The Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) is pleased to announce the availability of the City of Athens Police/Mayor’s Court Records collection at https://dlg.usg.edu/collection/arl_capmcr. The collection, which belongs to the Athens-Clarke County Library Heritage Room, is available online thanks in part to the DLG’s Competitive Digitization grant program, a funding opportunity intended to broaden DLG partner participation for statewide historic digitization projects.
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with DLG to make these documents more accessible to everyone,” said Athens Regional Library System Executive Director Valerie Bell. “These dockets provide a valuable glimpse into Athens’ past, and they tell some fascinating stories of our city’s day-to-day life.”
The digital collection consists of eight bound dockets dating from 1902 to 1907, and includes about 5,760 individual arrest cases in Athens, Georgia. Entries generally include a case number, the defendant’s name, the code violated, the date and location of the arrest, the date papers were served, the arresting officer’s name, a list of witnesses, and the dispensation of the case.
The digitization of these items makes them more widely available to researchers of economics, criminology, political science, urban development, law, sociology, history, geography, and genealogy. Because the location of arrests was included in these records, researchers are given a true picture of the city of Athens in the early twentieth century. These dockets can also be cross-referenced with resources already available online, such as newspapers, city directories, and historic maps, opening up many new opportunities to delve into Athens’ past.
Theresa Flynn, librarian at the Athens-Clarke County Heritage Room from 2007 to 2013 emphasizes the importance of these resources in helping identify historically underrepresented groups: “During my time working with the Athens Mayor’s Court docket ledgers, I found they uncovered a population of Athens that is overlooked in most books and even in some primary resource materials commonly used in genealogy research, such as the U.S. Census and city directories.”
Ashley Shull, Archives and Special Collections Coordinator at the Athens-Clarke County Heritage Room notes: “Ultimately the Police/Mayor’s Court Dockets of the City of Athens reflect the cultural, political, social, geographic, and economic diversity of our community. Each simple entry contains a wealth of information, all arising from one interaction with law enforcement, giving the researcher a more complete impression of the historical city of Athens.”
The Heritage Room maintains a physical collection of 97 volumes of the court records, which are available to view by request at the library.
About Athens‐Clarke County Library Heritage Room
The Athens-Clarke County Library Heritage Room houses Athens-Clarke County Library’s local history and genealogy collections. The Athens-Clarke County Library serves as headquarters of the Athens Regional Library System, named Georgia’s Public Library of the Year in 2017. To learn more about the Athens-Clarke County Library’s Heritage Room, call (706) 613-3650, ext. 350. The Athens-Clarke County Library is located at 2025 Baxter Street in Athens, Georgia. Visit http://www.athenslibrary.org/athens/departments/heritage.
About the Digital Library of Georgia
Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia https://dlg.usg.edu/ 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 through the ongoing development, maintenance and preservation of 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.