Issues of the Mission Messenger Now Available Freely Online

19th and 20th-century issues from the journal of the largest group of Protestant women in the world have just been digitized. Mercer University Special Collections and Archives have partnered with the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) to digitize Mercer’s run of the Mission Messenger from 1895-1921, published monthly by the Woman’s Baptist Missionary Union of Georgia (WBMU), more commonly known today as simply the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU)

The Mission Messenger was digitized and described as part of the DLG’s competitive digitization subgrant program, broadening partner participation amongst nonprofit cultural heritage institutions across the state.  The collection was transferred to Mercer directly by the WMU, making it likely the most complete run of the Mission Messenger for the period. 

Starting from a handful of women in 1888 as the WBMU, the organization became the largest Protestant group for women in the world, with a membership of approximately 1 million. It was also the first and remains the largest body of organized laity in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Women’s organizations like the WBMU played a significant role in American life during the 19th and early 20th centuries, mobilizing women to raise money for Southern Baptist missions worldwide. 

Written contributions to the Mission Messenger came from a broad variety of WBMU members across the state. 

One of its most famous contributors was Mary Emily Wright Wilbur, a notable female leader of fin de siècle Georgia and the first member of WBMU leadership, who served as one of the publication’s early editors from 1899-1906. 

Although consigned to the private sphere of the home by law and custom, women influenced the public sphere of policy and society through organizations dedicated to causes such as temperance, poverty relief, anti-slavery, and suffrage, among others. 

Reports from local church chapters, adult and children’s programming suggestions, letters to the editor, financial reports, fundraising drives, Bible studies, and reports from Southern Baptist missionaries worldwide were regular features of the magazine and described how Georgia women viewed the world and demonstrated Georgia’s influence across the globe.

Issues of the Mission Messenger show how Georgians responded to significant historical events, including:

  • the Spanish-American War
  • World War I
  • the flu pandemic of 1918
  • the Women’s Suffrage Movement

These issues are also a valued resource for scholars interested in:

  • 19th and early-20th century women’s history
  • Baptist history
  • Georgia history
  • the history of 19th-century international Baptists missions

Genealogists will also find this collection valuable because of the articles and entries documenting individual members and contributors. 

Beth Ann Williams, the current executive director of the WMU, emphasizes the importance of the Mission Messenger’s digitization: 

“What began as a small number of missionary societies in Georgia Baptist churches has grown into women’s ministries and missions discipleship for all ages for 3,600 churches. A digitized Mission Messenger provides widespread and easy access to state and church women’s leadership. [They] would be able to read first-hand about the successes, struggles, challenges, and accomplishments of the WBMU. What a valuable and interesting source to help highlight the early years of missionary giving and serving that was done by and through Georgia Baptist women.”

About Mercer University Archives and Special Collections

Housed in the Jack Tarver Library on Mercer University’s Macon campus, Special Collections is located on the Library’s 3rd floor and preserves the University’s archives and records from all Baptist traditions. Special Collections staff assist with University faculty, students, and staff as well as patrons from national and international scholarly communities. Visit for more information.

Selected images from the collection:

July 1895 issue of the Mission Messenter (front cover)

Image courtesy of Mercer University Archives and Special Collections

Title: The Mission Messenger Volume 1, Number 7: July 1895 (Atlanta, Georgia). 

January 1921 issue of the Mercer Messenger (cover page)

Image courtesy of Mercer University Archives and Special Collections

Title: The Mission Messenger: January 1921 (Atlanta, Georgia). 


Historic holiday menus created at the former Army post at Fort Oglethorpe from 1925-1940 are now available freely online in the Digital Library of Georgia

The Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) has partnered with the 6th Cavalry Museum to digitize its collection of historic holiday menus created at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia from 1925-1940, thanks to a digitization grant awarded by the DLG. 

The collection is available at

Holiday menus combine economic, cultural, and social histories of holidays as well as food and cooking history. Some of these menus also include rosters of US military personnel, as well as guests and family members. In some cases, the menus include a “year in review” section, providing key insights that aren’t offered elsewhere in materials held by the 6th Cavalry Museum.

These materials have proved to be particularly helpful to genealogists who have made use of them as a source of historical information, thanks in part to rosters recorded inside of the menus.

Food historians will be able to consult these resources for a history of food or a study of ritualized meals, and menu highlights provide critical information about military life and help provide a better understanding of the loss, change, and growth that took place during the 1920s and 1930s. 

Camilla Canty, a family historian doing research on her family, notes:

“My father joined the 6th Cavalry for officer’s training in 1940 at Fort Oglethorpe and eventually attained the rank of Major by the end of World War Two. Fort Oglethorpe held special memories for my parents because they met there when my father was in training and my mother worked for Col. James Troutt in the Office of the Surgeon.”

Selected Images

1933 Troop A Thanksgiving Menu
Thanksgiving dinner menu for troop A of the 6th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.
1935 Troop B Christmas Menu, page 4
Christmas dinner menu for troop B of the 6th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. This page identifies members of the troop.

About the 6th Cavalry Museum

The 6th Cavalry Museum preserves the rich military history of the Fighting Sixth Cavalry, the former Army Post at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia (1902 – 1946), and the Third Women’s Army Corps Training Center. Located on the Post’s original parade ground, the area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, surrounded by officer’s homes and other Post buildings. The 6th Cavalry Museum was founded in 1981 by members of the 6th U.S. Cavalry Veterans Association and continues the mission of Sharing History for All. 

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 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. 

Visit the DLG at 

Twitter: @DigLibGA