Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reminder: Heritage Room Closes August 1st!

On this day, we'd like to remind you that due to the library renovation, the space where the Heritage Room is currently situated will be closing on August 1st. This gives you the whole weekend to do some last minute searching in the old environment!

After August 1st, many aspects of the Heritage Room collection will be moving to the Reference area of the second floor of the Athens-Clarke County Library. Among the resources that will remain available to patrons during construction are:

  • microfilmed newspapers, deeds, wills, estate records, marriage records, charters, city council minutes, confederate pension applications for Clarke and Oconee counties, and other miscellaneous Clarke records;
  • yearbooks, both Pandoras and for local high schools and middle schools;
  • newspaper abstracts for counties around the state;
  • Clarke and Oconee county collections, as well as those for Jackson, Franklin, Oglethorpe, and several other surrounding areas;
  • microfilmed city directories for Athens and other cities around the state;
  • Civil War rosters;
  • all the online databases that are already available from any library computer, such as Ancestry Library Edition, HeritageQuest, and Footnote Library Edition;
  • librarians to answer your questions and assist with your research during all the hours the library is open: from 9am to 9pm, Monday through Thursday, from 9am to 6pm on Friday and Saturday, and from 2pm to 6pm on Sunday.

We know it will be a big change, but the new Heritage Room will be worth the wait. In the mean time, we are here to help you any way we can.  Our goal is to ensure the least disruption possible to your research, so please don't hesitate to stop by in August and let us know what you think. 

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

24 July 1903: Undefeated Grocers Beat Winless Printers

On this day in 1903, the Weekly Banner published, in the center of their front page, a long, detailed story about "one of the livliest games of baseball played this season in the Classic City League."

The Classic City League consisted of six baseball teams, created by professional alliance. Though outside players were allowed, the core seven members of each team had to be from the local industry the team represented. Their first game was on June 30th, 1903, between the Printers and the Dry Goods. Games were played on the University of Georgia campus, and were free entertainment for the Athens public.

At the time of this story, the Grocers were 4-0; the Clothiers were 3-1; the Mechanics and Dry Goods were 2-2; the Office Men were 3-1; and the Printers, a team that no doubt included some of the Weekly Banner staff, were 0-4. The story about the previous day's game indicated that it 

started off in great style, and from the jump it was seen that it was a battle to the finish. In spite of the fact that the Printers were at the bottom of the percentage column they came ont [sic] with the purpose of playing winning ball. And they put up a fine game, although they did go down in defeat.
The final score was Grocers 3, Printers 1.

The season ended August 6th, when the Mechanics and Dry Goods teams "played off their last game" which had ended in a tie to decide who would place third in the League. The Grocers came out on top, with a record of 4-1, followed by the Clothiers (also 4-1), the Mechanics (3-2), the Dry Goods (2-3), the Office Men (2-3), and the Printers ending the season at a lowly 0-5.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

21 July 1905: UGA Patron Saves Child from Drowning

On this day in 1905,
the Weekly Banner noted that industrialist and University of Georgia benefactor George Foster Peabody had done quite a good deed during his summer vacation:

Recently, another person associated with the University of Georgia saved a child from drowning: former Bulldogs tight end Leonard Pope. Though usually he would have been at camp with his NFL team, the Kansas City Chiefs, the current lockout between the NFL owners and players meant that Pope was in his hometown and there to save 6-year-old Bryson Moore from drowning in an Americus swimming pool.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

18 July 1919: "Blade of Grass Is Responsible for Loss of Foot"

On this day in 1919, the Athens Banner published this article about something that is currently foreign in our modern world of antibiotics:

Antibiotics were not discovered until 1928, by accident, when a petri dish of bacteria became contaminated with mold, and the scientist, Alexander Fleming, went away for two weeks on vacation. It took another 11 years of work by Oxford University scientists Ernst Chain and Howard Florey to isolate and purify penicillin into a medical product.  

In 1940, they announced their positive results curing mice of the strep bacteria in a paper in the Lancet, and in 1943 were able to publish their positive results treating wounded Allied soldiers in North Africa. In 1945, all three men were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Ten new classes of antibiotics were discovered between 1940 and 1970, but few pharmaceutical companies are currently pursuing this line of medicine.

Antibiotic resistence from "misuse" is something Dr. Fleming warned of in his 1945 Nobel Lecture. Today, childhood ear infections, tuberculosis, and malaria have become difficult to treat with the antibiotics we have today, and the widespread of use of antibiotics and antibacterial cleaners in hospitals has led to 70% of all hospital-acquired infections being resistant to at least one antibiotic.

In 1919, Mr. Jones made a recovery after the loss of his foot, and was still listed as the athletic director of the Athens Y.M.C.A. in the city directories a decade after this event. 

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Evening with Your Ancestors Is This Friday!

On this day, we'd like to remind you that An Evening with Your Ancestors, an after-hours Heritage Room event, will be this Friday, July 15th, from 6pm-10:30pm at the Athens-Clarke County Library.

Registration is required by 6pm on Thursday, July 14th, 2011! 
To register, call the Heritage Room at (706) 613-3650, ext. 350, or email us at

Come to the the Athens-Clarke County Library at closing time for classes about online resources covering everything from free sites such as the new Family Search and Google Books to the databases provided by the library and Heritage Room such as Footnote, Ancestry, and HeritageQuest. You can also skip the classes entirely and just get a little extra time in the Heritage Room before we temporarily close for construction.

We'll have dinner around 7pm, show you the plans for the expanded Heritage Room, and answer questions about construction, family research, available resources, and anything else you can think to ask. We're very excited about the plans for the new Heritage Room, and hope to see you Friday night!

Friday, July 8, 2011

8 July 1899: Opera House Hosts Night School Exhibition

On this day in 1899, the East Athens Night School hosted its second annual exhibition at the Athens Opera House. The
Athens Daily Banner announced the event and location on their front page the day before, along with the Honor Roll for the term:

The East Athens Night School began in 1897 and was put under the direction of Miss Louie A. Lane, the daughter of the longtime pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Athens. She was a graduate of the Lucy Cobb Institute, and became a school teacher. Known to all as "Miss Louie," she never married and became, in the words of Susan Frances Barrow Tate, "a one-woman welfare society."  

Miss Louie lived in East Athens, where many of the mill workers also lived. As a teacher, it bothered her that so many children in Athens had to work while the public schools were open, and therefore would never get an education or have a chance at improving their lives. Whenever a family needed clothes for their children, blankets, even food, Miss Louie would consult her list of good hearted women of Athens to find the items she needed. Many of these same women were responsible for setting up the East Athens Night School in the first place, publicizing the cause in the newspaper and holding socials at the Y.W.C.A. to raise money and get donations of school books, notebooks, paper, pencils, and even desks and chairs. They were always in need of more school books, as well as books of all types for the school's small lending library, which received heavy use by the students. Even after the Night School was incorporated into the Athens school system, donations were still required to meet demand.

The first night of school in early December, 1987, 10 students enrolled. Less than a week later, there were 18 students enrolled, including "two girls, 12 and 13 years of age, who are just now receiving their first opportunity to learn their alphabet." Twenty days after the school opened, there were 27 students enrolled, and they had, as a group, decided not to take any holiday for Christmas. After a month of operation, 40 students had enrolled and 15 more wanted to, but the room, an empty store front on Oconee Street, could not hold more students. A new room was added, and by the end of the term, a total of 68 students had enrolled. 

According to the 1900 U.S. Census, most of the students on the Honor Roll listed in the story above were between 12 and 21 years old in 1899, and most worked at the cotton or knitting mills, though the Patterson brothers were listed as "Harness Makers." 

Classes lasted from 6:30pm to 9pm "every night in the week except Saturday." Miss Louie told the Banner that the students "are anxious to learn and that her work is thus rendered exceedingly pleasant." The following term, Miss May Smoak was added as a teacher's assistant, but the school continued to grow, and by 1901 had over 150 students enrolled, including many adults who had never been taught to read and write. Business classes in bookkeeping were added, and over the years, the school allowed children who worked in the mills during the day to have the skills to eventually work as clerks in downtown offices as well as start their own businesses. All of them remembered and would often visit with Miss Louie, who never left her little home in their old neighborhood.

When Miss Louie died in October, 1939, the Athens Banner-Herald called her "the Jane Addams of Athens, who devoted her life to a career of unselfish service to humankind."  She was called "unassuming, understanding, generous, intelligent, and loving" and the paper noted that "she could hardly help being held up by others as a shining example of the things she strived so hard to inculcate in all with him she was associated."  Among her pall bearers were some of her students from the East Athens Night School's first few years. She is buried in an unmarked grave with her family at Oconee Hill Cemetery.

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Monday, July 4, 2011

4 July 1911: "College on Wheels"

On this day in 1911, the Athens Banner ran the following editorial about the recent railroad tour of the state made by the State College of Agriculture, which at the time was still a separate institution from the University of Georgia:

 (click to enlarge image)

In 1911, the train from the State College of Agriculture visited 154 towns in 120 counties in 47 days. The train carried a passenger car for the educators and staff, livestock cars, and cars with modern farming machinery, with a center flat car that served as a stage. At each stop, the flat car was used for speeches promoting proven practices in farming methods, demonstrate the farming machinery, and exhibit the livestock. The train would stop overnight, with those on board eating at local restaurants and staying in local hotels near the railroad station, a boost to Georgia businesses outside agriculture.

These tours of extension education to improve agricultural outputs in Georgia began in 1908 and lasted until 1917. Extension work was highly promoted by College President Andrew M. Soule, and were immediately popular. Their first tour in 1908 brought out only about 150,000 people, but had ballooned quickly to "nearly four hundred thousand people" within just a few years. Dr. Soule believed that the State College of Agriculture was truly "the college with the state for its campus." 

Other outreach work included welcoming Georgia farmers to the campus farm and other cooperating farms for "field days" where they could demonstrate results of pasture development, winter grazing and foraging crops for livestock, and the effects of different practices on crop and livestock production. One of the earliest successful outreach campaigns was conducted with the Veterinary School to introduce the widespread vaccination of hogs to protect that industry from a devastating strain of cholera.

Formal offices for Agricultural Extension Services were not created until 1914. In later years, working at first with the Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs, the College's extension work expanded to other areas, with demonstrations of fireless stoves and iceless refrigerator, and the effectiveness of screening the home to prevent disease from insects. Later, new female Home Economics graduates from the College of Agriculture would hold community meetings to discuss health and nutrition, parenting techniques and child training, canning and pickling for food preservation, art, and physical education. 

The Agriculture College also helped set up "corn clubs" for boys around Georgia, a forerunner to the current 4-H Clubs. Within just a few years, the average per acre yield of corn by the boys' Georgia corn clubs was three times higher than the average per acre yield for the rest of the state.

The result of this groundwork in Georgia agriculture over the past century is Georgia's strong industry today: one-third of the state's land is used for farming, and sales of agricultural products earn nearly $7 billion. Despite ranking #28 in the United States for number of acres devoted to farmland, Georgia is the #1 producer of broilers (chickens), peanuts, and pecans; #2 in cotton, cotton seed, cucumbers, spring onions, rye, and snap beans; #3 in cantaloupes, bell peppers, sweet corn, and watermelon; and #4 in blueberries, peaches, and squash.

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

2 July 1919: Two "Prancing" Mules for Athens

On this day in 1919, the Athens Banner included this bit of good news for the city:

Though mechanical street sweepers had been invented in 1911, the horse or mule-drawn sweepers were a more economical option in the South, where mules were still a primary part of the area's agricultural life.  Not only were mules part of everyday life in Athens, but the city's first street cars in 1885 had been pulled by mules.

Mules continue to be popular today. The Georgia Old Time Plow Club is a non-profit organization that exhibits mules, horses, and oxen pulling loaded wagons, plowing fields, and even baling hay to show how farm work used to be accomplished in Georgia. Their animals are often featured at area Mule Days: the third Saturday each May at Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm in Jefferson, Georgia; and the second Saturday each October at Callaway Plantation in Washington, Georgia.

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