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: