Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Streaming Audio

Over the last three years, as we designed, prepared for, and moved into the new Richard B. Russell Special Collections Building, we've transformed the storage and presentation of our collections so that they "fit" – physically and intellectually – in a number of different spaces: our underground, environmentally-controlled storage "cube," our gallery, our online finding aids, and our researcher access system. All of these spaces work together, and as we move forward are increasingly integrated. One of the benefits of this, and something I'm particularly pleased about, is that we can easily stream digitized audio and video directly from our online finding aids.

Which brings me to the Herman E. Talmadge Collection and the amazing audio that can now be streamed directly from 30 of the 165 audiovisual items in the collection. Because of Talmadge's involvement in the Three Governors Controversy, his stance on the County Unit System (for it) and Civil Rights (against it), and his service both as governor of Georgia and U.S. Senator, his career illuminates many of the critical struggles the South faced in the 20th century. The twenty wire recordings we had digitized last year are now online, and document the 1948 and 1950 gubernatorial races, bitter fights held in the aftermath of the Georgia Supreme Court's decision to favor Lieutenant Governor M.E. Thompson's claim to the governorship following the death of Eugene Talmadge in 1946. These are raucous, rowdy recordings that include debate on the County Unit System, stump speeches, and victory rallies, and include M.E. Thompson, Ellis Arnall, E.D. Rivers, John W. Greer, Ralph McGill, Roy V. Harris, and of course, Herman Talmadge - all found HERE.

The real jewel is a recording that is partly a mystery, and it is not of Talmadge. Rather, it is of Martin Luther King, Sr., speaking in Macon, Georgia, we believe at a local Southern Christian Leadership Conference meeting, on July 28, 1962, the day after his son had been arrested in Albany. It is a rousing speech, more of a sermon from a pulpit, in which "Daddy" King repeatedly exhorts his audience to "tell them" (i.e., the white establishment) about the need for equality. We don't know how or why this recording made it into Talmadge's collection, and was transcribed by one of his staff – so it must have been of some importance to Talmadge, perhaps as opposition research. We do know that Talmadge and MLK, Sr. were cordial with one another (despite their ideological differences). One thing is not in doubt – this is a powerful and gripping record of the times.

Over the next months we hope to be adding many more streaming copies of audiovisual resources to our online finding aids. Stay tuned!

Post by Craig Breaden, Head of Media and Oral History Unit, Russell Library

Monday, April 16, 2012

Athens League of Women Voters Records Collection Now Open!

The Russell Library is pleased to announce the opening of The Athens League of Women Voters Records collection.

The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Created as a non-partisan political organization, the League was dedicated to empowering citizens to play an active role in government through education and advocacy. The Athens League became an official chapter of the national organization in 1948, and its members worked tirelessly over the years to promote voter education and increase awareness of public policy issues.

Members of the Athens League studied and distributed information on a wide range of local issues, such as city-county consolidation for Athens-Clarke County, housing, juvenile justice, desegregation, and water quality. Former members include Heidi Davison, former mayor of Athens; Phyllis Jenkins Barrow, wife of Judge James Barrow; and Janice Mathis, former president of the Athens League of Women Voters and former director of the National League of Women Voters. The final meeting of the Athens League of Women Voters was held on March 23, 2006.

“With the opening the records of the Athens League of Women Voters, we are happy to call attention to the Russell Library’s commitment to documenting the experience and engagement of women in Georgia’s modern political history,” said Sheryl Vogt, Director of the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies.

Further reflecting on the Library’s current collecting interests, she noted that the Russell Library is “…steadfastly building a group of collections from women who are elected or appointed to public office, who are reporters of the political and policy process, and those who are significantly engaged in civic and political organizations or grass-roots groups in their communities. Just as important to us are those women who appear secondarily in our collections but often play important roles in the careers of others or work behind-the-scenes to effect change to improve their livelihood or the lives of their family and friends.”

The Athens League of Women Voters Records Collection includes copies of the Athens Voter, the Georgia Voter, and the National Voter, as well as administrative files, correspondence, membership directories and handbooks. Also included are scrapbooks containing clippings and photographs from league events, and artifacts such as League of Women Voters campaign buttons, banners, and posters.

For more information on this collection, please visit us online at, call (706) 542-5788, or email The Russell Library is open for research Monday through Friday, from 8:30-4:30. The Russell Library Galleries are open and free to visitors Monday through Friday, 8:00-5:00 and Saturdays from 1-5PM.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Historical Forum Discussion (4/27/2012): Slavery or Freedom Forever?

Join the Russell Forum for a community forum on the historical crisis of American slavery, on Friday, April 27th from 3:30-5:00PM. With the help of trained neutral moderators, participants will weigh several approaches faced by Americans in 1854 for contending with slavery and its future in the United States and look closely at the values underlying these historical approaches. The group will also consider if and how these same underlying values inform American attitudes and approaches to tough public issues today. All are welcome to this free event!

Directions and Parking
The forum will take place in room 258 of the Russell Special Collections Libraries building located at the corner of Waddell Street and South Hull Street (one block south of Broad Street and one block north of Baxter St.) Free event parking for off-campus attendees in the Hull Deck--enter off Baxter St. and take a ticket. A map to the event space can be found HERE.


The Russell Building is fully accessible. Handicapped parking is available on all levels of the Hull Street Deck, located next to the Russell Building.

More information
To receive discussion materials in advance, email
For more information, contact Russell Forum director, Jill Severn at (706) 542-5788
To learn more about the Russell Forum, visit