Two mid-twentieth-century collections, now digitized and available freely online, recall Atlanta neighborhoods lost to urban renewal, and Georgia’s growing Catholic community

Two new collections of digitized films and slides documenting the growth of Georgia’s Catholic community between 1938-1979 are now available freely online from the Digital Library of Georgia.

With these materials from Marist School educators Reverend Michael Kerwick, SM,  (1912-1990) and Reverend Vincent Brennan, SM, (1912-1993), we are able to piece together the history of the Marist School’s campus, community, and activities at its former location (as Marist College) in downtown Atlanta and its Brookhaven home (as Marist School) on Ashford-Dunwoody Road in DeKalb County. 

The time periods of Father Kerwick’s and Father Brennan’s collections coincide with the exponential growth of the city’s Catholic community. During the mid-20th century, Atlanta claimed 30,000 Catholic residents. By the end of the century, that number grew to nearly 300,000. 

These materials also show portions of downtown Atlanta that were lost through development in the 1950s and early 1960s. A major reason for Marist School’s relocation to suburban Brookhaven was the encroaching development of the interstate system and the use of eminent domain to acquire portions of the original campus. Scenes from the original campus and downtown street scenes have captured buildings and streetscapes that were lost to urban renewal.

Dr. Michael Bieze and Dr. Louisa Moffitt, archivists at the Marist School say: “The [digitized] images were taken by Father Vincent Brennan during those years before Marist School was moved to its suburban location in the mid-1960s and includes image from both the old campus on Ivy Street, as well as images of the new campus on Ashford-Dunwoody Road.” 

Some additional themes covered in these collections include school commencements, athletics programs, formal events such as promenades, and visits to Marist parishes throughout Georgia. Dr. Bieze and Dr. Moffitt both add: “In addition, there are images of Brunswick, Saint Simons Island, Darien, and Jekyll Island during those years.”

View the Reverend Michael Kerwick, SM, Film Collection online 
View the Reverend Vincent Brennan, SM, Papers Collection online 

About the Archives of the Society of Mary, Province of the United States  

The mission of the archives is to collect, preserve, and make available manuscripts, records, photographs, audiovisual materials, artifacts, books, and other items that document the ministries, houses, and personnel of the Society of Mary in the United States. Although Marists first arrived in Louisiana in 1863, items in the collection date from the early 1800s through 2020. The provincial archives for the U.S. Province have been housed in the rectory at Marist School in Atlanta, Georgia since 2000, when the former Washington and San Francisco provinces consolidated into the Atlanta province. The archival collection of the former Boston province was moved from Framingham to Atlanta in 2014.

Selected images from the collection: 

Images courtesy of Society of Mary (Marists) U.S. Province Archives

A 1941 photograph of a gathering of white Catholic clergy including several Marists on the front steps of the Our Lady of Lourdes Colored Mission (later known as the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church), Atlanta's first African American Catholic church.

Title: Catholic Colored Mission of Our Lady of Lourdes Dedication  


Description: A 1941 photograph of a gathering of white Catholic clergy including several Marists on the front steps of the Our Lady of Lourdes Colored Mission (later known as the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church), Atlanta’s first African American Catholic church. From inventory notes: December 14, 1941, attended by several Marists. Gerald O’Hara, Bishop of (then-) Savannah-Atlanta. Located on Forrest Avenue. 

Photograph of the Marist College Ivy Street Campus building and courtyard, taken in 1961.

Title: Marist College Ivy Street Campus slide 4         


Description: Photograph of the Marist College Ivy Street Campus building and courtyard, taken in 1961.

Still shot of a member of the Catholic clergy at the Marist School in Atlanta, Georgia performing rites on an elderly woman

Title: Brennan Unidentified 2


Description:  Short film clip of a member of the Catholic clergy at the Marist School in Atlanta, Georgia performing rites on a woman and a number of students posing on a set of steps.


DPLA and Pop Up Archive partner to make audiovisual collections across the U.S. searchable

If you’re interested in participating in this opportunity, make sure to cc: when you inquire with PopUp Archive at

From DPLA’s press release, also available here:

Oakland, Calif. & Boston, MA — Libraries across the United States house tens of millions of audio and video recordings, a rich and vibrant body of cultural history and content for the public, scholars, and researchers — but the recordings are virtually impossible to search. The Digital Public Library of America is partnering with Pop Up Archive to offer discounted services to the DPLA network. DPLA Hubs and their partners will be able to take advantage of this discounted rate to make it possible for anyone to search and pinpoint exact search terms and phrases within audiovisual collections.

DPLA already provides a catalog of over eleven million records from libraries across the U.S., including many audiovisual records. Through new service offerings available exclusively to the DPLA’s 1,600+ partner organizations, Pop Up Archive will automatically transcribe, timestamp, and generate keywords for the audio collections.

“As a country, we’re creating so much more digital media with every day that passes. If 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, for libraries to keep up with the pace of audiovisual content creation, they need practices that can radically scale to meet the pace of creation,” said Anne Wootton, CEO of Pop Up Archive.

“Our goal is to connect the widest audience with the greatest amount of openly available materials in our nation’s cultural heritage institutions, and audiovisual material has been both critical to our growing collection and less searchable than other forms,” said Dan Cohen, DPLA’s Executive Director. “We’re delighted that we can work with Pop Up Archive to provide this valuable additional service to our constantly expanding network of libraries, archives, and museums.”

Since it was founded in 2012, Pop Up Archive has fostered partnerships with dozens of partners at libraries, archives, and public media organizations to index over 1,000,000 minutes of recorded sound, including over 10,000 audio items preserved at the Internet Archive ( Pop Up Archive was created in response to the need to create access to audiovisual collections through cataloging, search, and public engagement at scale, in spite of a general lack of knowledge and technical capability for handling audiovisual content. Most recently, Pop Up Archive has embarked on a project to bring full-text search and keyword tagging to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, a collaboration between WGBH and the Library of Congress to identify, preserve, and make accessible as much as possible a digital archive of 40,000 hours of public media dating back to the late 1940s and selected by more than 100 public media stations and organizations with little consistent descriptive data.

The Digital Public Library of America strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. Since launching in April 2013, it has aggregated over 11 million items from over 1,600 institutions. The DPLA hubs model is establishing a national network by building off of state/regional digital libraries and myriad large digital libraries in the US, bringing together digitized and born-digital content from across the country into a single access point for end users, and an open platform for developers. The model supports or establishes local collaborations, professional networks, metadata globalization, and long-term sustainability. It ensures that even the smallest institutions have an on-ramp to participation in DPLA.

Pop Up Archive is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Pop Up Archive’s partner collections include the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, the Studs Terkel Radio Archive from the WFMT Radio Network, and tens of thousands of hours of audio from across the United States collected by StoryCorps, the New York Public Library, and numerous public media, storytelling, and oral history organizations. Learn more at

The Digital Public Library of America is generously supported by a number of foundations and government agencies, including the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, an anonymous donor, the Arcadia Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. To find out more about DPLA, visit