Thomasville History Center’s Cutler Collection now freely available online

The Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) is pleased to announce the availability of the Cutler Collection at https://dlg.usg.edu/collection/tchs_cutcol. These resources belong to the Thomasville History Center and have been made 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. 

The digitized items from this collection consist primarily of diaries, letters, and family papers dating from 1800-1980 belonging to Hazel Beamer Cutler, a dancer on Broadway who performed in the Ziegfeld Follies in the 1920s, and who resided in Thomasville, Georgia throughout much of her life. Included in the materials is genealogical research on the Quarterman and Baker families, pioneers of South Georgia; correspondence with visual artists Dora Wheeler Keith and Ben Ali Haggin, III, and Vermont banker Henry Miles Cutler. There is also some information about Candace Wheeler, founder of the American Decorative Arts movement. 

These materials are useful to researchers looking into the history of American illustrator, portrait artist, and muralist Dora Wheeler Keith (1856-1940), who was Hazel Beamer Cutler’s guardian in New York City; and portrait painter and stage designer Ben Ali Haggin, III (1882-1951). Some materials in the collection refer to Candace Wheeler (1827-1923), Dora Wheeler Keith’s mother, who founded the Society of Decorative Arts in 1877 and was associated with the Colonial Revival, Aesthetic Movement, and the Arts and Crafts Movement throughout her long career. The Thomasville Baker and Beamer families developed a friendship with the New York Wheelers and Keiths while the Wheelers vacationed in Thomasville, Georgia during the Resort Era of 1875-1905. These items will shed light into the early twentieth century happenings within the field of decorative arts as well as the artistic work of Ben Ali Haggin, III and Dora Wheeler Keith. The Georgia-related materials on the Quarterman, Baker, Mallard, and Schaffer families collected by Hazel Beamer Cutler’s aunt, Sallie Baker (1862-1953), a Thomasville, Georgia educator, will be useful to genealogists. Hazel Beamer Cutler’s diaries provide a rich history of life in New York City and Thomasville, Georgia during the 1920s.

Anne McCudden, executive director of the Thomasville History Center, notes:  “Having these items digitized will allow our staff and outside researchers to more fully engage with the collection. Currently, we only have a cursory knowledge of the content. Being able to access the collection (specifically the diaries) will allow interested parties to see into the daily life and of Hazel Beamer [Cutler] while she was living in New York City in the early 1920s…This collection also documents her time spent with Ben Ali Haggin III, who was from a prominent Kentucky family of artists and authors.”

About the Thomasville History Center

The Thomasville History Center is a non-profit community organization dedicated to ensuring that the appreciation of Thomasville’s unique history remains an intrinsic and unbroken thread connecting the past and future through settings that advance the town’s story. The History Center is supported by approximately 300 personal and business members, hosts approximately 3,000 visitors each year, and engages another 2,000 through community outreach.  Nearly twenty percent of the Thomasville History Center’s audience are students and teachers. Visit the Thomasville History Center at https://www.thomasvillehistory.org/.

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.

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Georgia antebellum newspapers now freely available online

As part of a $14,495 grant from the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation, the Digital Library of Georgia has digitized approximately 53,930 pages of Georgia newspaper titles published prior to 1861 from microfilm held by the Georgia Newspaper Project (http://www.libs.uga.edu/gnp/). The project creates full-text searchable versions of the newspapers and presents them online for free in its Georgia Historic Newspapers database at http://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu in accordance with technical guidelines developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress for the National Digital Newspaper Program (see https://www.loc.gov/ndnp/ . The Georgia Historic Newspapers database will utilize the Library of Congress’ open source tool, Chronicling America, for the online delivery of the full-text newspapers.Users will be able to search the database for geographic, corporate, family, and personal names.

138 pre-Civil War titles have been digitized from the following Georgia cities: Albany, Americus, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Auraria, Calhoun, Carrollton, Cartersville, Cassville, Clarkesville, Columbus, Covington, Cuthbert, Darien, Forsyth, Ft. Hawkins, Greensboro, Griffin, Hamilton, Louisville, Lumpkin, Macon, Madison, Mount Zion, Newnan, Oglethorpe, Penfield, Petersburg, Rome, Savannah, Sparta, Thomaston, Thomasville, Warrenton, and Washington.

Vivian Price Saffold, chairman of the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Advisory Committee, states: “Since 1971 genealogy researchers have depended on publications funded by grants from the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation. The Foundation has funded the printing of thousands of books in traditional format. More recently the addition of digital projects, such as the Digital Library of Georgia’s newspaper project, have made possible free online access to tens of thousands of Georgia newspaper pages that previously were difficult to research. The DLG project is a great example of the kind of grant request the Foundation is proud to fund. Georgia newspapers are a valuable resource. On the technical side, the online newspaper images are sharp and clear, and the functionality of the indexing is excellent.”

About the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation

The purpose of the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation Trust is to promote genealogical research and study in Georgia in conjunction with the Georgia Genealogical Society and the Georgia Archives. Grants are made to individuals and organizations to defray the expense of publishing (print or digital) records of a genealogical nature from public and private sources. The primary emphasis is on preserving and making available to the public genealogical data concerning citizens of Georgia who were residents prior to 1851. Visit the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation at http://taylorfoundation.org/

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.

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