New Collections from the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center

Photogravures booklet 19, A wedding scene. A Christian wedding scene at Garraway, Liberia conducted by the missionaries. Anna E. Hall Collection, Photographs, Robert W. Woodruff Library
Photogravures booklet 19, A wedding scene. A Christian wedding scene at Garraway, Liberia conducted by the missionaries. Anna E. Hall Collection, Photographs, Robert W. Woodruff Library

Our partners at the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center have recently shared several new collections that have been digitized as part of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to provide access to archival African American religion collections.

Jessica Leming, Project Archivist at the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center highlights several of the resources that were part of fourteen collections represented in the NEH grant project.

She describes several of the collections: “A few of the larger collections include the J. Howard Dell collection (Church of God in Christ [COGIC] church leader and pioneer in mass media ministries), Isaac R. Clark (longtime scholar and professor of homiletics at the Interdenominational Theological Center), and the C. Eric Lincoln lecture series collection (leading scholar on the black church and black religion, as well as being one of the first to author scholarly texts on black Muslims in the United States). These collections hold national significance as they document African American religion across denominations, and religious institutions–many of which were responsible for the founding of private historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). These institutions served many purposes, including sites for education, socialization, community and nation building, employment, and expressions of spirituality, integral to many facets of the African American experience.”

Leming recommends viewing the photographs in the Anna E. Hall collection. Anna E. Hall was an African American missionary and deaconess in the Methodist church. She notes: “These photographs really paint a picture of what it would be like to live and work in Liberia in the early 20th century. Also in this collection is a journal from an earlier missionary that documents some challenging living conditions, and what life would have been like for the native people as well as the visiting missionaries.” The items can also be accessed in the AUC’s Digital Commons: http://digitalcommons.auctr.edu/hallimg/. She also suggests viewing the Society for the Study of Black Religion collection, which includes discussions from this scholarly society dedicated to the study and production of knowledge about the broad diaspora of Black religion, and  feature prominent speakers such as Pauli Murray, Boykin Sanders, and Cornel West. These videos are also available at: http://digitalcommons.auctr.edu/ssbr/.

Still from The Generic Structure of Afro-American Theology and Response by Cornel West and Book Review by Cornel West and Charles Long. Society for the Study of Black Religion Collection, Robert W. Woodruff Library
Still from The Generic Structure of Afro-American Theology and Response by Cornel West and Book Review by Cornel West and Charles Long. Society for the Study of Black Religion Collection, Robert W. Woodruff Library

Leming is pleased with the enthusiastic response to the digitization of the materials from these collections, and their availability to researchers: “Researchers interested in African American religious studies, church history, and African American theology, philosophy, and education have sought these materials. Previous to the AUC Woodruff Library receiving this NEH grant, the audiovisual collection had very limited access due to lack of playback equipment and age of the materials. We are excited that because of the grant, we have been able to digitize almost 1,000 reel-to-reel and video formats, and we are currently working on scanning the over 2,200 photographs that are within these collections…Since we’ve started launching the digital collections via AUC’s Digital Commons, we have seen 1,540 page hits and 1,021 downloads to date. We are excited to be uploading more content every month as we process the materials.”

We hope that you take the time to view these new collections, and spend some time with the digital collections available from the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center at http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/Institutions/auu.html.

 

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Civic Magazine collection from City of Savannah, Research Library and Municipal Archives

Savannah mayor Floyd Adams, Jr. hands out lunches at a summer lunch program for children.  Civic Magazine, 2002 Civic Magazine collection, Savannah (Ga.). Research Library and Municipal Archives
Savannah mayor Floyd Adams, Jr. hands out lunches at a summer lunch program for children.
Civic Magazine, 2002. Civic Magazine collection, Savannah (Ga.). Research Library and Municipal Archives

The DLG is pleased to announce the availability of the Civic Magazine collection from our partners at the City of Savannah, Research Library and Municipal Archives.  The collection is available at: http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/CollectionsA-Z/civic_search.html

According to Luciana Spracher, the library and archives director for the City of Savannah, Research Library and Municipal Archives, “Civic Magazine was one of the earliest programs of the City of Savannah’s Government Channel 8, the city’s cable access channel now called SGTV 8, run by the City of Savannah’s Public Information Office (PIO).  The PIO office was established in 1987 “in an effort to improve communications between City Hall and the taxpayers,’ and help “the public better understand city programs and operations’ (taken from Charles Craig, “Former News Anchor City’s First PR Officer,” Savannah Morning News, 1987).  Civic Magazine helped the city government reach out and communicate to Savannah’s citizens in new ways, and connect with new audiences.” She notes:  “I think the collection is important overall because it reflects the City of Savannah’s engagement with the community, as well as the unique personalities of our citizens and neighborhoods, something that is not often reflected in more traditional, paper-based records.”

Online access to this collection is exciting because, according to Spracher, “when Civic Magazine was produced (from 1998-2002), U-Matic ¾” tapes were in use by the television and news industry.  Now in 2016 everything is digital and we no longer had the equipment to play the tapes back for researchers or even staff.  So even though the tapes were inventoried based on labeling and PIO inventories and technically available to the public, we couldn’t access the content.”  She notes “Having the old U-Matic tapes digitized and made available online through the Digital Library of Georgia will open up this collection to our citizens, researchers, and City staff for the first time for true use.  In fact, I will be discovering most of this collection as a first-time user, and I can’t wait!”

The collection focuses a great deal on city growth and municipal government activities in Savannah at the end of the twentieth century.  When asked if this period of time was especially busy for Savannah, Spracher says:  “I think we could say that any period of time in city government was busy for its era with either rapid growth or major challenges that we are trying to overcome.  The difference here is that in the late twentieth century, for the first time, the City is starting to capture these events through video so we have a more dynamic record of what is going on than just the static approval of a program or the paper invitation to the ribbon cutting, but the actual final event that was the culmination of all the hard work.  It helps bring history to life in a different way when we can almost be there by watching and listening to it.”

The city of Savannah is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Olympic yachting events being held in Savannah. Spracher is particularly interested in looking at all the material in the collection that is related to the 1996 Olympics. She notes: “We had several important Olympic events here in the community as part of the Olympics, including the arrival of the Olympic flag in 1992, the Olympic Torch Relay in 1996, and major community beautification projects leading up to the races.”

We hope that you take the time to view the resources in this new collection and witness the many ways the city government of Savannah has been involved with its community.

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