, 3 miles from Athens, on Oconee River; 150 horse power; none in use.
     Cook's Armory Shoals, Athens, on Trail C'k; 75 horse power; 10 in use.
     Smith's Shoals, 6 miles from Athens, on Oconee River; 100 horse power; none in use.
     Wm. A. Carr's Creek Shoals, Athens; 10 horse power; none in use.
     Elijah Carr's Creek Shoals, one mile from Athens; 25 horse power; none in use.
     Barnett's Shoals, 4 miles from Athens, on Nocatchie Creek; 10 horse power.
     John Saye's Shoals, on Little Sandy Creek; 14 horse power.
     W. P. Talmadge's two Shoals, on Sandy C'k, 4 miles from Athens; 12 and 25 horse power.
     Wm. Patman's Shoals, on Middle Oconee River, 8 miles from Athens; 150 horse power; none in use.
     Fowler's Shoals, on Middle Oconee River, 7 miles from Athens; 200 horse power; none in use.
     Mitchell's Shoals, 4 miles from Athens, on Middle Oconee River; 150 horse power; none in use.
     Epps' Shoals, 2 1/2 miles from Athens, on Middle Oconee River; 90 horse power; none in use.
     Princeton Factory Shoals, 3 miles from Athens, on Middle Oconee River; 400 horse power; 40 in use.
     Simonton's Bridge Shoals, 4 miles from Athens, on Middle Oconee River; 100 horse power; none in use.
     Mar's Hill Factory Shoals, 7 miles from Athens, on Barber's Creek; 50 horse power; none in use.
     Epps' Shoals, on Barber's Creek, 4 1/2 miles from Athens; 50 horse power; none in use.
    Paper Mill Shoals, 4 miles from Athens, on Barber's Creek; 75 horse power; 50 in use.
     Colt's Mill Shoals, 7 miles from Athens, on Big Sandy Creek; 50 horse power, 25 in use.
     Jennings' Mill Shoals, 6 miles from Athens, on McNut's Creek; 30 horse power, 20 in use.
     Epps' Shoals, on McNut's Creek, 3 1/2 miles from Athens; 25 horse power; none in use.
     Barnett's Shoals, on Oconee River, 8 miles from Athens--two Shoals, 500 horse power each; 60 feet fall; none in use.
   It will thus be seen that there is a vast amount of water-power running to waste in the vicinity of this town.
Southern Watchman, 21 April 1869, p. 3, col. 1

James D. Pittard served as Intendant of Athens for two one-year terms, in 1867 and 1868, and was Mayor in 1873. (Athens did not have a mayor until 1872, when the state legislature granted Athens a city charter.)  He died in 1884 after a long illness, and is buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery.

Though still somewhat impoverished by the war, the Athens industry was growing and expanding rapidly throughout the 1860s. By the end of the century, water would power not just the local mills and factories, but would electrify Athens homes, businesses, government, schools, and transportation options.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

19 April 1901: Law Students Thwart Sophomore Class

On this day in 1901, the Weekly Banner recounted this weekend tale of University of Georgia escapades:

Part of the feast was "eaten in darkness" because the Sophomore class did manage to cut the lights to the ballroom during the Freshmen's meal. There is no indication that the Freshmen gave a feast to thank the law students in 1901.

Over the next decade, this type of caper, and the resulting chaos to the businesses and citizenry around it, lead the University to encourage an annual pushball game between the Freshman and Sophomore classes to keep such collegiate antics to a minimum.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

17 April 1900: Unknowable End to Ragtimes v. Neversweats

On this day in 1900, on the Athens Daily Banner's The Personal and The Social section, the following story ran near the bottom of the page:

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Friday, April 15, 2011

15 April 1911: "Our Hats Are Not Freakish."

On this day in 1911, Michael Brothers ran this full-page ad in the Athens Banner:

(click image to enlarge)

The Michael's advertisement sounds odd to our ears, but they are using a more traditional use of the word "freakish," meaning "capricious" or "whimsical." The ad is telling Athens women that Michael Brothers' selection of Easter hats will be good for more than just this one event, this one day--they are a style statement that lasts.

Proper new outfits, and the social stumble a less than appropriate outfit would be, was the common thread in the various clothing stores and millinery shops in Athens in the weeks before Easter Sunday. Both men and women were expected to show up in style at church Easter morning.

Throughout the teens and twenties, men's clothing ads merely indicated that, as you had to have a new suit anyway, you might as well shop with the advertiser. However, an arms war of decorative headwear promises seemed to wage on the pages of the local papers for women, as each business promised to make the most impressive Easter hat, emphasizing the most striking decorations, styles, and statements that could be made by shopping at the right store.

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    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Get Started with Genealogy on April 21st!

    On this day, we'd like to remind you about our Getting Started with Genealogy class on Thursday, April 21st, 2011, from 2-4:30pm in the Heritage Room.

    In this free, informal session, we'll walk you through the basics of researching your family history. The goal is to help you begin the construction of your family tree, and to teach you about the resources available in Athens that will be useful to you. The class includes handouts, and is useful no matter where your relatives originated or later migrated.

    Free and open to the public, but registration is required. Call (706) 613-3650, ext. 350 or email us at to register. We hope to see you here!

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    11 April 1876: "Fine Wines, Whiskies and Brandies, for Medicinal Purposes."

    On this day in 1876, this ad ran at the top of the Southern Banner's back page:

    The  business was owned and operated by Dr. Henry "Hal" Carlton Billups, Dr. H. R. J. Long, and Dr. Crawford W. Long, the discoverer of anesthesia.

    The Longs were brothers who had established their first practice in Athens in 1851. After serving as surgeons for the Confederacy during the war, the three doctors returned to Athens and, once re-establishing their lines of credit with northern pharmaceutical companies, returned to practicing both medicine and pharmacy for the local population in 1866. In 1870, Dr. Crawford's son, Dr. Edward C. Crawford, joined the practice.

    Dr. Crawford Long kept a medical office at the pharmacy, as well as being active managing the retail side of the business. He would typically stop at the store prior to his morning rounds, visiting his patients in their homes. As a retail manager, he expected the staff to exhibit "promptness, neatness, and systematic observances." In the 1870s, the partners added a soda fountain to the business to attract the patronage of college students.

    Much like the modern drugstore, non-medical items were available at Longs & Billups: hygienic items such as brushes and soaps, some sweets, and household goods such as paint and varnishes that would now be found in home improvement stores. 

    The alcohol sold as medicine was common at the time; often the processes for creating an alcoholic beverage would destroy any bacteria, and it became somewhat associated with health. Most patent medicines had approximately 20% alcohol content, but frequently would also contain opiates such as cocaine or heroin. Plain whiskey or brandy was, in such instances, a more gentle medicine.

    In 1877, Dr. Billups left the practice, and the business changed its name to C. W. & E. C. Long. Dr. Crawford Long died in June, 1878.  The firm name then changed to E. C. Long & Co., and by 1880, was doing most of its business in retail and wholesale building supplies for a booming economy.

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    Friday, April 8, 2011

    The Athens Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s: What Can It Tell Us about the Era and America?

    On this day, we'd like to invite you to the library's auditorium on Sunday, April 10th at 3:00pm for a program sponsored by the Athens Historical Society and the Heritage Room.

    Dr. Nancy MacLean, Arts and Sciences professor of History at Duke University and author of Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan will speak about her prize-winning book that uses a rare, surviving cache of internal Klan records in Athens to make new sense of the movement in the context of the changing world of the 1920s.

    In addition to racism and violence, the Klan also wanted to enforce traditional moral codes on the young people of the carefree Jazz Age. With more than 2 million members in chapters in most cities and towns of every state, the Klan dominated the legislatures, police forces, courts, and executive branches at every level. Dr. MacLean will use her Athens research to offer a new understanding of the era and explore some of the enduring patterns of response to economic crisis and social challenge that have resonance for our own time.

    This program is free and open to the public. Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan will be available for sale and signing following the program.  We hope to see you there.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    7 April 1918: Light the Torch of Liberty

    On this day in 1918, the following full-page ad appeared on page 8 of the Athens Banner:

     (click on image to enlarge)

    The third "Liberty Loan" offered $3 billion in bonds at 4.5% interest, and was issued on April 5, 1918. Created to fund the First World War, Secretary of the Treasury W. G. McAdoo had a wide-ranging publicity program. He embarked on an extensive speaking tour, and commissioned  artists such as James Montgomery Flagg, H. C. Christy, Charles Dana Gibson for an aggressively patriotic poster campaign. Secretary McAdoo also hired movie stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and America's Sweetheart, Mary Pickford to tour the country encouraging Americans to purchase bonds.

    Anyone and everyone, including troops of Boy and Girl Scouts, could and were encouraged to sell Liberty Bonds. Ads encouraging the purchasing of bonds were placed by local financial businesses, but also Athens Railway & Electric Company, Martin Brothers Shoe Store, Palmer & Sons drug stores, and the Davison-Nicholson department store. Athens also had a local "Libery Bond Committee," which would promote Liberty Bonds as a patriotic duty before showings of movies or other performances, and sent letters to pastors to read to their congregations, encouraging them to buy bonds to "do your part to stamp out Prussian autocracy."

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    Monday, April 4, 2011

    4 April 1916: "No Other Garment Has So Much Power"

    On this day in 1916, the W. T. Collins & Company clothing store, located at 335 E. Clayton Street, ran this ad to alert female Athenians to the arrival of a professional corsetiere the following Monday:

    Sport corsets were first developed in Paris in 1898, and originally were cut high on the sides so a woman could sit to ride a horse without difficulty. The pressure of the corset was moved from the abdomen to the back, and encouraged a straighter posture and easier movement, allowing women to be more active than the tighter, more restrictive Victorian corsets of the 19th century. The new designs were called either "health" or "sport" corsets.

    These 1916 styles advertised in the Athens Banner were heavily reinforced with elastic bands along the hips, allowing for easy sitting and movement but still providing a foundation for the straight, stylish skirts of the period. Their $3.00 price tag is approximately $60.50 in today's dollars. Many corsets after 1917 removed all metal boning due to metal shortages from the war, and most women found the new corsets to be both patriotic and far more comfortable.

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    Friday, April 1, 2011

    1 April 1964: Autographing Party for Athens Book

    On this day in 1964, The McGregor Company bookstore on East Clayton Street hosted an autographing party for the authors and contributors to the newly published book, Athens: Georgia's Columned City by Kenneth and Blanche Marsh. McGregor Company, located where The Firehouse bar is today, sold each hard-backed, 84-page volume for $3.25.

    The Marshes were not Athens natives, but from Greenville, South Carolina. Kenneth Marsh took the photographs of the buildings and his wife Blanche Marsh wrote the commentary for each published image. In their Acknowledgments page, they thank the  many locals who assisted them with the book, including Mary Claire Warren, who was also present at the signing and appeared on the front page photograph of the party in the Athens Banner-Herald the following day.

    Several of the homes featured in the book have since been acquired, restored, and put to practical use by the University of Georgia, such as the Cobb-Treanor House on Lumpkin Street, the Joseph Henry Lumpkin House on Prince Avenue, and the Wray-Nicholson House on Hull Street. Interior shots of antique furniture and chandeliers in the Stevens Thomas House on the corner of Hancock and Pulaski Streets provide a glimpse into the building's past as home to the Young Women's Christian Association, before it was converted into the office space it is today.

    Other buildings in the book are now gone, including the Thurmond-Cofer House on Dearing Street, which was torn down to build Dearing Garden Apartments in 1965; the Mell House on the corner of Rutherford Street and Milledge Avenue, which was torn down in the 1960s and is now the location of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house; and the Hull-Morton-Snelling House on Hull Street, which was torn down in 1990 to build an extra parking lot for the Holiday Inn. 

    The Marshes published similar books together about Greenville, South Carolina; Charlotte, Bath, and Flat Rock, North Carolina throughout the 1960s. Their Athens book was the only one written about a Georgia location.

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