A Fruitful Partnership for More Than A Decade: the Kenan Research Center and the DLG

For well over a decade, the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center has enjoyed a strategically valuable partnership with the Digital Library of Georgia that has expanded the reach of our collections in immeasurable ways. Through its technical expertise and partnerships with other data aggregators, the Digital Library of Georgia has enabled the Kenan Research Center to provide online access to tens of thousands of digitized pages from archival collections.

Our 2012 partnership with DLG, the University of Georgia and the Georgia Historical Society created over 80,000 digitized pages of records documenting the Civil War in Georgia. Many of the more than 30,000 digitized resources created from the Kenan Research Center’s collections were used extensively in a 2014 documentary aired on Georgia Public Television. 37 Weeks: Sherman on the March won three Emmy’s at the 2015 Southeastern Emmy Awards.

As a partner and content hub for the Digital Public Library of America, in 2013 the Digital Library of Georgia encouraged submissions from archival institutions throughout the state for participation in a project to digitize unpublished historic materials significant to Georgia. This project enabled the Atlanta History Center to provide online access to the papers of Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell. A similar project in 2017 provided funds to digitize 150 programs from WABE’s Southwind series recorded in the 1980s. Most of these digital assets are linked to archival finding aids and hosted at the Digital Library of Georgia.

The Atlanta History Center has further benefited through its partnership with DLG to facilitate online access to nearly 2,000 archival finding aids. Digital Library of Georgia staff set up an instance of Archivist’s Toolkit, the open source archival data management system, at the Atlanta History Center in 2007. DLG staff also configured an online platform specifically developed for the display of our finding aids. The cost effectiveness of this partnership, coupled with the expertise of their staff in providing the setup and continual support of this resource has proven invaluable in ensuring the discoverability of our online resources, thus attracting new researchers to the Kenan Research Center.

The Digital Library of Georgia is an incredible support resource for libraries and archival institutions in the state of Georgia and beyond. The staff at the Kenan Research Center looks forward to new partnerships with the Digital Library of Georgia through grants and other projects.

–Paul Crater, Vice President of Collections and Research Services, Atlanta History Center


The Sam Massell Papers Collection and the Living Atlanta Oral History Collection

Inaugural address, 1970. Sam Massell papers, MSS 695, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center.
Inaugural address, 1970. Sam Massell papers, MSS 695, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center.

We would like to welcome two new collections from our partners at the Atlanta History Center:  the Sam Massell Papers Collection and the Living Atlanta Oral History Collection.

The Sam Massell Papers collection contains a diverse set of materials representing the life and career of Sam Massell, Jr., who served as mayor of Atlanta from 1970 to 1974. These resources provide an excellent perspective of Massell’s career as a politician and businessman, and contain information relating to the many civic, political, and business organizations in which Sam Massell was involved.

Paul Crater, Vice President, Research Services at the Atlanta History Center remarks on the significance of the Sam Massell Papers collection:  “Very few of Atlanta’s mayors left their papers to archival institutions and the Sam Massell papers are uniquely positioned to offer researchers insights into his time in office and of Atlanta politics and social conditions in general.”

The Living Atlanta oral history collection includes oral history interviews of Atlantans discussing race relations, social life, customs, economic conditions, politics, and government during the twentieth century.

Crater notes that the Living Atlanta oral history collection “presents a diverse group of interviewees on a wide range of (still) relevant topics and offer many examples of commentary and reminiscences that I believe our audiences will find compelling.” He recommends listening to an interview conducted with  Alice Adams, an African American domestic worker who began working in the 1930s: “She talks about the reality of working 12-14 hour days for very low pay and having to endure riding on segregated trolleys and street cars to and from her job. She muses on the irony of how she could serve food, clean houses, change babies, make beds, and do laundry for whites and yet was not allowed to sit next to a white person on a street car. Her ability to clearly illustrate the absurdity of the custom of segregation is riveting.”

We hope that you enjoy these two newest resources from the Atlanta History Center!