Flannery O’Connor’s Appearances in the Georgia Catholic Diocesan Paper The Bulletin

by Daniel Britt, Mandy Mastrovita, and Donnie Summerlin

The Digital Library of Georgia, in conjunction with our partners at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah, recently digitized the historic Bulletin newspaper (1920-1962) and made it publicly available on the Georgia Historic Newspapers website.

The Bulletin was first published in January 1920 as the official organ for the Catholic Laymen’s Association of Georgia and shortly became Georgia’s leading Catholic newspaper.

In 1963, the publication split into two separate diocesan papers, the Bulletin (Archdiocese of Atlanta) and the Southern Cross (Diocese of Savannah). Among the paper’s vast array of content, it [still] includes reviews of Catholic written works.

From 1956 to 1964, Georgia writer Flannery O’Connor regularly contributed to the paper’s book reviews section. However, her first appearance in the publication was where she was credited as a budding cartoonist.

The Bulletin (Augusta, Ga.) 1920-1957, June 26, 1943, page 10

Stephanie Braddy, Director of Archives & Records Management, Catholic Diocese of Savannah, notes that for O’Connor researchers “the articles offer further insight into Ms. O’Connor’s wit and personality, as well as her firmly held beliefs related to writing, and Catholicism.”

Well-known as a devout Catholic, she reviewed 143 titles spanning genres in both nonfiction and fiction, but, more specifically, she almost always explored Christian subject matter.

As evidenced by her desire to review works by controversial figures such as the French Jesuit priest and scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, O’Connor displayed a deep interest in increasing her intellectual engagement with Catholicism.

Matt Davis, Director of Historic Museums at Georgia College & State University, observes that : “Flannery O’Connor kept a very strict schedule during the last years of her life in Milledgeville.  “Rising early to attend mass, she would then spend the remainder of her morning writing as her health allowed. With easy online access to O’Connor’s work in The Bulletin, the public and scholars of all levels have been provided another window to show how her faith and writing intertwined.”

These reviews were intended for a Catholic audience and focused on religious topics. As a result, they provide insights into O’Connor’s writing process not readily found in her works of fiction.

In his introduction to Leo J. Zuber’s compilation of O’Connor book reviews The Presence of Grace and Other Book Reviews by Flannery O’Connor, Carter W. Martin remarks, “one of the pleasures. . . is to savor the quality of Flannery O’Connor’s mind at work on the serious intellectual content of her faith. Here is confirmation, if we need it, that her art arose from religious convictions that she subjected to intense scrutiny not only in her heart but in her mind as well.”

Below, we’ve curated select pages from the Bulletin featuring writing by and about Flannery O’Connor. The paper’s run is available on the Georgia Historic Newspapers website, https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/lccn/gua1449731/ , and O’Connor’s appearances have been gathered together here.

Selected images: 

O’Connor’s first book review appeared in the Bulletin’s March 3, 1956 issue, an issue in which her collection of short stories, entitled ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find,’ was also reviewed. Regarding her first book review, O’Connor noted to Notre Dame professor John Lynch, “As for fiction, the motto of the Catholic press should be: We guarantee to corrupt nothing but your taste.”

The Bulletin, March 3, 1956. https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/lccn/gua1449731/1956-03-03/ed-1/seq-15/

In an unusually lengthy three-column Bulletin article, O’Connor reviewed Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s ‘The Phenomenon of Man.’

The Bulletin (Monroe, Ga.), February 20, 1960. https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/lccn/gua1189460/1960-02-20/ed-1/seq-3/

A front-page editorial for The Georgia Bulletin’s book supplement section, by O’Connor, entitled “Fiction is Subject With A History – It Should Be Taught that Way.” She argues the importance of a firm understanding of the past, writing that “many students go to college unaware that the world was not made yesterday…”

The Georgia Bulletin (Atlanta, Ga.), March 21, 1963. https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/lccn/sn22193774/1963-03-21/ed-1/seq-8/

Delta Air Lines Documents Are Available Online Through the Digital Library of Georgia

Historical records detailing the growth of one of the world’s largest airlines are available to the public online through the Digital Library of Georgia, thanks to a partnership between the Delta Flight Museum, the University of Georgia Libraries, and GALILEO.

The collection contains Delta Air Lines’ digitized timetables, flight maps, and annual reports for the past century through its expansions, moves, and mergers with other airlines to become the aviation industry leader in the United States.

“Sharing our collection of digitized annual reports and timetables of Delta and family member airlines provides wider access to this rich resource of materials documenting the nearly 100 years of Delta’s history and the development of commercial aviation both locally and globally,” said John Boatright, president of Delta Flight Museum, a non-profit museum housed in the original 1940s hangars at Delta’s Atlanta headquarters.

 “This partnership with DLG allows us to enhance our engagement with educators, researchers, and aviation enthusiasts.”

Delta Air Lines traces its history to the world’s first crop-dusting company in Macon in 1925, and the company has been headquartered in Atlanta since 1941. 

For Toby Graham, university librarian and associate provost at UGA, those connections to the state align the digital archive with the mission of the Digital Library of Georgia, a GALILEO initiative based at UGA’s Main Library dedicated to the digital preservation and open access of historic materials that reflect the state’s history and culture.

“As one of Atlanta’s largest employers, Delta and its business history are fully integrated with the story of our state. We are proud to partner with the Delta Flight Museum to preserve and share these historical documents with the community and with researchers interested in aviation, business, travel, and other fields,” said Graham.

In addition to historical items directly related to the airline, the Delta Flight Museum’s online archive contains business publications from many of the more than 40 affiliated airlines that make up the “Delta family tree.” 

These include:

Chicago and Southern Air Lines, which brought Delta’s first international routes to the Caribbean and Venezuela in 1953; 

Boston-based Northeast Airlines, which extended Delta’s East Coast services from Canada to Florida and Bermuda in 1972;

Los Angeles-based Western Airlines, the oldest continuously operating airline in the United States before Delta acquired it in 1987; 

and Minnesota-based Northwest Airlines, which carried the most passengers across the Pacific Ocean and was a top domestic cargo carrier until its merger with Delta in 2008.

[View the collections online]


About Delta Flight Museum

The Delta Flight Museum is a premier international destination located in the heart of Delta Air Lines’ worldwide headquarters in Atlanta, where visitors explore aviation history, celebrate the story and people of Delta, and discover the future of flight.

Housed in Delta’s historic 1940s aircraft hangars, the not-for-profit Delta Flight Museum offers an unmatched experience for aviation enthusiasts of all ages. A fleet of rare vintage aircraft and artifacts from more than 40 airlines related to Delta enhance our interactive experiences and unique event and education spaces. Visit online at deltamuseum.org


Selected images from the collection:


Image courtesy of Delta Flight Museum

Title: Fly for business and why [Fall/Winter 1929] 

Description: This brochure documenting Delta’s entry to passenger service describes air transportation for businessmen as reliable, cost-saving, and efficient. The expansion was significant for Delta, which began in 1925 as a crop-dusting company based out of Macon, Georgia, and then Monroe, Louisiana.


Image courtesy of Delta Flight Museum

Title: Delta Air Lines Schedules and Fares 1934 November 1 

Description: Printed pamphlet for Delta customers with flight schedules, fares, and contact information for customers, with service to 10 locations in the Southern U.S.

Image courtesy of Delta Flight Museum

Title: Delta Air Lines annual report 1948

Description: Cover page from a yearly financial and performance report published by Delta, highlighting aircraft fleets, corporate mergers and alliances, personnel, facilities, routes, major investments and initiatives, board of directors, and officers.


Image courtesy of Delta Flight Museum

Title: Delta Air Lines annual report 1948

Description: A photo printed in a yearly financial and performance report published by Delta, highlighting aircraft fleets, corporate mergers and alliances, personnel, facilities, routes, major investments and initiatives, board of directors, and officers.


Image courtesy of Delta Flight Museum

Title: Delta Air Corporation annual report 1939

Description: The oldest annual report in the collection dates to 1939, when the company was known as Delta Air Corporation, based out of Monroe. Delta later moved its headquarters to Atlanta in 1941 and would officially become Delta Air Lines four years later in 1945.


Image courtesy of Delta Flight Museum

Title: Delta Air Lines annual report 1950

Description: Image of a Delta Air Lines flight crew in front of a plane, shown in a 1950 Delta Air Lines printed annual report from 1950.


Image courtesy of Delta Flight Museum

Title: Chicago and Southern Air Lines Annual Report 1940

Description: Delta Air Lines’ first international routes to the Caribbean and Venezuela grew out of its first airline merger with Memphis, Tennessee-based C&S, in 1953. The collection above houses annual reports for C&S from 1940-1953, before the merger with Delta.


Image courtesy of Delta Flight Museum

Title: Delta Air Lines System Timetable 1968 October 1

Description: Printed, multi-page booklet for Delta customers with flight schedules, contact information, airline route maps, aircraft types, meal service, and advertisements.


Image courtesy of Delta Flight Museum


Image courtesy of Delta Flight Museum

Title: Delta Worldwide Timetable August 2019

Description: A modern Delta Air Lines flight timetable (August 2019). Today, nearly 5,000 Delta flights take off every day, connecting people across more than 265 destinations on six continents.