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.

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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. 

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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."

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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.

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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.

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