Sunday, December 23, 2012

Please Note Our Holiday Hours!

On this day, we want you to be aware of the holiday hours for the library and the Heritage Room collection. We will keep our normal hours most days during the season, but will have some changes.

For the Christmas holiday, the library will be closed on 

  • Monday, December 24th, 2012.
  • Tuesday, December 25th, 2012.
  • Wednesday, December 26th, 2012.
The library will reopen at 9am on Thursday, December 27th, 2012. 

For the New Year holiday, the library will close at 6pm on Monday, December 31st, 2012, and be closed on Tuesday, January 1st, 2012. 

The library will reopen at 9am on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2012.

While we are closed, you can still do genealogy research using our GALILEO databases from home, such as Fold3 and HeritageQuest.  

You can also access the Athens Historic Newspaper Archive and the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps in the Digital Library of Georgia from the comfort of your decorated living room.

We hope you have a great holiday season!

Friday, December 21, 2012

21 December 1906: Heavy Sleet Takes Out Trolley

On this day in 1906, news of long delays in service for the Athens Electric Railway's trolley service was published in the Weekly Banner:

"Quite a while" in this case was until early January, 1907, when the company began installing new poles and stringing "heavier" and "much better" wire throughout the system. It was promised that "there would be no further delays caused by broken wire." (This promise was kept until a severe sleet storm in February, 1908.)

The first successful electric railway system was developed by Frank J. Sprague, who created the suspension and pulley system that became the standard for cities all over the world. It was installed over 12 miles of tracks in Richmond, Virginia, in 1887, and by 1895, 900 U.S. cities had electric railways, with 11,000 miles of rails. 

Most cities had privately run systems, such as Athens Railway & Electric company, which ran the trolley system until March, 1930, when they changed over to a short-lived city bus system.

Learn More:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

18 November 1921: "Give Kodak This Christmas"

On this day in 1921, this one national Kodak ad was run in the Athens Banner for two local businesses:

The more expensive Autographic Kodak cameras had been introduced in 1914, and allowed the user to write the date (or other information) on the film. When developed, the picture included the data written at the time the photograph was taken. 

Though George Eastman had paid the inventor of this system $300,000.00 (akin to millions today) to use it exclusively for his Kodak cameras, changes in photographic technology made it unworkable by the 1930s. 

The Brownie had been introduced in 1900, and was the first camera made for the every man, woman, and child at a price of $1.00, akin to about $30.00 in today's money. You can see images of these early Brownie cameras by clicking here.

Learn More:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

15 December 1909: A "Christmas Suggestion"

On this day in 1909, the Southern Land Company offered a free piano to anyone buying one of the few remaining lots in the relatively new Lynwood Park subdivision.

Lynwood Park was originally part of the Ferdinand Phinizy estate, near the Cobbham area. In 1906, the suburb was mapped out into lots, spanning from Milledge Avenue to the city limits, and included the West Hancock and Reese Street areas. It became "a little town within itself" for the African-American doctors, dentists, educators, builders, ministers, business owners, and other professionals lived and worked.

Learn More:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hark! Have You Subscribed to Our Newsletters?

On this day, we'd like to remind you about our two free Heritage Room newsletters. 

Our Genealogy and History Events newsletter covers everything from Christmas tours at state parks and plantations around Georgia to Census classes at the Atlanta History Center. We make sure you know about webinars that are coming up, such as Researching Your Irish Roots and lunch-and-learn series at the National Archives about using DNA for genealogy research. The events newsletter makes it possible to plan your schedule and ensure you don't miss a chance to learn, explore, and discover new things.

Our Genealogy News and Tips newsletter keeps you in the loop with the latest resources available for research, such as the expanded marriage records holdings by and primers on searching for your War of 1812 ancestors. It also includes tips on how to use general software apps for genealogy and lets you know about new sites for sharing what you find with friends and family.

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!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

8 December 1899: Creepy Santa Has Opinions About Your Shirt

On this day in 1899, and many days during the week, Athens Steam Laundry on Broad Street ran this somewhat creepy version of Santa Claus in their ads for their business:

Athens Steam Laundry often ran ads associated with the holidays, including one the following year featuring well dressed turkeys in starched collars around Thanksgiving. By 1903, the business moved from its location on West Broad to where the Globe pub is today.

Learn More: 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

2 December 1904: Love Locked Up

On this day in 1904, the Weekly Banner published news of a recent local marriage that required some persuasion of the bride's parents:

Up Young Bride, But Parents
Finally Give Blessings
to Happy Couple.

   Love laughs at locksmiths is true but sometimes love forgets and gets locked up again.
   The first part of the aphorism was proven true on Sunday afternoon when Mr. Pink Hilyard and Miss Ophelia Hughes were married at the home of a friend near Winterville.
   Mr. Hilyard brought his bride back to the city and they went to the home of the bride's parents. A stormy scene followed and the parents refused to let Mr. Hilyard see his wife.
   Later during the evening the refusal was still adhered to and not until yesterday morning did the parents of Mrs. Hilyard relent and give the young couple their blessing.
--Weekly Banner, 2 December 1904, p. 5, col. 7.

Alas, Mr. and Mrs. Hughes had good instincts. Robert Pink Hilliard was well known in town for being arrested as drunk or disorderly (or both) rather than for being an industrious young man with a bright future. He was also only 18 years old, and Ophelia had only turned 16 a month earlier. In the 1904 Athens City Directory, his profession is listed as painter.

(click to enlarge image)

According to the 1910 U.S. Census, Ophelia and Pink were living with his parents on Lumpkin Street, with Ophelia at home, caring for their two sons, Hughes, age 4, and Douglas, age 2, and Pink listed as now working as a "hackman," or public carriage driver. 

However, the 1909 Athens City Directory lists Ophelia as living with her sister on Oconee Street, indicating the marriage was already showing signs of strain. Pink continued to rack up fines from his frequent appearances the Mayor's Court, to account for his for disorderly drunken behavior, at a cost of $2.50 to $30.00 per conviction. In 1912, he and two of his friends were convicted of robbery and sent to prison. Pink was pardoned and released in 1915.

In the 1920 U.S. Census, Pink is found living in a boarding house in Augusta, Georgia, with an occupation of "painter" and marital status of "married." Ophelia and her boys are still living with her older sister, Alma, who worked as a bookkeeper for Bernstein Brothers Furniture Store and was active in the Y.W.C.A. Extension Club. Though Ophelia lists her marital status as "divorced," she would not officially file for divorce from Pink until August, 1928. 

Neither Ophelia nor Pink would ever remarry. Pink would live out his days in boarding houses and Y.M.C.A. rooms in Augusta, dying in 1958 at the age of 70. Ophelia spent her life in Clarke County, dying in 1965 at the age of 77.

Learn More: 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

28 November 1916: See Georgia Play Alabama!

On this day in 1916, the Seaboard Railroad advertised this round-trip deal to see the University of Georgia football team take on the University of Alabama football team in their last game of the season on Thanksgiving Day: 

(click to enlarge image)

Georgia won 3-0 in a game that ended on a last-minute turnover when a Georgia player scooped up an Alabama fumble from inside the 5-yard line. Alabama had won its first six games of the season, but ended 6-3 after the loss to Georgia, who also ended the 1916 season at 6-3.

By the time the next season would have begun, most of the Georgia football players, as well as Coach Cunningham and Assistant Coach Dave Paddock, were engaged in World War I; five would not survive the war, and only two of the lettermen, Owen Gaston Reynolds and Arthur Pew, Jr., would return to the gridiron.

The 1917 and 1918 seasons were cancelled, and Georgia did not play football again until October 4, 1919, in a win over the Citadel. Coach Cunningham returned in 1919 to coach Georgia to a 4-2-3 season, but then left college athletics to pursue a career in the United States Army, where he reached the rank of General.

When Memorial Hall was opened in 1929, it was dedicated to the 47 University of Georgia men who died in the Great War.

Learn More:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Microfilm Scanning That Isn't a Hassle? Do Tell!

On this day, we'd like to ask for your help to make the dream of easy microfilm scanning a reality in the new Heritage Room.
The ScanPro 2000 is a cutting-edge digital microfilm scanner that offers a wide variety of viewing and editing functions while remaining easy to use. Clarke-Oconee Genealogical Society (COGS) has committed to providing $6500 toward this machine after seeing it demonstrated at national meetings and at the COGS EXPO. 

The Heritage Room must raise the remaining money ($6500.00) toward this machine before December 2012. A new version, ScanPro 3000 coming out in early 2013, has a much larger camera (21 megapixel instead of the 6 megapixel). The price will also be higher. 

However, if we can purchase and take delivery of the ScanPro 2000 before the end of this year, the company will upgrade our machine to the new camera when it comes out at no extra charge. This is too good to pass up!
Donations of any amount are welcomed from $5.00 up. Click here to download the donation form.  Please contact Laura Carter with questions at 706-613-3650 Ext. 327 or email.

We appreciate your past and future support of the Heritage Room and the Athens-Clarke County Library. 

Learn More:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

14 November 1911: Ty Cobb at the Colonial Theatre

On this day in 1911, the Athens Banner published an overview of the previous night's performance of The College Widow at the Colonial Theatre downtown, starring baseball great Ty Cobb.

Many baseball players took work as actors in the off-season, some appearing in serious plays, others in vaudeville theater acts, and still others in goofy silent films. Cobb, however, believed acting would not fit him, turning down the original offer to do the play by saying, "I'd go out there and make a horse's ass of myself."

Eventually, playwright George Ade and vaudevillian Eddie Foy, both friends of Cobb, convinced him to take the part of Billy Bolton, an All-American halfback. He had a three-month contract worth $10,000.00. 

Large crowds turned out to see Cobb more than the play itself, which was a romantic comedy about an attractive young widow luring athletes to her school to play for the football team. The College Widow was made into a silent film in 1927, and later a talkie in 1930 with the title Eleven Men and a Girl and featuring actual members of 1929 All-American football team.

When The College Widow came to the south, Cobb was honored with dinners and presentations in every town. In Athens, "a Dutch dinner" was given at the Elks Club after his performance, and during the repeated encores after the second act of the play, Cobb was presented with a football sweater emblazoned with a Georgia "G" by the Georgia football team captain, "Kid" Woodruff; Cobb wore the sweater during the third act of the play. Cobb's mother and sister were in the audience at the Colonial, travelling from Royston to see him in the performance.

However, Cobb was right that he did not have the temperament for acting. He would drink between acts, and argued with Ade about how few of the comedy's jokes were his lines, causing rewrites as the play toured. After six weeks, Cobb quit the play in Cleveland, and returned to his home in Detroit. 

1911 was one of Ty Cobb's most successful years as a ball player: he hit .420, had 248 hits, scored 147 runs, had 144 runs batted in, stole 83 bases, and lead the league in doubles and triples. Of his brief foray into acting, Cobb later said, "I looked silly as an actor, but the money was right."

Learn More:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

8 November 1913: Veteran "Plainly and Harmlessly Drunk" Not Charged

On this day in 1913, the Athens Banner relayed this story about a police officer who took pity on one of their arrested men:

(click to enlarge image)

The "iron badge of honor" likely refers to the Southern Cross of Honor bestowed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, starting in 1900. Few Confederate medals were awarded during the Civil War due to metal shortages, and at veterans reunion in Atlanta in 1898, Mary Ann Lamar Cobb Erwin proposed the UDC bestow honor medals to veterans. Sarah E. Gabbett of Atlanta designed the medal, which was approved the following year by the UDC. 

The first medal was awarded to Mrs. Erwin's husband, Judge Alexander S. Erwin of Athens, who had fought at Gettysburg during the war. The Cobb-Deloney Confederate Veterans passed a resolution that the Judge receive "the No. 1 medal," "this gift of honor to southern heroism and true Confederate gallantry."  

The UDC awarded crosses to 78,761 men between 1900 and 1913. It was against the law in some states (and still in Virginia) to wear a Southern Cross of Honor not bestowed to you, so the "unknown man" was probably a veteran of the Civil War, one who, like many, fell on hard times in the following years. 

Typically, a 360 violation cost the offender a $5.00 fine plus $1.25 in court costs, equivalent to $146.00 today. Many violators would pay such a fine over a period of weeks, $1 or $2 at a time. Those who did not have a steady income would be forced to work off the fine at 50 cents per day on public works projects in town, such as paving roads or installing the city's sewer system.

Learn More:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

3 November 1915: "At Once Delightful and Unique"

On this day in 1915, the Tuskegee Singers performed at the private Moss High School auditorium at 450 Prince Avenue.

 (click to enlarge image to read program)

According to the Athens Banner, the quartet had been brought to town by "leading educators of the city, University professors, public school teachers, and some of the leading citizens." The event was a fundraiser for the Model and Training School in Clarke County, started in 1903 by Judia Jackson Harris.

Booker T. Washington organized the Tuskegee Singers quartet in 1884 "to 'promote interest in the Tuskegee Institute' by acquainting benevolent audiences to the Tuskegee name and Washington philosophy. " Washington believed African-Americans should be self-sufficient, and philosophy shared by the Model and Training School, which taught basic academic subjects, but also offered vocational education. 

The Tuskegee Singers were reorganized in 1909, and actually involved seven or eight young men at a time. They recorded albums of their music, mostly spirituals. The Banner noted, in their story anticipating the November 3rd program, that "every store handling first class victrola records has selections from the very quartet to be here tomorrow night."

The program was reviewed in the paper the next morning as "excellent" and "a real treat."  To hear the songs sung by this particular group of singers in 1915, click here.

Learn More:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 October 1844: A Youth Library Offered "at the New York Price"

On this day, Albon Chase began advertising a new set of books, available together or individually at his "Book-Store," for the impressionable young men and women of Athens. 


Primary education in 1844 was reserved for those who could afford both to pay to have their children educated and did not require their labor at home. Athens had a highly literate population, but there were no free schools. The cheapest schools in the 1840s charged $3.00 per quarter for basic primary education, akin to $93.10 in today's dollars. 

Those with more money could hire private tutors for their children, or send them to one of the local academies that taught basic English, grammar, writing, rhetoric, arithmetic, geography, history, chemistry, astronomy, Latin Greek, natural philosophy, music, drawing, painting, and French. Schools such as The Female Academy (which offered co-ed education), offered subjects on a sliding scale ranging from $4.00 per quarter for the most basic instruction to $8.00 per quarter for everything except more artistic pursuits, which could be purchased as separate lessons. 

Most education for girls focused on softer learning, such as arts, recitation, and French, rather than the speeches of Cicero or higher mathematics. It was this lack of rigorous higher education for women that caused the Lucy Cobb Institute to be founded in 1858, for Athenians believed their daughters should be as well educated as their sons, and did not want to send them away to school for the necessity. 

Albon Chase was a member of the class who could afford education for his children. He was born in New Hampshire in 1808. became the publisher of the Southern Banner 1832. He established with John Linton the Pioneer Paper Manufacturing Company located on Barber Creek, just southeast of Athens, a venture that cleared 60% profit in its first year.

In 1845, he moved the newspaper offices to a three-story wooden building at the corner of College Avenue and Front Street (now Broad), with his newspaper offices above the bookstore. Many newspaper publishers also printed books, ledgers, and other sorts of paper materials for sale other than news; Chase also offered colored wrapping paper for gifts.

He retired from the Banner in 1846 after 14 years of work, but his son, William, purchased part of it in 1858 and acted as co-editor. According to the book Antebellum Athens, "political opposition charged that regardless who was the editor, the Banner was controlled by Howell Cobb."

Chase was a founding and guiding member of other local business ventures, such as the National Bank of Athens, the Athens Building & Loan Association, the Georgia Equitable Insurance Company, and the Southern Mutual Insurance Company, where he served as Secretary until his death in 1867.

He was also active in the practical running of Athens, serving as one of the city's first commissioners, starting in 1839, and representing Ward 2 off and on until 1859. In 1852, Albon Chase served as Intendent of the city, akin to being Mayor today; Chase Street is named for him.  Two of his homes are still standing in Athens, at the corner of Hull and Clayton Streets downtown (now apartments), and at 243 Dearing Street. He is buried at Oconee Hill Cemetery.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Are You Reading Our Heritage Room Newsletters?

On this day we'd like to remind you to subscribe to our two fantastic Heritage Room newsletters. They will be delivered to your email Inbox, and are a great way to keep up with all that is going on in genealogy and history throughout the year, and especially during the busy holiday season.

Our Genealogy and History Events newsletter covers everything from Haunted History tours in Athens and Macon to free webinars about Irish ancestor brick walls and getting started with Native American genealogy. Find out where to hear historians talking about their latest books, or when the dedication ceremony for a new historical marker will be held. Autumn is a busy time for cemetery tours, and with the newsletter, you can take your pick of tours in Athens, Cartersville, Atlanta, and McDonough. The commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War continues apace, with a variety of symposia, lectures, programs, and book-related events. Don't regret not doing something because you didn't find out in time--just read our newsletter!

Our Genealogy News and Tips newsletter makes sure you will not miss out on the information you need for your research, even as everyone's schedule speeds up this autumn. We cover practical information, such as the increase in copying fees at all National Archives locations and updates about the status of the Georgia Archives, to new resources online such as Mercer campus newspapers from 1920-1970 and Scottish post office directories. We even include information on how to fit your research into a busy schedule, such as Family Tree magazine's list of "Weekend Warrior" genealogy projects.

Click here (or either newsletter link above) to subscribe. It couldn't be easier, so sign up today!

Friday, October 26, 2012

25 October 1892: "There has always been too little interest in Athletics among Southern colleges..."

On this day in 1892, the Banner newspapers advocated for the students who were "very desirous of entering into collegiate games of football."

Football was a relatively new sport, and was seen as a way to ensure young men did not become soft while gaining their education. Physical strength was seen as the basis for mental and moral strength as well. 

Adapted from rugby, football was primarily a running game (the forward pass was not implemented until 1906, as a safety concession), and players wore little padding or other protection during the course of the game.

At the time, Georgia had club and fraternity teams that participated in a variety of sports, including a campus Field Day with races, but also such events as "greased pig chases." Sports had faculty advisors, similar to the way high school sports often operate today. There was a football team that had played two games in the winter of 1892, beating Mercer College 50-0 at what is now Herty Field on North Campus, and losing to Auburn 0-10 at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. 

In 1893, the school had its first real football season with a five-game schedule that ran from November 4th to December 9th. Georgia went 2-2-1.

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