Scrapbooks from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra documenting the Civil Rights Era are now available online

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra scrapbook 23, 1975-1976, page 10

In partnership with the Georgia State University Special Collections and Archives (Music and Broadcasting Collections) the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) has digitized 24 scrapbooks from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) Collection dating from 1945-1985 that are now available online as part of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Collection

This work was done as part of a competitive digitization grant intended to broaden partner participation in the DLG and provide digitization services costing up to $7500 for historic collections from non-profit Georgia cultural heritage institutions. 

In 2017, the ASO donated its institutional records to GSU Special Collections and Archives. Among these records were the scrapbooks, which include newspaper clippings of concert previews, reviews, and highlights of guest performers, composers, and conductors, as well as photographs, advertising materials, and organizational records such as memos and correspondence. 

Kevin Fleming, the popular music and culture archivist at Georgia State Libraries Special Collections describes the significance of this material that documents the arrival of the ASO’s Music Director Robert Shaw in the late 1960s, and the effects of the Civil Rights movement on the orchestra: 

“The few scrapbooks from this time period show similar changes as it relates to the orchestra. Nick Jones, ASO’s former program annotator, indicates that ‘under Shaw’s leadership, the ASO worked to improve its connections with minority communities, including actively seeking African American instrumentalists to fill vacancies in the orchestra. There are few Black soloists, instrumental or vocal, who did not perform with the ASO during Shaw’s tenure, and the Spelman and Morehouse College Glee Clubs have frequently been heard. In connection with Morehouse, the orchestra in 1972 gave the world-premiere staging of the first surviving opera by a black composer, Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha. Additionally, T. J. Anderson was the ASO’s Composer-in-Residence for the 1969-1970 season and works by African American composers including Anderson, Ulysses Kay, and George Walker were performed.’”

Kerry Brunson, a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, describes the importance of having these materials freely available online to her students: 

“My students have created award-winning projects that pull from the ASO Archive’s digitized collection of photographs and concert programs. The addition of the scrapbooks would help provide context–not only would students have access to the rare ephemera within the scrapbooks themselves, but they would also be privy to what was deemed important by the people who compiled them.”

[View the entire collection online]

 

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About the Georgia State University Special Collections and Archives (Music and Broadcasting Collections)

The Georgia State University Archives Music and Radio Broadcasting Collections began as the Johnny Mercer Collection and grew to include related materials that include: other musicians’ and artists’ papers, early country, bluegrass and Southern gospel music, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra archives, and records of WSB Radio and other Georgia stations. The collection contains more than 20,000 pieces of published sheet music, Tune-Dex cards and arrangements by American songwriters, as well as 50,000 recordings from a variety of genres. For more information, visit the Music and Radio Broadcasting Collections research guides at research.library.gsu.edu/musicradio 

 

About the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra continues to affirm its position as one of America’s leading orchestras with excellent live performances, renowned guest artist features, and engaging education initiatives. As a cornerstone for artistic development in the Southeast, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performs a full schedule of more than 150 concerts, including educational and community concerts, each year for a combined audience of more than a quarter-million people. Visit www.aso.org

 

About the Digital Library 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 access to key information resources on Georgia history, culture, and life. This primary mission is accomplished by developing, maintaining, and preserving 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. 

Visit the DLG at dlg.usg.edu.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/DigitalLibraryofGeorgia/ 

Twitter: @DigLibGA

 

Selected images from the collection:

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra scrapbook 23, 1975-1976, page 10
Title : Atlanta Symphony Orchestra scrapbook 23, 1975-1976, page 10
Description: Page of scrapbook containing news clippings, photographs, and ephemera detailing the concert performances and activities of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 1975-1976.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra scrapbook 14, 1961-1964, page 7
Image courtesy of Georgia State University. Special Collections Title : Atlanta Symphony Orchestra scrapbook 14, 1961-1964, page 7 Description: Page of scrapbook containing news clippings, photographs, and ephemera detailing the concert performances and activities of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 1961-1964.
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New collection about pro- and anti-LGBTQ activities in Cobb County, Georgia circa 1995 are now available freely online

Image of LGBTQ+ activist, presenting male, speaking into a microphone during a press gaggle.

Pro- and anti-LGBTQ activities and demonstrations in Cobb County circa 1995 are the main component of a new digital collection belonging to Georgia State University Special Collections, funded by a competitive digitization grant awarded by the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG). GSU Special Collections received a service grant awarded in 2020 to broaden the DLG’s engagement with diverse institutions and collections across the state of Georgia. 

The Carol Brown Papers, 1993-2012 (bulk 1993-1994) document pro- and anti- LGBTQ+ activities and legislation in Cobb County, and belong to Georgia State University Special Collections’ LGBTQ Digital Collection, available at https://digitalcollections.library.gsu.edu/digital/collection/lgbtq.  

In July of 1993, in response to complaints by residents, Cobb County Chairman Bill Byrne challenged county funding for Marietta’s Theatre in the Square, particularly as two of its plays– David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly and Terrence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart — included mild gay themes. 

In August, Cobb County commissioner Gordon Wysong led the Cobb County Board of Commissioners to two anti-LGBT+ resolutions: one specifying that funding would only be provided for art that promoted “strong community, family-oriented standards,” and the other stating that “lifestyles advocated by the gay community should not be endorsed by government policymakers, because they are incompatible with the standards to which this community subscribes; and that gay lifestyle units are directly contrary to state law.” 

Marietta civic leader and activist Jon Greaves and local community members immediately responded by organizing together as the Cobb Citizens Coalition (CCC) to challenge the resolutions.

The CCC gained important allies in February 1994, when Atlanta-based activists Pat Hussain and Jon-Ivan Weaver established Olympics Out of Cobb County (OOCC). Their mission was to persuade Atlanta’s Committee for the Olympic Games not to hold the women’s volleyball competition in Cobb County as planned. Their efforts succeeded: ultimately, the women’s volleyball competition was held in Athens at the University of Georgia instead, and the Olympic torch bypassed Cobb County altogether. 

While CCC was active, CCC member and Marietta resident Carol Brown documented the organization’s activities and those of OOCC by recording protests, marches, and local news coverage, using audiocassettes, videotape, and photography. 

She also saved almost-daily newspaper reports, providing a wide range of coverage of events as they unfolded in Cobb County. The audiovisual materials have been digitized and described by the DLG as part of its service grant, and the newspaper reports were digitized in-house at Georgia State University. 

Carol Brown also recounted her personal memories in an oral history that is part of the Activist Women’s Oral History Project. Together, they provide a rich and powerful narrative about a small community’s response to local discrimination that garnered international interest. 

Carol Brown’s materials are unique and significant to Georgia because so much of Georgia’s recorded LGBTQ+ history has been Atlanta-focused. Carol Brown’s materials focus on pro-and anti- LGBTQ+ activities in traditionally conservative Cobb County. They are also important because they highlight several challenging backstories about art censorship, community protest, and the 1995 Olympic Games that garnered national and international interest. 

View the collection online

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More about the Carol Brown Papers, 1993-2012 (bulk 1993-1994) Collection

Digitization of audiovisual items from the Carol Brown Papers, 1993-2012 (bulk 1993-1994) focusing on pro-and anti- LGBTQ+ activities in traditionally conservative Cobb County and the campaign to move 1996 Olympic events out of the County. Furthermore, in a time of daily protest that we find ourselves in now, the collection illustrates the power of creative, peaceful protest.

About the Georgia State University Special Collections and Archives (Women’s/ Gender and Sexuality Collections)

The Women’s Collections chronicle women’s activism and advocacy in Georgia and the Southeast. Within this curatorial area are several notable collections: the Donna Novak Coles Georgia Women’s Movement Archives, the Lucy Hargrett Draper Collections on Women’s Rights, Advocacy and the Law, and the Archives for Research on Women. For more information, read the Women’s Collections research guides at research.library.gsu.edu/womenscollections. The Gender and Sexuality Collections document LGBTQ+ communities in Georgia and the Southeast. For more information, read the Gender and Sexuality research guide at https://research.library.gsu.edu/c.php?g=912561.

About the Digital Library 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 access to key information resources on Georgia history, culture, and life. This primary mission is accomplished by developing, maintaining, and preserving 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. 

Visit the DLG at dlg.usg.edu.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/DigitalLibraryofGeorgia/ 

Twitter: @DigLibGA

 

Selected stills from the collection: 

Image of LGBTQ+ activist, presenting male, speaking into a microphone during a press gaggle.
Image courtesy of Georgia State University. Special Collections Title : [Press conference to announce rally on Square, June ’94. Raw footage. CD ???] Description: Still image from a video recording of a press conference held to announce a demonstration entitled “And justice for all, Cobb rally for human rights” to be held on August 28, 1993, the 30th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Leaders from three co-sponsoring organizations, the Marietta Interfaith Alliance, the Network for Social Responsibility, and the Cobb Citizens Coalition, give statements and answer questions from the press about the rally and their reasons for holding it, which is for the Cobb Commission to change or rescind an anti-LGBTQ+/anti-gay resolution negating the human rights of gay citizens of Cobb County, Georgia.
Image of civil rights activist and public intellectual Loretta Ross, seated, speaking into a microphone
Image courtesy of Georgia State University. Special Collections Title : [Stop Hate Politics seminar 11/6/1993. Meg Riley, Hans Johnson, Loretta Ross. Tape 1] Description: Still image from video recording of a portion of the “Stop Hate in Politics” seminar entitled “Righting the Wrongs of the Religious Right…Can We?” which took place on November 6, 1993. The recording presents speakers (including civil rights activist and public intellectual Loretta Ross, shown in this image) who discuss the manner in which right-wing Christian fundamentalists have weaponized their response to American liberal politics, and the importance of building common ground against violent right-wing trends.
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