Tuesday, July 31, 2012

31 July 1840: Printing Apprentice Wanted

On this day in 1840, the Southern Banner published this notice that they were looking for an apprentice:

Apprentices were often used by a variety of businesses as cheap labor and to pass down the trade: printing presses, carriage or harness makers, merchant clerks, physicians, tailors, bakers, milliners, apothecaries, gas fitters, chefs, or other skilled trades.  An "eligible situation" in this ad indicates that not only is this opportunity available, but it is a good opportunity for some young man, perhaps as young as 13 or 14, to learn a trade that he could use to support himself and his family through life. In 1840, printers didn't just publish the local newspaper, but also created ledgers and other business forms, stationery, and sometimes books for their community.

Typically, apprentices lived with, were fed and clothed by, the craftsman to whom he or she (in the case of millinery or seamstress work) was apprenticed, with a guarantee of a small sum and appropriate new clothing to start in the business themselves after a set period of time. Often, the situation involved a contract that laid out all these terms, including the forfeiture of guaranteed clothing and cash should the apprentice leave before the end of their term.

Not all apprenticeships were open environments; when the Charleston Orphan House indentured their charges to businessmen as a way to ensure the children learned a trade, the child was bound to that indenture until the end of their term, when the child turned 21 years of age. Should the businessman not comply, a fine of $60 "liquified damages" would apply. The Orphan House, however, insisted that the child agree to the indenture, and often refused requests for apprentices if the position (such as factory work) was not seen as self-supporting occupation. This standard did not apply to their female charges, who were primarily put into domestic situations since a "successful life" for them mean marrying someone who could support them.

Apprenticeships still exist today, and are skill trade versions of internships. The Department of Labor's Registered Apprenticeship program lists opportunities in dozens of fields, including carpentry, medical technology, machine repair, refrigeration maintenance, welding, masonry, building inspection, and ironwork. 

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

28 July 1899: "The tradition is too well founded to be doubted..."

On this day in 1899, the Weekly Banner noted the start of the dog days of summer:

This is the First of the Celebrated "Dog Days."

     According to superstition, if it rains today we will have rain for forty days.

     "Dog Days" begin today. This is a critical period of the year for it means abundant showers or excessive drought. 

     Farmers who are anxious to secure good rains should start early with their prayers today. The tradition is too well founded to be doubted and this, the all-important first of the dog days should not be passed by unnoticed.
-- Weekly Banner, 28 July 1899, p. 1, col. 1.

"Dog days of summer" have a long history. The ancient Egyptians associated the heat of mid-summer with Sirius, the dog star, rising with the sun, and believed it foretold the annual flooding of the Nile. The Romans believed the bright star Sirius combined its heat with the sun to cause the hottest part of summer, calling this period "caniculares dies," the "days of the dog." 

At the time, the "dog days" fell from early July into the middle of August. Due to a phenomenon called the precession of the equinoxes, the date when Sirius rises with the sun moves later over time. Eventually, it will no longer rise during the heat of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

Though there was no newspaper surviving from July 29th, later that summer, Athens had quite a few harsh storms, including one near the end of the dog days that included crop-destroying hail, flooded streets, and even a woman, Mrs. Mary Echols of John Street, killed by lightning in her own home.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

25 July 1902: What Is Summer Without a Fish Story?

On this day in 1902, a great fish tale was published in the Weekly Banner:


Athens Fishermen Get Big Haul in Oglethorpe.

Messers. Wellborn and Marion DuBose have returned from a fishing trip to Oglethorpe, and not only report a big time, but bring evidence of genuine fisherman's luck.

They were fishing with trot lines in Edward's pond in Oglethorpe county and Wednesday made a catch of a blue cat weighing 26 pounds, another weighing 12 and about fifty pounds of smaller fish.

This catch has seldom been equalled in this section of the country and proves that there are "good fish in the seas as ever were caught."

The brothers did not indicate how long their trotline was to bring home such a haul of fish, and there was no announcement of a large fish fry at their family home on the 26th.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

21 July 1911: "All chicks...are alike to her maternal heart."

On this day in 1911, the Athens Banner ran this adorable story on the front page of their daily newspaper:

(click to enlarge image)

Though it often seems odd to see animals caring for the young of different species, cross-species adoption has always been common in the animal world, even among animals that would otherwise be prey for the nurturing parent. According to an article in National Wildlife magazine, "even in the unsentimental calculus of natural selection, it may be better to err on the side of compassion."

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

17 July 1922: "The courteous woman..."

On this day in 1922, the Society News section of the Athens Daily Herald ran this useful piece of information for its readers:

The Society News usually ran on page 3 of the Athens Daily Herald, and was edited by Mrs. Alice Adams, whose home phone number (832) appeared at the top of the page, so anyone with news could pass it along to her.

Other news reported by Mrs. Adams this day included:
  • Miss Marjorie Bickers hosted an informal prom party for Athens girls.
  • Miss Jessie McGregor returned from Greenwood, S.C. Sunday afternoon.
  • The friends of Mrs. Madison Nicholson will regret to hear of her continued illness.
  • Miss Helen Wineberg of Columbia, S.C. is the guest of Miss Hannah Bernstein.
  • Miss Elizabeth Bondurant is spending a few days at a camp near Lakemont.
  • Messrs. Ed Cohen and Leroy Michael left Sunday for a motor trip through the north and east.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Randall Freeman are expected home in a few days after a delightful trip to Baltimore.

Learn More:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Important News about the Heritage Room Collection during the Last Part of the Library Renovation

On this day, we'd like to provide notice for some changes that are coming quite soon that could affect your research plans.

In the next few weeks, most of the library will be on the move to enable the last phases of construction. At the end of July, the Reference area is scheduled to move into the renovated side of the second floor, and, at that time, the Heritage Room book collection will become closed stacks through the end of the year

The books in this collection will still be available to patrons, but you will need to ask a librarian to retrieve the title or titles you wish to use. This situation is temporary, merely a side effect of space constraints while the other half of the second floor is being updated.
The Heritage Room microfilm, reader, and digital scanner will remain in the new Reference area until the end of construction. We still urge you to call to reserve the machine you want to use in advance, to ensure it is available when you arrive. All aspects of the microform collection will return to the Heritage Room space once the room reopens, with great fanfare, in early 2013. (It really is sooner than it sounds!)

Among the features of the new Heritage Room space will be 

  • more microfilm readers and printers (plus the old dinosaurs with their loud mechanical Thu-THUNK! when you hit the Print button), 
  • a conference room that will be used for classes but can also be reserved for use by local organizations for meetings, 
  • more computers, 
  • more individual work tables, 
  • more shelves full of books, 
  • lockers for you to stash your bags securely, 
  • an easier-to-find location,
  • a more accessible and browsable magazine area, 
  • a more comfortable ambient temperature in the reading room,
  • a larger vault, and 
  • work spaces for staff so there will be fewer piles of boxes and papers and ledgers and maps in the room, which means more room for you to spread out while researching.

Here are some pictures of the room in progress, courtesy of our public relations guru, Rhiannon Eades:

(click to enlarge image)

In the picture above, you can see the light coming from the new meeting room doorway on the right that was once a window! And on the topic of windows, you can see we still have the large one at the end of the room that always filled the space with such gorgeous golden sunlight in late afternoon.

(click to enlarge image)

Hooray! Carpet padding! 
No, not really exciting, but it is the first step toward getting carpet in the new space. (All steps forward are to be celebrated.) You can also see new walls where the microfilm reader alcove used to be (but is now office space for Heritage Room and Information Services staff), and the knocked out wall where there used to be file drawers filled with microfilm and boxes filled with maps.

(click to enlarge image)

A nice low line of shelves with enough power to handle, according to the diagram of the new second floor layout, seven microform readers and reader-printers. At long last, the digital scanner will be at a comfortable height for long periods of research. 

Please let us know at the Reference desk if you have any concerns, or have questions about using the collection. We understand that having access to the materials you need is important, and we are here to make this temporary inconvenience as little trouble as possible. 

In the mean time, we appreciate your patience, and hope you are as excited about the prospect of a renewed Heritage Room as we are. We miss it, too!

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Heritage Room Newsletters: The Cool Way to Follow What's Hot!

On this day, we'd like to remind you that our two Heritage Room newsletters are great ways to find out what is happening and what resources are available, all from the cool comfort of your own home!

In our Genealogy and History Events newsletter,  you can find how to sign up for guided tours of the University of Georgia's new Special Collections library on Hull Street, or when the William Faulkner celebration at CinĂ© in downtown Athens on the 50th anniversary of his death. Discover the Women of Oakland Cemetery in a Twilight Tour in Atlanta, or how to use a Flip-Pal mobile scanner (the only one allowed by the National Archives) at family gatherings to enhance your family history through a webinar accessible from your home computer. Take a day trip to hear about Alabama and the War of 1812 at the Alabama State Archives, or to learn about "Historic District" designations for neighborhoods at the DeKalb History Center. There are so many interesting, new things to explore, and the Events newsletter ensures you know when and where they are.

In our Genealogy News and Tips newsletter, you'll learn when subscription databases are having sales or free access to their holdings, and how far along the name indexing of the 1940 has come. Click through our links to read the personal journals of Queen Victoria, or to peruse the City of Dallas's online collection of documents and images from the John F. Kennedy assassination. You'll learn which archives are cutting back their hours, and which ones have acquired or are exhibiting fascinating new collections. Links to stories about organizing your family research photos and the best way to preserve family documents for posterity are delivered to your computer so you don't need to search the web for it yourself.

Click here (or any newsletter link above) to subscribe. It couldn't be easier, so what are you waiting for? Sign up today!