DLG Helps Bring Old Houses to Life

Old Georgia Homes is a blog that began in 2015 as a hobby for me as a Georgia history and old house enthusiast and has since grown to 60,000 social media followers. One of the goals of the blog is to share house histories and notable personalities in an engaging format to an audience that is primarily under the age of 40. I believe that it is important to share homes and history all over the state–small towns have as much reader engagement as large cities. I partner with historical societies and preservation organizations to share local success stories and am proud to see our audience members taking trips to small towns after learning about them on the blog.

The Digital Library of Georgia’s Georgia Historic Newspapers Archive is a valuable tool in researching old homes throughout Georgia.  Sometimes old houses may tell us clues about their former owners. Many times, they do not.  Older newspapers often have a lot of information about the families of historic homes, and usually some details of their construction.  The Archive allows me to bring new and different information about some of these old homes and businesses. Social history adds engaging content for my audience versus just architectural details on the house.  Stories that get passed down through the generations may change over time.  The Archive provides an avenue to find the story when it was a current event.

The Georgia Historic Newspaper Archive has been invaluable for information about homes in smaller towns all over the state.  Leading families often owned historic homes in smaller cities, and the local newspaper covered them extensively.  I’m able to add details about a party held in the home, dinner menus, a wedding, or other significant events that took place in the home.  This type of information helps to bring an old house to life.

Finally, the Newspaper Archive has a great deal of information on businesses that were in operation at the time.  Old advertisements combined with news and editorials provide an excellent snapshot of the timeframe.  What were the major topics of the day?  What business was in that old building on Main Street?  These are factual answers the Georgia Historic Newspaper Archive can help provide.

Combining the Georgia Historic Newspaper Archive, along with the Vanishing Georgia photograph collection from the Georgia Archives helps to bring the story of a house – and its families – to life.

– Lane Fuller, author of the blog Old Georgia Homes

Feature Image: The weekly banner. (Athens, Ga.) 1891-1921, March 17, 1911, Page 1. The article “Death Came Suddenly to Mrs. Alice Fleming,” available on page 1 of the issue was referenced in Fuller’s blog post “Fleming House, 1890 – Athens.”

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Thomasville History Center’s Cutler Collection now freely available online

The Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) is pleased to announce the availability of the Cutler Collection at https://dlg.usg.edu/collection/tchs_cutcol. These resources belong to the Thomasville History Center and have been made available online thanks in part to the DLG’s Competitive Digitization grant program, a funding opportunity intended to broaden DLG partner participation for statewide historic digitization projects. 

The digitized items from this collection consist primarily of diaries, letters, and family papers dating from 1800-1980 belonging to Hazel Beamer Cutler, a dancer on Broadway who performed in the Ziegfeld Follies in the 1920s, and who resided in Thomasville, Georgia throughout much of her life. Included in the materials is genealogical research on the Quarterman and Baker families, pioneers of South Georgia; correspondence with visual artists Dora Wheeler Keith and Ben Ali Haggin, III, and Vermont banker Henry Miles Cutler. There is also some information about Candace Wheeler, founder of the American Decorative Arts movement. 

These materials are useful to researchers looking into the history of American illustrator, portrait artist, and muralist Dora Wheeler Keith (1856-1940), who was Hazel Beamer Cutler’s guardian in New York City; and portrait painter and stage designer Ben Ali Haggin, III (1882-1951). Some materials in the collection refer to Candace Wheeler (1827-1923), Dora Wheeler Keith’s mother, who founded the Society of Decorative Arts in 1877 and was associated with the Colonial Revival, Aesthetic Movement, and the Arts and Crafts Movement throughout her long career. The Thomasville Baker and Beamer families developed a friendship with the New York Wheelers and Keiths while the Wheelers vacationed in Thomasville, Georgia during the Resort Era of 1875-1905. These items will shed light into the early twentieth century happenings within the field of decorative arts as well as the artistic work of Ben Ali Haggin, III and Dora Wheeler Keith. The Georgia-related materials on the Quarterman, Baker, Mallard, and Schaffer families collected by Hazel Beamer Cutler’s aunt, Sallie Baker (1862-1953), a Thomasville, Georgia educator, will be useful to genealogists. Hazel Beamer Cutler’s diaries provide a rich history of life in New York City and Thomasville, Georgia during the 1920s.

Anne McCudden, executive director of the Thomasville History Center, notes:  “Having these items digitized will allow our staff and outside researchers to more fully engage with the collection. Currently, we only have a cursory knowledge of the content. Being able to access the collection (specifically the diaries) will allow interested parties to see into the daily life and of Hazel Beamer [Cutler] while she was living in New York City in the early 1920s…This collection also documents her time spent with Ben Ali Haggin III, who was from a prominent Kentucky family of artists and authors.”

About the Thomasville History Center

The Thomasville History Center is a non-profit community organization dedicated to ensuring that the appreciation of Thomasville’s unique history remains an intrinsic and unbroken thread connecting the past and future through settings that advance the town’s story. The History Center is supported by approximately 300 personal and business members, hosts approximately 3,000 visitors each year, and engages another 2,000 through community outreach.  Nearly twenty percent of the Thomasville History Center’s audience are students and teachers. Visit the Thomasville History Center at https://www.thomasvillehistory.org/.

About the Digital Library of Georgia

Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia https://dlg.usg.edu/   is a GALILEO initiative that collaborates with Georgia’s libraries, archives, museums and other institutions of education and culture to provide access to key information resources on Georgia history, culture, and life. This primary mission is accomplished through the ongoing development, maintenance and preservation of digital collections and online digital library resources.  DLG also serves as Georgia’s service hub for the Digital Public Library of America and as the home of the Georgia Newspaper Project, the state’s historic newspaper microfilming project.

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