Newly digitized Milledgeville State Hospital record book a valuable source of local history

CONTACT: Deborah Hakes, dhakes@georgialibraries.org, 404-852-5547

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga — Over 100 digitized pages of a Milledgeville State Hospital Alumna Association Record Book have been added to the Digital Library of Georgia at https://dlg.usg.edu/record/gv0_csh_alreg through a partnership between the Twin Lakes Regional Library System and Georgia HomePLACE. Spanning 1910-1957, the journal records the graduating classes of the Milledgeville State Hospital Nursing School over the course of its 37-year existence and is a valuable source of information about the mental health students trained by the program.

The Nursing School of the controversial Milledgeville State Hospital, which was also variously known as the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum; the Georgia State Sanitarium; and the Central State Hospital; began as a two-year training program, graduating 286 certified nurses. Following the closure of the Nursing School in 1947, the hospital became the site of a three-month psychiatric nursing rotation for students both in and out of state. At the time of operation, Milledgeville State Hospital was the only mental health facility in the state and drew nurses and patients from across Georgia, though allegations of neglect and mistreatment, as well as a national trend toward deinstitutionalization of patients, eventually led to the hospital’s closure in 2010.

“Twin Lakes Library is committed to preserving and sharing elements of our community’s history, especially ones that offer new insights into the complicated story of Central State Hospital,” says Twin Lakes Library System Director Stephen Houser. “We hope that community members, scholars, and researchers will find great benefit from this fascinating record.”

Sept. 8 discussion to explore history of Nursing at Central State Hospital

Little research has been completed about psychiatric nursing students during this time. To shed further light on the program’s history, the Mary Vinson Memorial Library will host a panel discussion titled “Nursing at Central State,” on Sept. 8, at 11 a.m. in the Local History Room.

The panel, which will include two retired Central State Hospital nurses and Gail Godwin, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Georgia College and co-author of an oral history study on psychiatric clinical experiences, will discuss the history of nursing and how Central State Hospital changed the medical field in Georgia.

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Georgia HomePLACE encourages public libraries and related institutions to participate in the Digital Library of Georgia. HomePLACE offers a highly collaborative model for digitizing primary source collections related to local history and genealogy. HomePLACE is supported with federal Library Services and Technology Act funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia is a GALILEO initiative that collaborates with Georgia’s libraries, archives, museums and other institutions of education and culture to provide digital access to key information resources on Georgia history, culture and life. 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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Augusta-Richmond County Public Library and Coastal Heritage Society receive Competitive Digitization grants from the DLG

  • The Augusta-Richmond County Public Library and Coastal Heritage Society are recipients of the third set of grants awarded in a program intended to broaden partner participation in the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG). The DLG solicited proposals for historic digitization projects in a statewide call, and applicants submitted proposals for projects with a cost of up to $5,000. The projects will be administered by DLG staff who will perform digitization and descriptive services on textual (not including newspapers), graphic, and audio-visual materials.Preference in the selection process was given to proposals from institutions that had not yet collaborated with the DLG. The Coastal Heritage Society is a new partner for the DLG.

    The recipients and their projects include:

  • Augusta-Richmond County Public Library (Augusta, Ga.)

Digitization and delivery of the Augusta Chinese-American Oral History Project, which includes twenty-six oral history interviews of individuals who either immigrated to Augusta from China, and/or grew up in Augusta during the early to the middle twentieth century. The interviews were gathered in 2011 and 2012 by members of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of Augusta (CCBA). Anyone interested in studying immigration, minority cultures, economic history, race relations, or the establishment of Chinese-American organizations in the South will find the interviews informative.

  • Coastal Heritage Society (Savannah, Ga.)

Digitization and delivery of a Civil War period ledger spanning the years 1860 to 1864 that documents work conducted at the Carpentry Shop, within the Savannah Shops complex of the Central Rail Road and Banking Company of Georgia. Sections of the ledger record the tasks of specific workers, including employees, laborers, and African American workers. The Carpentry Shop ledger is a snapshot in time at one of the busiest industrial railroad complexes in the South just prior to and during the American Civil War.

Sheila McAlister, director of the Digital Library of Georgia notes: “Thanks to our review partners from Georgia Humanities, Georgia Public Library Service, Georgia Arts Council, Georgia Historic Records Advisory Council, and DLG partner volunteers, we’ve selected another strong slate of digital projects that reflect the diversity of Georgia. The collections document the Chinese-American community in Augusta and Georgia’s railroads during the Civil War and will be of interest to a wide audience.”

About the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System

The Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System (ARCPLS) is a public library system serving more than 250,000 county residents. As a member of Public Information Network for Electronic Services (PINES), a program of the Georgia Public Library Service covering 53 library systems in 143 Georgia counties, ARCPLS supports any resident in the PINES network and provides access to over 10 million books. ARCPLS has a collection size of over 316,000 with a circulation of more than 478,000 annually. ARCPLS facilitates programs and classes to educate and entertain all ages at no cost. In addition to being a vital meeting place where the community can gather, explore new worlds, and share ideas and values, ARCPLS is a community hub and a critical anchor for our residents and neighbors. With a committed and diverse staff, ARCPLS continues to bring innovative and adaptive information and technology to its patrons.

About the Coastal Heritage Society (Savannah, Ga.)

The mission of Coastal Heritage Society is to provide educational experiences for the public through the preservation and presentation of the historic resources of coastal Georgia and adjacent regions. Coastal Heritage Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation founded in 1975 which operates five historic museums for visitors to explore. These include the Georgia State Railroad Museum, the Savannah Children’s Museum, the Savannah History Museum, Old Fort Jackson, and the Pin Point Heritage Museum.

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