Our Newest Georgia Exhibit “Thy Neighbor as Thyself” (March 2024)

Photo of the Graduating Class of the Atlanta School of Social Work, 1920

The Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) and the New Georgia Encyclopedia (NGE) are pleased to present Georgia Exhibits’ newest exhibition, curated by Kailey Joy McAlpin, “‘Thy Neighbor As Thyself’: The Women Who Shaped Georgia’s Civic Landscape.” 

Kailey Joy McAlpin, a Ph.D. student at Georgia State University, explores Georgia’s women reformers of the Progressive Era, some of whom include Mary Latimer McLendon, Mildred Lewis Rutherford, Carrie Steele, Helen Pendleton, Lugenia Burns Hope, Jessie Daniel Ames, Selena Sloan Butler, Martha Berry, and Julia Flisch.

Photo of Lugenia Burns Hope
“Lugenia Burns Hope.” 1871/1947. February 27, 2024. Courtesy of New Georgia Encyclopedia

These women came from different class backgrounds and had different racial attitudes and practices. McAlpin uses the theme and motto “Thy Neighbor as Thyself” to center the work done by Black women during the Progressive Era, both with and without the support of their white Progressive counterparts.

Photo of the Graduating Class of the Atlanta School of Social Work, 1920
“Graduating Class of Atlanta School of Social Work, circa 1920.” February 27, 2024. Courtesy of Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

McAlpin’s work dedicates itself to bringing the differences between white and Black women reformers to light. She explains that access to materials, resources, and support was much more abundant to white women than their Black peers, not to mention the actual risk of life and limb posed to Black women, particularly with regard to suffrage. She states:

“While Black suffragists in the North could form organizations and advocate for voting rights, the hostile racial climate of the South and fear of violent retaliation from Southern whites kept many Black women from making public demands for suffrage. Despite the looming threat of assault and death, some Black women did publicly advocate for suffrage, and examples of Black suffrage organizations have been recovered in Tuskegee, Alabama, Charleston, South Carolina, and Memphis, Tennessee. While evidence of Black women’s suffrage in the Jim Crow South has often been hidden from the historical record, there was doubtless support for voting rights that took place behind closed doors in spaces removed from white surveillance.”

For better or worse, the engagement of these women and their respective organizations with their day’s pressing political issues and social concerns had a tremendous impact on voting access, child labor laws, rural education, public health legislation, racial inequality and injustice, and other social causes.

Photo of Selena Sloan Butler
Box 7, Folder 4, Selena Sloan Butler papers, Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.. “Photographs, Selena Sloan Butler, undated.” 1886/1893. February 27, 2024. Courtesy of Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History

Each year, DLG and NGE staff and graduate student interns curate Georgia Exhibits exhibitions to shed new light on understudied corners of the state’s history and showcase the remarkable breadth and depth of authoritative resources and historical content in the DLG and NGE. We offer all of these resources freely online.

You can view the exhibition at https://georgia-exhibits.galileo.usg.edu/spotlight/women-reformers and the rest of our Georgia Exhibits at https://georgia-exhibits.galileo.usg.edu.

K-12 educators take note: This exhibit serves our Georgia K-12 social studies audience by aligning with the Georgia Social Studies Standards of Excellence (GSE) standard SSUSH13: Evaluate efforts to reform American society and politics in the Progressive Era.


#HistoricPreservation #ProgressiveEra #Equality #WomensReform #CivilRights


Two new online exhibits created by partners from DLG, DPLA, and Georgia’s public libraries

Photograph of children's dog show, Manchester, Georgia, 1953. Pine Mountain Regional Library, Manchester, Georgia.
Photograph of children’s dog show, Manchester, Georgia, 1953. This photograph is from a scrapbook submitted to Georgia Power’s 1953 Champion Home Town contest. Pine Mountain Regional Library, Manchester, Georgia.

The Digital Library of Georgia is pleased to announce two brand-new online exhibitions on the subjects of children in Progressive-era America, and Georgia’s home front during World War II that are now available through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). These exhibitions were created as part of the DPLA’s Public Library Partnerships Project (PLPP) by collaborators from the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG), DPLA, and Georgia’s public libraries.

Children in Progressive-Era America, available at


In twenty-first century American society, childhood is popularly understood as a time of innocence, learning, and play. At the end of the nineteenth century, however, children made up part of the country’s workforce, and labored on farms and in factories. Reformers during the Progressive Era—a period of social activism and political reform across the United States between the 1890s and 1920s—took a great interest in child welfare. Through organizations and legislation, they sought to define what a happy and healthy childhood should be in the modern age. The formula for a healthy childhood was further refined in postwar America.

Central themes in the exhibit include: work life, reform, public health, play, children’s organizations, and childhood in postwar America.


Photograph of a banquet, Perry, Georgia, 1945. Photograph shows a dinner held when General Courtney Hodges visited Perry, Georgia, in 1945. Houston County Public Library, Perry, Georgia.
Photograph of a banquet, Perry, Georgia, 1945. Photograph shows a dinner held when General Courtney Hodges visited Perry, Georgia, in 1945. Houston County Public Library, Perry, Georgia.

Georgia’s Home Front: World War II, available at


Three years before the United States entered World War II, President Roosevelt declared the South to be “the nation’s number one economic problem.” Georgia’s economy was distinctly agricultural and low-wage, with little manufacturing compared with states in the North and Midwest. One year later, an influx of federal defense money established new wartime industries. Military training was widespread throughout Georgia, and World War II employment was crucial to the economic development of the state, ushering in the transformation to a modern, industrial, and diverse Georgia.

The exhibit covers key themes that include: military activities, soldiers and families, women’s involvement in the war, civilian war efforts, and homecoming after the war’s end.

PLPP, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is a project that connects existing DPLA service hubs (state, regional, or other collaborations that host, aggregate, or otherwise bring together digital objects from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions) with public librarians. The DLG became one of the first six service hubs for DPLA in 2013. Since then, the DLG has worked with public libraries statewide who have special collections and want to share their content with a broader audience, but may not have the resources to do so. Through PLPP, the DLG has provided digital skills training for Georgia public librarians, and has connected them with sustainable state and regional resources for digitizing, describing, and exhibiting their cultural heritage content online. Much of the training, digitization, and description of public library materials has taken place over the past year; items curated from this now-digitized public library content provide visual context for these two exhibits. “These new themed virtual exhibits, hosted by DPLA, provide a way to globally showcase the important historical materials held by public libraries in Georgia,” said Sheila McAlister, director of the DLG.

Cynthia Kilby, director of the Pine Mountain Regional Library System, which serves Meriwether, Upson, Talbot, and Taylor Counties in Georgia, appreciates the opportunities that PLPP has provided in creating access to her collections. Materials from Pine Mountain Regional Library’s collections are available in the Children in Progressive-Era America exhibit.

“I think this project will be helpful for patrons and they will enjoy it. Patrons can look and see images of their parents and grandparents and enjoy that. And children can use this as a resource for school projects,” Kilby said: “We don’t have an archives in the community, so this kind of material isn’t readily available except through this program.”

Wendy Cornelisen, assistant state librarian for Library Innovation and Collaboration, Georgia Public Library Service, said “Many of Georgia’s public libraries have unique items that have been cherished by the local community for years. In the past, historians would have to spend time and money to get to that local history. Thanks to Digital Library of Georgia and DPLA, the Public Library Partnerships Project has helped uncover and share some of this history with students and scholars around the world. These unique items help paint a more complete picture of our state’s history.”

We hope that you enjoy these new exhibitions!