Berry College’s Southern Highlander now freely available online

ATHENS, Ga. — The Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) is pleased to announce the digitization of 3,124 pages from Berry College’s Southern Highlander covering the period of 1907 to 1942. The Southern Highlander, the official magazine of and published by the Berry Schools in Mount Berry, Ga., documents the early history of the schools founded by philanthropist Martha Berry in 1902 to serve the rural poor. The magazine also details social conditions and the importance of community-based education. 

The Southern Highlander is a unique publication that raised money while promoting the mission of the Berry Schools worldwide. The Southern Highlander offers firsthand knowledge of social and historical topics of the day, including agriculture, the influenza epidemic of 1918, World War I, educational philosophy, and religious work on campus and in north Georgia. 

The digitization of the Southern Highlander will provide access to some of the oldest and most frequently requested Berry Schools materials, a boon for scholars, students, historians, alumni, and community members interested in studying the rich, early history and cultural heritage of the Berry Schools, Martha Berry, and early 20th-century culture and history in rural, north Georgia. 

While the Southern Highlander is rich in history, it is also an excellent representation of Berry’s focus on a comprehensive education of the head, heart, and hands,” said Jessica Hornbuckle, digital initiatives librarian. “Working with the Digital Library of Georgia to digitize the Southern Highlander is the perfect opportunity to share Berry’s oldest publication and the school’s legacy beyond the campus gates.” 

The digitized materials are available at dlg.usg.edu/collection/gbc_berry-193.

About the Berry College Archives 

The Berry College Archives was established in 1986 and serves as the primary repository for materials pertaining to the Berry Schools, Berry College, and founder, Martha Berry. The principal purpose of the archives is to appraise, collect, preserve, maintain, and make accessible records of historical value. In addition, the archives seeks to educate its constituents about its holdings, policies, and procedures through outreach and instructional activities. 

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A Successful Partnership with Piedmont College Library

In 2017, Piedmont College Library was fortunate to receive a grant from the Digital Library of Georgia. This grant provided us with training and advice about metadata creation, digital formats, and how to handle the complexities of our online repository platform, CONTENTdm. We were able to move forward with the creation of other unique online collections of Piedmont College’s historical materials, including Piedmont College-related books, yearbooks, and student newspapers.  Moreover, we were able to create two collections of even wider significance: our Johnny Mize and Lillian Smith collections.

Johnny Mize was a very famous professional baseball player whose home was Demorest, Georgia. Mize was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1981 and is still remembered as a highly-skilled batter who set records that stand to this day. Mize’s family donated to Piedmont College a treasure trove of memorabilia. While Mize’s publicity photos are widely known, we were able to publish many photographs and fan letters that were unique to the family’s collections.

Lillian Smith lived most of her life in Clayton, Georgia. She was a powerful voice for civil rights for African Americans from the 1940s through the 1960s, with such outspoken works as her novel, Strange Fruit, and her memoir, Killers of the Dream. During the 1930s and 1940s, Lillian Smith and her partner, Paula Snelling, published a magazine known variously as Pseudopodia, North Georgia Review, and South Today. Their influential magazine of liberal Southern opinion has heretofore been available in print at only a small number of libraries. But now, it is available online for all who are interested in the work of a tireless advocate for social justice in the United States.

Without the support of DLG, we probably wouldn’t have accomplished much, if any, of this. In the process, one of the goals we established was to become an ongoing partner of the DLG. To achieve this, we adopted DLG’s metadata standards and opened our CONTENTdm repository to DLG for harvesting. This work has led to what has made our association with the Digital Library of Georgia really worthwhile.

Piedmont College’s archival metadata is shared with DLG and, through DLG, with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). So, our online archives are now an easily accessible part of the historical record of Georgia and our nation. And all because of the work of the Digital Library of Georgia. What a cause for celebration!

–Bob Glass, Dean of Libraries & College Librarian, Piedmont College

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